General Discussions

Β View Only
Expand all | Collapse all

The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

  • 1.  The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Posted 02-09-2022 14:44

    Hello Everyone!

    With the The Not for Profit Pros Meetup and Demo happening tomorrow, I wanted to start a new thread for everything Not for Profit!

    First: if you haven't already, make sure you RSVP to the event. There are 2 super special speakers (@Josh Weinberg and @Brendan Eger) who are also Forum members, and you don't want to miss out πŸ‘€!

    Now, let's start off the conversation with this question πŸ€”:

    ➑️ How are you approaching your process for budgeting and forecasting in nonprofit organizations?



    Let's make this thread the go-to place for conversations on NFP!Β 

    πŸ’¬ Continue the conversation after the NFP Meetup event here on this thread,Β 

    πŸ’¬ reply to specific posts in the thread to continue those conversations, orΒ 

    πŸ’¬ reply to this main post to start a new topic/conversation!

    Thanks all! 🌱



    ------------------------------
    Irene Tang
    Community Marketing Manager
    Vena Solutions
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 02-10-2022 08:32

    Simple question, not so simple answer(s). Especially for Not-For-Profit organizations.Β  In my opinion planning for NFP organizations is harder and more complicated than for profit organizations.Β  And it will depend on the type of organization, revenue sources, activities, etc.

    Your strategic planning must be done first.Β  What are the strategic priorities?Β  If you don't know that, you won't be able to know how to complete smart planning.Β  Strategic planning will determine how you will allocate your (scarce) resources.Β  Priority activities and available or predicted funding should be the focus.Β  For many NFPs and charities, funding and the timing of funding can be unpredictable.Β  At WWF-Canada we use Vena rolling forecast capability to look forward and adapt as required during the year.Β  Planning is not once and done.



    ------------------------------
    David Cornfield
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Posted 02-10-2022 13:31

    Thank you David for this very insightful response! It really highlights the importance of identifying the organization's strategy and being adaptable. Also, it's a great reminder that planning is a continuous exercise that the organization needs to revisit on a regular cadence. Do you have recurring meetings to review funding/planning status, schedule them as needed, or a mixture of both?

    It's fantastic to hear that Vena has helped you with the rolling forecasting capability! 🌱



    ------------------------------
    Irene Tang
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 02-11-2022 06:34
    We [WWF-Canada] have Spring Planning [Budget] and either Fall Planning or Mid-Year planning [Reforecast].Β  So formal planning at least twice a year.Β  The budget is more intense as this requires Board approval, whereas the Reforecast is an update with planned adjustments.Β  For the budget we may include a 'Stretch' budget which is in line with flexible budgeting. We have implemented Rolling Forecast monthly.Β  So after each month's results, staff have the ability to update the Rolling Forecast which gives Finance and the Senior Management Team insight to potential financial results in the coming months.Β  Vena Scenarios make the Stretch budget and Rolling Forecast fairly easy to manage.Β  When COVID hit, we had completed Round 1 of our budget, so we had to pivot quickly and with the uncertainty created both optimistic and pessimistic scenarios.

    ------------------------------
    David Cornfield
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 02-11-2022 09:12

    Hi David,

     

    I'm curious, how far out is your rolling forecast? For example, at the January 2022 close, does your forecast go out until Jan 2023, July 2023?

     

    Also, our budget owners use line item details for their budgeting and our current forecasting process, which only predicts the remainder of the fiscal year. Do you use line items and, if so, do you incorporate them into your rolling forecast?

     

    I love having the ability to reach out to others re: Vena and other financial issues ��

     

     

    Christine

     

     






  • 6.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 02-11-2022 09:28
    The rolling forecast [template] goes out to end of the current and next fiscal year.Β  So, from 13 months up to maximum 24 months.Β  Although I confess that many people focus only on the current fiscal year and don't focus on the next fiscal year until the budget.

    ------------------------------
    David Cornfield
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 02-14-2022 12:53
    hi David, (and thanks too for some helpful questions Christine),

    I'd really like to hear more about how exactly you're doing rolling forecasting within Vena?
    We currently do 1 budget and 3 reforecasts, using different Scenarios and Processes for each. These are quite demanding of budget holder and Finance Planning & Analysis team time. We've identified there would be benefits of moving to a rolling forecast (in our case looking to update current year forecasts monthly, rather than looking 12 months out each time), but wonder how you structure this? We wouldn't want managing the process to be so labour-intensive as our quarterly efforts. Do budget holders enter details or just finance team members?

    Slightly unrelated, but we've also found it very useful to the ability to have a scenario we call a 'funder budget' which reflects additional funding and expected spending (per funder agreements) when new funding is obtained in year. This distinction is crucial for us as the values differ from what is in reforecasts as those represent what we're actually expecting, and not necessarily what the funder agreement is.

    ------------------------------
    Josh Weinberg
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Posted 02-19-2023 17:15

    Hi Josh - like you, I would like to hear from other non-for-profits about implementing rolling forecasts.Β  We currently have an annual budget which takes far too long to prepare, then we do updates on a monthly or quarterly basis through the current year-end only.Β  Like everyone else's organization, our work does not end on 12/31 and, like you (I suspect), we get donations throughout the year so our planning and budgeting is dynamic whereas our budget is not.Β 

    Has anyone successfully implemented a true rolling forecast?Β  What are the advantages and disadvantages?Β  How did the Board respond?

    Thanks.



    ------------------------------
    David Levy
    CFO
    National Alliance on Mental Illness
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 02-21-2023 09:02

    Hi David.Β  Our Board meets 4 times a year.Β  We present a Projection [from our rolling forecast] to the end of the year at least at the 3rd and 4th meeting.Β  The Board likes this as this information is up to date.Β  Especially as/if the Budget becomes less relevant.Β  I don't see any disadvantage to a Rolling Forecast except administrating a monthly process.Β  It takes time to set up the process, templates and the culture of a monthly rolling forecast but well worth it to have visibility to a reasonably accurate projection.



    ------------------------------
    David Cornfield
    SVP, Finance
    WWF-Canada
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 02-21-2023 08:46

    At World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF-Canada) we do monthly rolling forecasts.Β  This is a Scenario (RF 1+11, RF 2+10, RF 3+9...) and a monthly Process.Β  You can copy the Process [RF 6+6] to create the next Process [RF 7+5]. After each month end close we use Versioning to copy the actuals and the future months to the next scenario - for example after our January month end close we copy from scenario Actuals seven months actuals to RF 7+5 and copy 5 months rolling forecast from RF 6+6 to RF 7+5. With Scenario 7+5 we've added the next fiscal year to the templates, so this rolling forecast is for 17 months out.Β  We Hide the RF 6+6 process and hit Play for RF 7+5 to start the process for the new monthly rolling forecast.Β  We add dates to the process as reminders and to encourage deadlines.Β  It is usually a good idea for an administrator for the department to set up a half hour meeting with the head of the department to review and update.Β  If Finance attends this is an opportunity to ask questions about activities and outlook.Β  The other key element is designing the templates.Β  Use Excel formulas to automate #lockcolumn for actuals, colour format and so on to make clear what is actual and what is input fields.



    ------------------------------
    David Cornfield
    SVP, Finance
    WWF-Canada
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 02-23-2023 09:45

    This is super helpful @David Cornfield to understand your process as well as technically how you do this in Vena! I suspect others like myself might find monthly rolling forecasts to be an overwhelming concept, and it might be because the level of detail that we budget in is so great (I've posted about this in a different thread) that it feels overwhelming. I imagine if your budgets are fairly rolled-up, this process becomes MUCH easier. There's probably also something to be said for a smaller review each month being more manageable compared to doing a bigger review once a quarter or twice a year, which can then feel like a much larger task.



    ------------------------------
    Brendan Eger
    Assoc. Dir. of Information Systems and Analytics
    Partners In Health
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 02-24-2023 09:42

    Hi Brendan.Β  I think we do a fairly detailed budget.Β  As you say, review and update on a monthly basis is easier for people to do.Β  Note that I say 'people' and not 'Finance'.Β  With many people involved the work is distributed.Β  Heads of departments and their administrator/coordinator working together to update their own forecast.Β  Sometimes that means having Finance in on the monthly meeting to move things along.Β  More than one person can update the personnel planning.Β  Management/Financial reports are designed such that it is automatic and no manual adjustments, although always important to have automatic checks to ensure integrity and accuracy.



    ------------------------------
    David Cornfield
    SVP, Finance
    WWF-Canada
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Posted 02-10-2022 13:30

    Hi Everyone!

    For those who attended today's event, I hope you all enjoyed yourself as much as I did! There were a lot of great conversations and I wanted to summarize a few takeaways that I had.

    βœ… Digital Transformation: it's important to understand the usability, accessibility, and different touch points that the organization faces when investing and implementing new technologies

    βœ… Core vs. Non-core: identifying costs that are core vs. non-core and ensuring decisions are mission-driven to optimize budgets, plan for grants, and assist with projections

    βœ… Central strategic vision for the organization: ensuring all teams and departments within the organization are aligned to the vision to streamline decisions (which can relate to funding, technology, implementation, and more!)Β 

    ➑️ This goes hand-in-hand in ensuring that the organization has a culture that is supportive of change, continuous improvement, and aligned on the impact of the outcomes



    πŸ’‘ What were your key takeaways that were a highlight from the event? Any additional thoughts from what was shared?


    Thanks all!



    ------------------------------
    Irene Tang
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Posted 04-25-2022 11:19
    Hi everyone!

    Did you know that there's going to be a Demo session at Excelerate on May 12 that's specific for Not For Profit?

    Be sure to register for Excelerate 2022 and add the session to your calendar!

    Thanks everyone 🌱

    ------------------------------
    Irene Tang
    Community Marketing Manager
    Vena Solutions
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: The Not For Profit Thread! 🀝

    Founding Member
    Posted 04-26-2022 17:08
    Thanks for sharing @Irene Tang! I just noticed that session last week​ and added it to my calendar. I'm going to try to get our FP&A leadership to join as well because we're reviewing our various processes and the data we collect for budgeting - I think we'll be able to learn a lot from this session and have a good point of comparison to how we currently design our templates.

    ------------------------------
    Brendan Eger
    Assoc. Dir. of Information Systems and Analytics
    Partners In Health
    ------------------------------