Nonprofit Accounting Online Communities
We agree – on our list of Least Favorite Things is studying nonprofit accounting by yourself.
Nonprofit accounting can be tedious and boring. (Alright, SOME of you accounting nerds out there love this stuff. Just bear with us.) What’s the point of memorizing a bunch of rules about debits and credits?
Now consider a nonprofit organization. YOUR nonprofit organization. The one you lead or work in or volunteer for. The numbers for your organization are not some academic exercise.
Suddenly the need to understand accounting becomes more urgent. Those numbers represent the success or failure of your organization and its mission.
But where to start?
Is it back to struggling through boring accounting texts and trying to figure out what parts apply to your situation?
We think there’s a better way.
Free Online Nonprofit Accounting Communities
We want to introduce you to two free online communities where you can grow your understanding of nonprofit accounting PLUS make new friends and even have some fun.
- QuickBooks for Nonprofits – a Facebook group started by Megan Genest Tarnow specifically devoted to best practices for using QuickBooks in a nonprofit environment.
- Smart Nonprofit Money – a new private online network started by us (Carol & Carrie) where nonprofit leaders and accounting professionals can master nonprofit financial management.
QuickBooks for Nonprofits has been around for almost two years and has over 2200 members. Members include nonprofit accounting professionals and people who serve in a financial role for nonprofit organizations. The spirit of helpfulness is evident in the answers to questions posed, many describing specific circumstances.
Smart Nonprofit Money (SNM) is brand new so the conversation is just getting started. SNM uses the Mighty Networks platform. It is a private network with a feed similar to FaceBook. SNM offers Topics to focus conversation and Groups where we can delve into specific areas of interest. Eventually we will offer fee-based courses on topics near and dear to your hearts, such as managing restricted gifts and grants.
Another online community for nonprofit leaders is the FaceBook group, Thriving Nonprofit with Joan Garry. This group is not specific to accounting and financial management, but some of the conversations go in that direction.
Each of these online communities will evolve as YOU create the community.
Smart Nonprofit Money
In Smart Nonprofit Money (SNM), similar to the FaceBook groups, you can make connections with people who share your interests. Also like FaceBook, you can also send private messages to anyone in the network.
UNlike FaceBook, SNM is a private network that runs on the Mighty Networks platform. You will not see ads. Your personal information will not be collected and shared or sold to others. You control the extent to which you receive notifications, if at all.
Mighty Networks has a very cool phone app that let’s you stay connected with SNM (and other Mighty Networks you may belong to) on the go.
SNM is a place for giving and receiving, learning, finding encouragement and cheering each other’s successes.
For those of you who previously signed up for our Free Member Resource Library, those resources are now located under the Free Resources topic within the SNM network. You must be a member to access the resources. Membership is still free, only now it comes with all the benefits of a true community.
Initially we anticipate a SNM weekly calendar along these lines:
- Monday – A weekly roundup post to recap the prior week’s best posts, poll results, etc.
- Tuesday – Give Us Your “Tue Cents” Day – Join the conversation by responding to a poll or question.
- Wednesday – Give & Ask Day – What can you give to the community? What do you need from the community?
- Thursday – Share something you learned recently, or perhaps share something you learned a long time ago that still impacts you today.
- Friday – Most Fridays we’ll host a Finance Friday Zoom meeting. We will post the meeting in the network as an event. Initially we’ll focus on getting to know you and helping you get to know each other. We want to find out more about what you hope to achieve and how this community can help you.
Occasionally we may have surprise events or other interesting activities.
As we learn more about your interests, we will also look at organizing around monthly or quarterly themes.
Don’t Go It Alone
Perhaps your New Year’s resolutions include getting a fresh start on your organization’s accounting. If your organization is growing up, it could be time to bring more professionalism to financial management. Perhaps you are considering bringing your bookkeeping in-house to reduce costs and improve reporting. Maybe you’d like to become “audit ready” so you can go after bigger grants and be more accountable to your board and donors.
Whatever your motivations, resolve to learn about nonprofit accounting in a fun and supportive environment. Those of us who came of age before computers have so much wisdom and life experience to share. And the new generation of leaders have familiarity with technology and new perspectives to share with us old timers. Accounting comes to life when we apply it to our real life experiences.
Let’s pool our brain trust, make new friends and finally start feeling confident in our financial management skills.
Together we can learn about nonprofit accounting, financial management and how to use QuickBooks (and other software) in a nonprofit environment. Together we can grow strong organizations that create beautiful and lasting change in the world.
See you on inside!
Carol & Carrie