Treasurers and Finance Committee Members – Are you getting what you need to be a valuable board member?

The definition of the role of a treasurer or finance committee member includes key themes like “general financial oversight”, fundraising, financial planning, budgeting, monitoring, and strategic planning. It is your job to be a partner to the Executive Director/CEO and help take the organization to the next level. The organization is relying on you for your extensive knowledge, background, and let’s be honest, fundraising contacts.

When was the last time you saw a full set of financials? What’s a full set of financials, you ask? A full set of financials includes a balance sheet, accounts receivable and payable aging, endowment and restricted income details, an income statement (actual and vs. budget) and depending on your cash reserve, cash projections.

If you are receiving them, is it on a regular basis AND are they timely? Or are they too far back in time to provide valuable information (e.g – receiving Q1 in June)? Are you reviewing bank statements and reconciliations monthly? Are you reviewing restricted donations closely and making sure they are spent correctly and in a timely manner?

If the answers are no, you can’t remember, or are unsure,  start asking for them. Countless times we have seen board members only getting specific financials for board meetings, but in between, having no idea what’s going on in the non-profit or business.

Does that seem like too much oversight? It isn’t. Ask for the financials, ask the hard questions and most importantly, make sure you agree and understand the responses and feedback you are getting.  As a board member, it is your fiscal responsibility and duty to drive the organization to be better, to drive the organization to use their funds wisely, to make sure they are being used in an appropriate manner, and to help take the organization to the next level. 

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