The Nonprofit Financial Advisor – What You Need to Know

You’re likely familiar with the idea of (or have personal experience with) a personal financial advisor. However, you may be asking what exactly a nonprofit financial advisor is and what do they do? You’re not alone.

A nonprofit financial advisor (or institutional financial advisor as they’re sometimes called) is a niche specialist who understands and helps nonprofits manage the unique challenges and risks that organizations face.  This individual or organization understands your mission and helps develop a plan to achieve its goals. 

We know firsthand the impact a nonprofit financial advisor can make for a foundation, endowment or institution.  We regularly speak with organizations facing many challenges and risks including:

  • Executive directors spending too much of their valuable time on policy and process rather than their organization’s mission.
  • Finance committees struggling to navigate the healthy tension of meeting current needs versus planning for a perpetual time horizon in the future.
  • Too many board of directors who don’t understand their fiduciary responsibility and liability.  (Being a fiduciary is hard and for many, overwhelming, but we’ll get to that in a moment)

Does this sound like you or someone you know?  Nonprofit executives and board members are often pressed for time, are wearing too many hats and unfortunately ‘don’t know what you don’t know.’

That is by no means a knock on anyone’s education, experience or capabilities.  The reality is that unless you have a background in the fiduciary responsibilities of nonprofits, there is important information that you are likely overlooking.  And this information can put your nonprofit’s mission at risk.