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WHITEPAPER: Your Business Office is Closely Linked to Mission Success

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Why are nonprofit organizations in business? It is to achieve their societal missions. To do that, nonprofits must define their programmatic, financial, fundraising, and strategic goals. They must invest in their business to achieve objective and subjective results that lead to mission success and impact. Nonprofit businesses must balance financial viability and mission sustainability. In our increasingly complicated and faster-moving world, all organizational functions must be efficient and effective on their own and in collaboration with everyone else. Nonprofits need diverse revenue streams, disciplined and clear expense structures, unrestricted surpluses that build net assets over time, cash (and access to cash), and appropriate salary structures for excellent staff and visionary leadership. They must choose fundraising strategies across multiple donor classes and be able to sell program efficiency and effectiveness. Nonprofits need an evaluation capacity that clarifies realistic metrics, risk management self-awareness, the ability to put priorities in context, and a mission-engaged board. Obviously, success requires a lot. Contents 3 What does the Business Office do that impacts decision- making strategies? 5 How does the Business Office influence fundraising systems and strategies? 6 Knowing what we know, what is the way forward? 7 About the Author For further insight into the link between finance and mission goals, it is necessary to look deep into the systems, transactions, and personnel that roll into the ultimate depository of financial information, the general ledger. This amalgamation of transactions and systems is a window into the world of an organization's financial inner workings and business model. The multiple moving parts include accounts receivable (A/R), accounts payable (A/P), cash management and bank balances, payroll and payroll allocations, budgeting, forecasting, coding, hiring, and IT systems. Business Offices have known all along that each staff member existing in this often unheralded world actually influences mission and strategic decision-making as well as organizational outcomes. A behind the scenes understanding of the Business Office can provide the existential context for understanding what goes on in front for everyone to see. Better yet, the goal of this paper is to present the case for the nonprofit Business Office's crucial role in fulfilling the mission. 800.443.9441 | September 2017 2 |

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