For nonprofits, financial sustainability and programmatic sustainability cannot be separated.
- Quote from the book,
Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability
Authors: Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, and Steve Zimmerman
Financial Management  •••  Principle of the month
Nonprofit financial management is so much more than balance sheets and crunching numbers! When an organization’s finances are evaluated and managed effectively and ethically, it provides nonprofits with the ability to use their monetary resources to best accomplish their missions and causes. Accurate financial management also provides nonprofits with an invaluable asset that we all wish we had a little bit more of right now; stability.

Read on to learn more about this month’s focus, Financial Management, based on Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence.

Financial Management. Nonprofits have an obligation to act as responsible stewards in managing their financial resources. Nonprofits must comply with all legal and financial requirements and should adhere to sound accounting principles that produce reliable financial information, ensure fiscal responsibility and build public trust. Nonprofits should use their financial resources to accomplish their missions in effective and efficient ways and should establish clear policies and practices to regularly monitor how funds are used. Nonprofit organizations should seek to maintain or sustain a business model that will offer reliable, flexible, and diverse resources to accomplish the organization’s mission. Read more.
Test your knowledge. A toolkit for you.
Download this self-assessment based on Principles and Practices for Nonprofit Excellence – Financial Management.

For fun, give this Sustainability Mindset Wordsearch a shot!
Reimagine Your Nonprofit to Survive the Crisis
Steve Zimmerman is the co-author of Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability (2010) and The Sustainability Mindset (2014) and Principal of Spectrum Nonprofit Services
*** Join us for Steve’s upcoming "Sustainability Mindset" series! Register here. ***

During the current pandemic, as in past crises, nonprofits feel the pinch: They have more people to help but fewer resources with which to carry out their work. It can feel overwhelming. But crises are also a time to reimagine and remake nonprofits so that they can best serve their constituents.

In the age of Covid-19, nonprofits are seeing donations drop, doors close, and cash reserves dwindle. Together with the uncertainty and demands the pandemic has forced on us, that makes it a worrying time. But it’s also a time of opportunity. It might well be the time to reimagine who you are and what you do and to make your organization better in the process.

Reimagining an organization is hard, especially during a crisis. Leaders who are overwhelmed with day-to-day surprises, urgent short-term demands, and a gnawing sense of uncertainty often don’t feel able to take on another challenge. But the job is possible — and frequently necessary.

For years I’ve worked with community-based nonprofits on strategy, financial management, and their business models. In the course of that work I’ve learned that to properly reimagine an organization, you need to focus on four important and interconnected areas: impact, people, finances, and the community. Let’s explore them one by one.


Nonprofits exist to have impact. So the first step in reimagining your organization has to be clearly defining what you want that to be.

Gather input as broadly as possible — from staff, the board, volunteers, and others. Hearing from a diversity of voices at this early stage in the process will allow you to build an inclusive organization from the ground up.

Consider designing a survey that asks such questions as:
If we went away today, who would it matter to and why?
What difference are we trying to make in our community?
Who are our core constituents?
What impact do they need us to have?
Re-published with permission from the author.
Shannon Andre
Featured Alumni & Faculty
Thank you, England!

It was there, during her service in the US Air Force that Shannon Andre was bitten by the “volunteer bug."
More than 30 years later, she continues her selfless service as an officer and board member of many area nonprofits.  Most significantly, for Nonprofit Austin, she is an outstanding faculty member in our Certificate in Nonprofit Leadership and Management, and in Effective Fundraising, and helped develop and leads several sessions in our Certificate in Nonprofit Financial Management.

Shannon’s passion and innate ability to translate financial matters into language that both informs and motivates makes her one of our most popular faculty. Despite an intense workload – especially during tax season – she is always eager to help others.

Shannon is a certified public accountant and a certified fraud examiner. She manages audit and other engagements from start to finish for nonprofit organizations and nonprofit commercial entities. She also provides forensic accounting services and oversees all nonprofit tax preparation services for the Austin location of Brown, Graham & Company.

Meeting Shannon, one is immediately impressed by an internal fortitude that, no doubt, served her well during her 7 years as an imagery intelligence and collection requirements officer in the US Air Force and later acquisition of her master’s degree in Business Administration.

Reading her bio narrative, one is equally impressed by her humanity, compassion, and empathy, reflected in her focus on needs rather than just organizations: “Her nonprofit clients include membership associations, social clubs and charitable organizations with such diverse programs as affordable housing, public radio broadcasting and services for victims of child abuse, family violence and sexual assault.”

Shannon is passionate about educating the public about preventing and detecting fraud as it is such a significant threat to our community nonprofits, businesses, and churches.  Among her other activities, she is active in Bikers Against Child Abuse – Sam Bass Chapter.  On weekends, she “can often be found riding her 2006 Harley Davidson Fat Boy motorcycle with her husband, reading or relishing time spent with her 4 semi-adult children.”

Shannon is a highly valued member of our Nonprofit Austin faculty.  She brings excitement and meaning and fosters curiosity and understanding of financial management matters.  She has added immeasurably to our professional development initiatives.

Thank you, England!
Executive Presence
March 3, 10, 24 | 12 – 1:30 PM
Alice Mar Rocher
Register here.
Harnessing the Power of Storytelling
March 9 | 12 – 1 PM
Lacy Alana
Register here.
Nonprofit Marketing & Communications Series
March 22, 29 & April 5 & 12 |
6 – 7:30 PM
Bonnie Spanogle
Register here.
Sustainability Mindset Workshops
March 23, 30 & April 6, 13, 20 |
12 – 1 PM
Steve Zimmerman
Register here.
View our full schedule here!
Humor and insights straight from the personal files of
Barry Silverberg
"For nonprofits, financial sustainability and programmatic sustainability cannot be separated. It's not enough that a high–impact program. If there is no effective strategy for sustaining the organization financially. Neither is it enough to be financially stable: we build organizations for impact, not for financial stability."

Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability by Jeanne Bell, Jan Masaoka, and Steve Zimmerman
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