Financial Education for Houston-area Nonprofits

Our Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership, which was officially launched last November after 20+ years of offering Continuing Studies courses for the nonprofit community, recognized a need for some nonprofit organizations to become better at handling organizational finance.

Angela Seaworth, CPNL director, says that she and the CPNL strategic visioning task force realized that the operational staff of nonprofits did not have access to the same type of professional development that others, including fundraisers, have. “Our Foundation partners in the community shared that some nonprofits continually struggle with financial statements.” Additionally, she says, there are challenges to understanding the roles and responsibilities of all the individuals who share fiscal responsibility in a nonprofit, “so we wanted to create a program to support the nonprofit staff who manage finances – the nonprofit CFOs.”

To help nonprofits improve financial management, the CPNL will offer a new “Nonprofit Finance Certificate.”  The course will meet for six eight-hour intensive course sessions next spring covering topics such as:

  • financial management theories, roles, and policies
  • internal controls and risk management
  • cash management
  • financial statement preparation and analysis
  • financial planning and strategy
  • government funding
  • financial reporting
  • evaluation

Participants will also have two out-of-class assignments, including a practicum that will directly benefit their own organization. CPNL convened 11 local CFOs and tax and audit professionals, as well as five nonprofit scholars from across the country, to develop this program, and all the instructors are practicing nonprofit CFOs or tax and audit professionals.

Seaworth says details and registration will be available soon on the CPNL website, and she is excited about making this type of program available to the Houston community. “Our goal is for area nonprofits to operate from a position of strength, and financial acumen and strategy are critical.  We want to make sure anyone handling the finances at a nonprofit organization can receive the training they need so their organization can operate more effectively.”

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