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CFT's Financial Planning Workshop Series

More Than Just Surviving: Earning, Saving, and Spending Best Practices for Nonprofits During Crisis


This three-week online workshop series - facilitated by Elizabeth Searing, Ph.D., CNP, Assistant Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management at University of Texas at Dallas - focused on providing small to medium sized organizations with a knowledge of financial management skills, specifically focused on change and crisis management.   

January 20 | Session 1
  • Money Basics - This session discussed what being a financial leader means, and ensuring everyone has a functional knowledge of basic terms. Participants spent time with financial statements and discussed how they get assembled and what they mean.
January 27 | Session 2
  • Bringing It In - This session focused on revenues. Participants learned about resiliency strategies such as portfolio diversification, the benefits/drawbacks of different types of income, and how to tell the best fit between a program idea and a revenue type. Activities focused on understanding portfolios, calculating how diverse they are, and planning for revenue expansion.
February 3 | Session 3
  • Spending and Saving - This session focused on how to manage money. Participants learned about how other organizations have responded to crises, from recessions to pandemics. Discussions were held about how to cut costs and how to avoid cutting costs, and participants calculated their own financial resiliency measures and engaged in scenario planning.

Who was this workshop meant for?

Our ideal applicant would be a small to medium sized organization with a budget less than $1,000,000 and organizations who have the following infrastructures in place to get the most out of the sessions: 

  • Governance - Agencies with their 501c3 status and formal board governance structure, but may or may not be focused on board expansion or currently have a board with planning and oversight responsibilities.
  • Operations - Agencies that are not fully volunteer operated but have some hired staff with division of labor and accountability. 
  • Revenue – Agencies may have limited financial resources but may have some relationships with donors or funders, but still unpredictable. Some level of financial management system in place (i.e. QuickBooks).

About Dr. Elizabeth Searing

Dr-Elizabeth-Searing,-EPPS-(professional)-(2).jpgDr. Elizabeth Searing, Ph. D., CNP, is an Assistant Professor of Public and Nonprofit Management at the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Searing’s primary research focus is the financial management of nonprofit and social enterprise organizations, but she also conducts work on comparative social economy and the role of social and psychological factors in economic development and policy effectiveness. She is an editorial board member of Nonprofit Management & Leadership and an editorial advisory board member of Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management (JPBAFM). Her articles have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Nonprofit Management & Leadership, and Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly. Prof. Searing is also an editor of two books: Practicing Professional Ethics in Economics and Public Policy (with D. Searing) and The Social Enterprise Zoo: A Guide to Perplexed Entrepreneurs, Philanthropists, Investors and Policymakers (with D. Young and C. Brewer).

Helping people to do the most good in our community is what CFT does best.

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