The spring training programs for the Nonprofit Sector Resource Institute (NSRI) at Seton Hall University are in-depth studies at two very specific topics, Board Leadership and Financial Management. At first glance, these topics of course seem relevant and important but it takes some courage for an organization to admit that they may need more guidance when it comes to such critical areas. If your organization is functioning well, do you really need to attend these trainings?
Last May, a nonprofit organization named the Federation Employment Services (FEGS) in New York celebrated 80 years of success. This was a multi-million dollar organization that had long standing government contracts and other strong roots within the New York community. By February 2015, this same organization began relinquishing programs and prepared to close down as they had found a $19.4 million discrepancy from which recovery seemed impossible.
How does such a large deficit go unnoticed? Recent articles show that 30% of the annual budget went to administration costs, the organization had leases for spaces they were not even using, and they were not meeting certain performance measures as outlined in their government contracts. There were clearly red flags that were just not recognized or remedied until the situation spun out of control.
How does an organization get to this point? As a nonprofit organization, the board of directors needs to know what questions to ask and how to ask them in order to get the proper information to ensure that the organization is running to the best of its’ ability. At the same time, the staff needs to be able to accurately read financial reports and understand the short term and long term viability of their organization in depth. This is critical! All components of an organization need to be properly trained to guarantee the security of their organization. The training programs that the NSRI is presenting this spring are structured to help avoid the exact scenario discussed above. Only through continual training and education can your organization and the professionals in it truly thrive!
 Swarns, Rachel L. “With Little Warning, Agency Aiding New York’s Most Vulnerable Crumbles” New York Times. February 8, 2015. <http://nyti.ms/1zn18eX>