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Creating a Sustainability Mindset though Financial Leadership

Every nonprofit organization is guaranteed to have a few things in common.  

  • Their nonprofit tax-exempt status. 
  • They all have a mission that centers on the work that they do.  
  • They all need or have budgets.  

At the Nonprofit Leadership Initiative (NPLI), we’ve always integrated financial education into many of our programs, including our year-long Leadership Institute and Board Academy. But our area leaders needed more. For most, budgeting is something that is looked at as a necessary evil, not a way to enhance an organization’s story. That’s where our Financial Leadership program comes in. This program launched in 2022 after leaders said they needed more than just a one or two session deep dive into their finances. They needed an entire course.  

The course consists of eight, 90-minute sessions and is facilitated by long-time Leadership Institute trainer Steve Zimmerman, Principal of Spectrum Nonprofit Services. Steve guides our leaders through understanding their organization’s financial health, cost allocation and expenses, the art of budgeting, telling their financial story, revenue strategy, and creating a sustainability mindset. Each session is interactive and gives every participant the tools and templates needed to implement all that they learn at their organizations. 

Financial leadership is essential to the health and vitality of nonprofit organizations, and it’s more than financial management. It’s critical to tie financials to organizational community impact to understand the true costs of program delivery. When leaders truly understand their finances and create a sustainability mindset, they can communicate this with donors, grant funders, and the community at large, enhancing the impact they make and stories they tell.  

Here is one of our Financial Leadership graduates sharing more about their experience. 

Does this sound like something that could benefit you or a nonprofit leader you know? Our next session of the Financial Leadership program begins August 13, and our application deadline is July 12. Can’t make the upcoming session? Additional program sessions will be announced in early 2025. Check our website for 2025 details later this year.

The Nonprofit Leadership Initiative within the Community Foundation is a partnership of Fox Valley-area nonprofits, funders, educational institutions and businesses dedicated to providing resources needed by effective nonprofit boards and executive leaders. NPLI offers a wide range of leadership, management and technical skill-building programs, as well as peer learning circles, to the entire nonprofit sector in the Fox Valley. Interested in supporting NPLI’s important work? Go here to donate now.   

We support NPLI with a grant from the Community Vision Fund within the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, one among many community partners supporting NPLI. Click here to learn more. 

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