Prevent Blindness Wisconsin - 2015 Nonprofit Excellence Award - Fiscal Integrity
The 2008 recession hit Prevent Blindness Wisconsin hard. Like many nonprofits, the organization posted losses in some of the following years and needed to use reserve funds to maintain services and core programs.
Through concerted efforts to improve financial health and achieve sustainable growth, Prevent Blindness Wisconsin pulled through and is now on a strong fiscal footing. This turnaround resulted from increased fundraising, better expense management, and putting into place practices and policies that eliminate inefficiencies.
Prevent Blindness Wisconsin took several steps across the spectrum of financial management and fiscal integrity best practices. Board members with strong financial backgrounds were recruited and engaged to monitor their financial position. Accounting and bookkeeping software was upgraded. An independent CPA was hired, part-time, instead of employing a full-time business manager. This led to improved accounting controls and a higher level of accounting expertise, allowing the staff to focus on providing services.
In the past three years, the organization instituted online banking, adopted a cloud-based donor management system, and implemented online giving and payment technology for special events. The extra support for special event giving resulted in event revenue nearly doubling from 2011 to 2015. Policies including gift acceptance, corporate relationships, and investment policies to ensure fiscal responsibility were updated by Prevent Blindness Wisconsin within the past year.
The organization has also reviewed all vendor relationships, revised office practices, and renegotiated the office lease to reduce costs. Financial development was identified as a key strategic plan goal by the Prevent Blindness Board of Directors in 2013 to enable the organization to serve more children and ensure that financial stability is prioritized in annual operational plans.
The bottom line? As the nominator said, “All of the improvements help us increase our services to children.”
Past Excellence in Fiscal Integrity award winners: SaintA (2014) ~ Beyond Vision (2012)
21st Spirit of the Nonprofit Sector Celebration
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