An Executive Director's point of view


June 06, 2017: No lock box

Get rid of your bank lock box. You don't need it anymore.

Most people pay for memberships and conference registrations electronically. Very few pay by check.

So, save the money and turnaround time for database processing by getting your bank out of the signup loop.

June 02, 2017: A banker's viewpoint

Here's how a banker may view your organization.

May 26, 2017: Non-dues revenue

"I find associations spend way too much time looking for the magic program that can drive revenue instead of focusing on the two areas that drive non-revenue programs," says Tom Morrison, CEO of MTI Management.

He suggests selecting projects that:

1. Solve a specific problem in your members' profession or business and charge for the solution; or,

2. Do things for your members that they can't effectively do for themselves.

February 24, 2017: Diversify

"Don't put all your eggs in one basket," is a worn but wise adage.

Here's one foundation that ignored that wisdom.

January 18, 2017: Pay the rent

October 05, 2016: Deferred revenue

If your association uses accrual accounting (and it should), remember to amortize your membership income.

Only one-twelfth of a dues payment is income in the month it is received. The remainder is a pre-payment for services to be delivered in the future.

Record the remaining eleven-twelfths as deferred revenue and show it as a liability on your balance sheet. It is a liability because you owe services that have already been paid for.

Each month, draw another one-twelfth as income and leave the remainder as deferred revenue.

June 10, 2016: "Overhead" is essential

It's time to stop referring to "overhead" as if it was something diverting resources from mission-related activities.

"Overhead" includes many items that enable us to more successfully work toward our missions. Reducing "overhead" reduces our ability to do our work properly.

So the next time you are seized by the urge (or the need) to budget cut, don't freeze salaries, or limit travel, or purchase cheaper (and lower quality) office supplies.

Revisit your mission and trim programs, instead.

Then ensure that each remaining program can benefit from all the resources it needs and will not have to limp along and try to survive with only limited support.
A recent study valued volunteer time as worth $23.56 per hour.

But don't list that as income or expense on your financial reports.

It will falsely inflate your perceived worth and give the impression your organization has financial resources that it doesn't really have.

Omitting this from your reports does not minimize the importance of volunteers.

It merely recognizes that volunteer time is not a substitute for money.

April 11, 2016: Budget the extras

Your association should include employee severance pay, vacation day payouts, and any other departing employee expenses as liabilities on the organization's balance sheet.

Those are items the organization is obligated to pay, so they should be identified and provided for ahead of time, and not be treated as unexpected expenses when they come due.

February 07, 2016: Fiscal year

If your association receives a majority of its income at a certain time of year, it would be a good idea to start your fiscal year at that time.

You'll know your financial situation at an early date and will be able to make adjustments, if necessary, during the rest of the year.

You won't have to wait for your trade show, conference, membership renewal, or whatever else may happen later. You'll be able to plan with real numbers, not expectations.

A fiscal year can start in any month. It does not have to be a calendar year or any other commonly used time period.

So, unless you feel a need for your fiscal year to coincide with that of another entity, start it when it gives you the greatest planning advantage.
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