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May, 2010

Greenlights for NonProfit Success
News You Can Use
Greenlights' Views on the Family Connections Situation
Like much of the Central Texas nonprofit community, Greenlights has been shocked and saddened by the events surrounding the recent closure of Family Connections. While the details surrounding the likely financial fraud are still emerging, what is clear is that the organization lacked the adequate financial checks and balances and internal controls that should have prevented such a situation. The consequences for families and children who depended on Family Connections are serious.  While the former ED may be the only criminal actor here, the Family Connections board apparently did not take the important actions necessary to ensure financial accountability. That is regrettable, but the good news for other nonprofits is that this situation is entirely avoidable.

Greenlights' Recommendations for Immediate Next Steps
Every nonprofit should take this opportunity to re-evaluate and re-confirm its own financial security. We encourage nonprofits to:
  1. Initiate discussions among staff and board on current financial processes, checks and balances, and controls in place to prevent financial malfeasance.
  2. Seek assistance and guidance (see resources below) if there is any doubt about the appropriateness of your financial management.
  3. Communicate clearly with your stakeholders (staff, donors, funders, community partners, clients, etc.) on the financial assurances you have in place and what you are doing to continue to ensure accountability.
Available Resources
Greenlights has made several resources and types of assistance available to you.
  • Purchase and work through Greenlights' Financial Management Toolkit, which provides best practices and ready-to-use templates for: budgeting, internal controls, audits and tax returns, financial reporting and more.
  • Check out the documents in our online resource library under accounting and finance, including a Financial Matters Checklist that can help you evaluate the strength of your nonprofit's finances.
  • Executive Directors who are relatively new to their role can strengthen their skills and knowledge (including around financial management) at Greenlights' ED Essentials training in May.
Look for new financial management trainings and consulting assistance from Greenlights coming soon.
From Our Blog: Mission Driven
5 Steps to Improve Nonprofit Financial Accountability
Posted on April 15, 2010 by Matt Kouri
As many of you have likely heard, Family Connections, one of Austin's larger family-serving nonprofits, closed its doors this week amid criminal indictments of its Executive Director for apparent significant financial malfeasance. MORE>>

New Nonprofit Executive Director gets the Essentials
Guest post on April 20, 2010 by Harriett Kirsh Pozen, Executive Director for Candlelight Ranch
Almost all of my life I have been in non-profit work. I have been a director and an active volunteer in the community, at times accomplishing feats that felt unimaginable. But in my first Executive Director position, I felt I needed to learn things specific to my new role... MORE>>
Upcoming Workshops
ED Essentials: Intensive Training for Nonprofit Executives - 5/12/2010
Only four seats left! Don't miss this intensive three-day program for new Executive Directors. Join us to enhance your skills in management, working with the board, fundraising, strategic planning, marketing, financial management, human resources, and more. Hear stories from some of the best nonprofit experts around and receive a booklet of information resources. Walk away with practical materials and strategies to use immediately in your own organization. MORE>>

Corporate Fundraising - 5/27/2010
Learn the many ways in which corporations can help address your needs through contributions, in-kind assistance and loaned brain trusts. We'll talk about how to find corporate money for your nonprofit, and how to make the "ask." This session will address the opportunities and consequences of receiving funding from a corporate source, and how those monies differ from other foundation grants. MORE>>

From Good to Great: Planning for Excellence - 6/4/2010
Strengthen your leadership skills by learning the essential elements of strategic planning, based largely on Jim Collins' best-selling work "Good to Great and the Social Sectors." You'll learn how to create and execute on a clear mission, vision, and core values to guide your nonprofit organization and how to use organizational assessment, priority-setting, goals, and objectives as powerful tools. A copy of Collin's book is included in your registration cost. MORE>>

Board Summit - 6/10/2010
Join us at the Board Summit to meet and engage with 40+ nonprofits who are seeking talented professionals like you to add new energy and leadership to their boards. Network with 250+ community leaders, enjoy a catered reception, learn what to ask before joining a board, and attend a special presentation about the tremendous impact you can have on our community as a board member. MORE>>

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