2017 Nonprofit Finance Conference

2017 Breakout Sessions

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Jump to Breakout Session One, Two or Three.

Breakout Session One (10:00a – 11:15a)

1A: Understanding Place in Community
Presenter: Steve Zimmerman, Spectrum Nonprofit Services

Understanding your community and market lays the foundation which allows nonprofit leadership – board and staff – to address needs, stay close with their constituents, partner with like-minded organizations, build long-term sustainability and achieve impact to strengthen the organization and community.  For many, analysis of the nonprofit’s place in the community has constituted stakeholder interviews or focus groups.  Communities, however, are always changing and nonprofit markets are complex systems consisting of funders, people who utilize services, other for-profit and nonprofit organizations, and the public who may actively support your mission.  This interactive session provides a framework for understanding your nonprofit’s market or place in the community, how that may have changed over time, and how each of the components might influence your organization’s strategy.  The board is uniquely positioned to bring a valuable external perspective to these important discussions.  We’ll talk about how to engage the board in these discussions and how they fit in with the organization’s overall strategic direction.

Audience: Executive Directors/CEOs, Senior Leaders, and Board Members.

1B: From Ask to Acknowledgement: Charitable Gift Solicitation and Receipt Best Practices
Presenters: Ari Solotoff, Esq. and Patrick Brady, Esq., Bernstein Shur

Fundraising is a critical source of revenue for all nonprofits.  Many organizations are unaware of the legal requirements associated with raising money from the public. This session will trace the life cycle of a gift – from the “ask” to the acknowledgement.  After describing organizations qualified to raise deductible contributions, participants will learn about the applicable state and federal laws governing the solicitation of gifts from the public, including state charitable solicitation laws and registration requirements and considerations for working with a paid professional fundraising consultant. The presentation will briefly explore pledges and accounting for donor intent.  This session will then consider the various ways in which nonprofits raise money–from corporate sponsorships to fundraising events to in-kind contributions–and the applicable tax and gift deduction implications, such as circumstances that trigger Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT).  Finally, this session will review the IRS guidelines governing the recordkeeping and substantiation of cash and in-kind contributions, both large and small, and how obligations differ when goods and services are provided to the donor.  Using real life examples, this presentation will provide participants with tools to build and maintain a robust fundraising platform.

Takeaways: Participants will receive sample gift acknowledgement letters and a checklist of gift solicitation and acknowledgement best practices.

Audience: Executive Directors/CEOs, Finance Staff, Board Members, Development Staff

Session Full 1C: Show Me the Money: How to Design Compelling Financial Dashboards
Presenters: Sarah Goan and Rachel Gallo, Data Innovation Project

Do your board members’ eyes glaze over when you present financial data? Have you spent precious time trying to figure out whether you are on track to meet your financial goals? A dashboard may be just the solution for you! Financial dashboards help you define measures of success, visualize progress towards goals and meaningfully engage stakeholders in the numbers.

This session is presented by the Data Innovation Project, which works to build the capacity of Maine’s mission-driven organizations to engage in data-informed decision making. Participants will learn the process of building a simple financial dashboard through hands-on examples and demonstrations. Participants will leave with a greater understanding of what to include in a dashboard, how to set up one up in MS Excel, and with tools and templates to bring back to their organizations. Due to the technical aspects of this presentation, we recommend participants have an intermediate knowledge of MS Excel.

Audience: For EDs/CEOs and Finance Staff. Knowledge of excel is beneficial.

1D: Real Tools for Non-Financial Nonprofit Leaders
Panel led by Jennifer Hutchins, Maine Association of Nonprofits, and panelists: Tracy Cassidy, CPA; Melissa Cilley, Esq., Susan L. Curtis Foundation; and Cathy Ramsdell, CPA, Friends of Casco Bay

Among the many hats a nonprofit leader is often required to wear is that of the organized, ethical and fully compliant Financial Manager. For some, this can be the most daunting one of all. Boldly donning our Financial Manager hats together, in this session we will focus on the best practices for nonprofit financial management. We will review tools available through the Maine Association of Nonprofits that can get any nonprofits on the right path towards financial accountability and transparency, and learn helpful tips and tools from experienced peers and friends.

Audience: Executive Directors without a financial background

Session Full 1E: Implementing the New Not-for-Profit Financial Reporting Standard: A Deep Dive
Presenters: Peter Montano, Hadje Esmiller, and Nancy Chase, Macpage

The Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB)  has issued Accounting Standards Update (ASU) 2016-14, Presentation of Financial Statements of Not-for-Profit Entities, to improve the current net asset classification requirements and the information presented in financial statements and notes about a nonprofit’s liquidity, financial performance, and cash flows. The ASU will result in significant changes to financial reporting and disclosures for all nonprofits.

In this session, we will take a deep dive into the new ASU. We will discuss the standard’s requirements, effective dates, and provide detailed examples to help you gain an understanding of how to implement and comply with the new accounting standard. Time permitting, we will also discuss other new accounting standards that may impact your organization.

Audience: Finance Staff, Executive Directors/CEOs, Board Members

1F: Endowment Management: It’s About Policies, Not Just Performance
Presenter: Scott Upham, Cribstone Capital Management

Nonprofit board members have a fiduciary duty to provide oversight and prudent management of the organization’s institutional funds. Policies are just as important as investment performance in fulfilling this responsibility. This session will review the regulations surrounding institutional fund management, namely the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act and what that means for Board governance and policies, specifically the essential elements of a solid investment policy statement, spending policy, and responsibilities of the Board, Investment or Finance Committee, and staff.  In addition, this session will cover the process for identifying the appropriate investment manager, or the Request for Proposal (RFP).  It will address why it is important to undergo this process regularly, how often it should occur and what should be included in a strong RFP. This session will help attendees understand the importance of balancing potential investment returns with the implications of risk, particularly in situations where the endowment is relied upon for annual operating support. A review of the latest thinking on capital market expected returns, asset allocation, investment vehicles and benchmarks will also be included.

Audience: Executive Directors/CEOs, Board Members, and Finance Directors of organizations with endowments, as well as organizations exploring an endowment.

Breakout Session Two (12:45p – 2:00p)

Session Full 2A: Revenue Strategy: What is the “Right Revenue” for Your Organization?
Presenter: Steve Zimmerman, Spectrum Nonprofit Services

One of the most popular myths in the nonprofit sector is the myth of income diversification.  Yet, research continues to show that a “more the merrier” strategy does not work when it comes to income streams.  Rather, the fundamental question is, “What is the right revenue strategy to pursue our intended impact in a financially viable manner that is aligned with our organizational values?”  Answering this question requires leadership to understand the nuances of revenue streams, flexibility and restrictions.  This interactive session will explore the questions to ask to find the right revenue for your organization as opposed to simply adding revenue streams.

Audience: Executive Directors, Board Members, Finance Directors, Program Directors

2B: What’s New? Uniform Guidance and 2017 Compliance Supplement Update
Presenter: Alyssa Hemingway, Albin Randall & Bennett

As we enter Year 3 of the audit requirements in Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards (known as the Uniform Guidance) this session will review what has been learned through implementation and include best practice tips. The session will review key changes made to the 2017 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Compliance Supplement and discuss the extension of the procurement grace period and how to prepare for implementation.

Audience: Grant compliance managers and staff, CEOs/Executive Directors, and Finance staff of organizations with government grants and contracts.

2C: Realistic Evaluation Expectations: What can you buy with your budget?
Presenters: Susy Hawes and Erin Oldham, Data Innovation Project

“Please describe your evaluation approach.” These five little words often generate confusion and unrealistic expectations. To some “evaluation approach” means a multi-year quasi experimental study. To others, it’s counting the number of trainings run annually. The answers are endless and yet limited by your budget. What do evaluation efforts actually cost in terms of time and money? When should you seek out a professional? This session will use discussion and small group activities to provide useful tools for participants to bring back to their own organizations. As a result participants will:

  • Better understand the cost factors that drive evaluation efforts;
  • Be able to estimate how much evaluation they can buy;
  • Know when to seek out professional advice and support; and,
  • Be confident about how to respond to questions about their program’s evaluation.

Audience: Executive Directors/CEOs, Program Staff, Development Staff

2D: The Dollars and Sense of IT Budgeting
Presenter: Joshua Peskay, RoundTable Technology and Mary O’Shaughnessy, Her Justice

This interactive workshop will help participants identify budgeting guidelines and learn the anatomy of a nonprofit IT budget, categories of spending, and the unique challenges nonprofits face trying to invest in technology improvements. We will explore improvements nonprofits can make make on their own and at very low cost through process improvement, training, communications, and use of the panoply of free and low-cost technology resources available to nonprofits. We will also provide a number of different strategies for IT expense reduction and suggest different strategies and resources for finding potential funding sources for different types of technology projects.

Over the course of the workshop, we’ll be guiding attendees through the completion of a technology budget and preparing attendees for submersion in the Technology Budget Shark Tank, where selected participants will pitch their budget and key investments to a panel of sharks comprised of facilitators and audience members.

Audience: Executive Directors/CEOs, Operations Staff

Session Full 2E: Streamlining Accounting Operations for Organizational Success
Presenters: Kathy Finnell and Nick Norton, Macpage

Successful organizations continuously strive to reduce time spent on tasks not related to their core mission. For many organizations, accounting and finance operations become a constant headache and a distraction from the organization’s mission. This doesn’t have to be the case. With the implementation of streamlined accounting operations, the accounting and finance functions can be key contributors towards organizational success. In this session, you will learn about proven approaches to developing streamlined accounting operations, including the implementation of innovative technology solutions, process improvement methodologies, and the strategic use of third-party professionals.

Audience: Executive Directors/CEOs, Board Members, Finance Staff

2F: Mission-Driven Investing
Presenter: D.J. Shaughnessy, F.L. Putnam Investment Management

Many nonprofit organizations would like to reflect the values and mission of the organization in their endowment and foundation portfolio. In most cases it is not clear how to define the parameters, implement such a strategy, and assess the impact it will have on portfolio risk, return and liquidity. This session will introduce participants to the evolution of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investing and identify pitfalls that investment committees should avoid in defining policies.

Audience: Executive Directors/CEOs, Board Members, Finance Directors of organizations with endowments.

Breakout Session Three (2:15 – 3:15p)

3A: Risk Assessments: Assessing Risk, Preventing Loss, Protecting Assets, and Recovering Assets
Presenter: Michael Ptak, MBA, CFE, Tax Abilities, Inc. 

Nonprofit Board Members and Executive Directors bear a tremendous responsibility to their stakeholders beyond the organizational mission and their programs in the form of financial risk management. Annual financial statement reviews performed by an accounting expert uncover material misstatements, but not misappropriated funds or fraudulent activity due to inherent and residual risks. A formal Risk Assessment looks beyond the numbers reported on IRS forms, and identifies your internal controls’ effectiveness at preventing and detecting asset misappropriation.

Audience: Executive Director/CEOs, Board Members, Finance Directors

Session Full 3B: Financial Health: What is Your Sustainable Level of Cash, Reserves, and Profits?
Presenter: Michael Daily, Executive Service Corps

Learn how to analyze your balance sheet to determine what you need for short term and long term financial resources. We will discuss how to analyze your annual cash cycle and set a target minimum cash balance, how to establish how much should you have in reserves based on revenue and spending risk factors, and how to set annual profit goals that will attain and sustain your financial health. This session will include:

  • Alternative ways of analyzing cash and working capital
  • Methods for smaller and larger nonprofits to set goals on financial reserves
  • Preparing for the impact of the next recession on your finances
  • Analyzing the level of profit you need to maintain your financial health

Audience: CEOs/Executive Directors, Finance Directors and Board Members. Intermediate/advanced.

3C: Hidden Fees: How Not to Miss Out on Money for Your Mission
Presenter: Drew Aiello, Merchant Advocate

The system that allows you to collect money could be costing you more than it should. Nonprofit businesses often need to accept credit cards as a form of payment, but this shouldn’t affect their bottom line. Most merchants pay up to 5 different people on each transaction. Learn where the hidden fees are and how to save thousands of dollars a year from an inside expert. In this session, you will learn:

  • How the system that allows you to collect money could be costing you more than it should
  • What you need to know about the unregulated merchant credit card processing industry
  • What PCI Compliance means
  • About the true cost of processing for your organization and what all those fees mean
  • How to protect your organization from hidden fees and inflated rates

3D: Strategic Technology Planning for Nonprofits
Presenters: Joshua Peskay, RoundTable Technology and Mary O’Shaughnessy, Her Justice

Should we use G Suite or Office 365? Should we redesign our website or focus on social media engagement? Should we get a new server or migrate completely to the cloud? How much do we need to budget for technology next year?

These are the kinds of questions many nonprofits struggle to answer. Creating and maintaining a strategic technology plan can not only help your organization answer these questions, but give you the tools to plan, support and fund the technology improvements your organization needs. This workshop will outline why strategic technology plans are important for nonprofits and how to start and sustain a planning process for your organization. We’ll talk about the steps involved in starting a technology plan, what stakeholders should be involved, and provide some guidelines on how to make the process work in your organization.

Audience: CEOs/Executive Directors, Operations Staff, Finance Staff

3E: Form 990/990-T: Best Practices, Common Mistakes, and UBIT
Presenters: Nicholas Crosman and Julia Howland, Macpage

This presentation will provide a general overview of Form 990, including:

  • Who outside your organizations might look at the 990?
  • What in particular may they be looking at?
  • What might the IRS focus on when looking at your 990, and what do they like to see?
  • Common errors on Form 990 filings

The presentation will also touch on the Form 990-T and Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT).  The presentation will help you identify sources of unrelated business income (UBI) and will discuss certain income sources and activities that are excluded from UBI.

Audience: Executive Directors/CEOs, Board Members, Finance Staff

3F: What’s Your Organizational ROVI (Return On Volunteer Investment)?
Presenters: Jason Ketterick, Vicki Swerdlow, United Way of York County, and Michelle Surdoval, York Community Service Association

Attend this panel discussion to learn more about allocating sufficient resources (time, money, people, tools) to maximize your return of investment around volunteer engagement. Learn about allocation of facilities, tools and resources for volunteer engagement and how to account for all volunteer engagement expenses, including items such as salaries, recognition activities, training, technology, tracking systems, etc.

Audience: All levels. All roles.

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