Here is another great article from Gayle Gifford for Step By Step Fundraising- (pictured at left).

Gayle brings over 30 years of experience to her work with nonprofits – from her personal activism for peace, disarmament, environmental, human and civil rights, to her professional work as a consultant and former director of development and senior nonprofit manager.

She is one of fewer than 100 individuals in the US who hold the advanced fundraising credential, ACFRE, issued by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Gayle learned her craft as Director of Development and Communications at PLAN USA, as Deputy Director/Director of Development and Marketing at Save The Bay, and as Director of Development at CityYear RI.

I urge you to read more from Gayle’s fantastic collection of articles and learn about her consulting services by visiting her site, Cause & Effect. I also would recommend that you check out the book Gayle wrote called “How am I Doing, the 1 hour guide to evaluating the performance of your nonprofit board” available through Contributions Magazine. – Jim Berigan

What does your Board Treasurer do?

Unless your organization is very small, with no or very few staff, it’s unlikely that your board Treasurer is directly managing the finances of your organization. In staffed organizations, day to day financial management is done by a chief financial officer, a business manager, the Executive Director, a bookkeeper, or some combination of all of those positions.

So what does a Treasurer do?

It’s pretty common practice for the Treasurer to chair the Finance Committee and present a report of the financial condition at the Board meeting, usually taking the statements that have already been prepared by the staff financial officer and reporting them to the Board. Treasurers tend to focus on the issues that matter to them most. For some, that’s cash position or year-to-date to budget. For others, it’s how the organization is doing compared to last year. Sometimes corrective action is recommended.

While monitoring the financial condition is a basic role, I have higher aspirations for the ideal  Board Treasurer. I see this individual as the facilitator of a financial brain trust within the Board (through the Finance Committee) that can help the organization think very strategically about the relationship of mission to money, both short and long term.

So here are a few items I’d like to add to the Treasurer’s job description:

  • facilitate strategic thinking within the Board about short- and long-term financial vitality
  • develop financial literacy among all the directors
  • establish a dashboard or set of key performance indicators that tells the Board at a glance how the organization is doing on critical measures (after facilitating a discussion with the Board on what those critical measures are)
  • regularly report to the Board on that dashboard

Along with these basic duties:

  • ensure prudent asset management in accordance with financial objectives and Board-approved policy
  • ensure that staff implement strong internal controls
  • oversee development of and monitor compliance with Board-approved financial policies
  • chair the Finance Committee and ensure that it achieves annual goals and objectives
  • ensure that staff properly receive and give receipts for all moneys due and payable and deposit all moneys in the name of the organization in authorized financial institutions

What’s in your Treasurer’s job description? I’d love to have you share.

Related posts:

Three things your Vice President could do

You’re not the boss of me – Board Chairs and CEOs

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Posted on 07 October 2011

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Adam Bratton says:

    Hi Gayle,
    Terrific points. Most of the non-profits that I have worked for have had Treasurers who basically review/report on the financial statements given to them by the staff. At my last organization, during a series of changes to the bylaws, I insisted on the Treasurer being a required member of the Development Committee. My hope was that the Treasurer would co-chair or take a leadership role in fundraising but at a minimum I wanted the Treasurer to be a part of the discussion of how to ensure the short and long-term financial health of the organization–other than watching expenses.
    Adam


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