The 8 best nonprofit financial management training courses and where to find them

There’s no doubt that maintaining the financial health of your nonprofit can be difficult. Keeping up with major changes such as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is one thing, but even navigating the basic fiscal rules governing your organization can bring on a headache.

A lack of financial knowledge shouldn’t stand in the way of great ideas and amazing social impact — managing your board, your donations, and your organizational costs are necessary aspects of making real change, and there are a number of resources out there to help you achieve fluency in these skills. Whether you’re looking for how-to articles, online webinars, or an in-person training class, there’s a fiscal resource for you. We’ve highlighted 8 of the best nonprofit financial management training courses below. Check out the ways you can further your knowledge of how money and mission can work together to bring your most ambitious social impact goals to life.

 

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1. National Council of Nonprofits: Financial Management Tools & Resources

The National Council of Nonprofits acts as a trusted advocate for America’s charitable organizations, working to advance nonprofit impact by keeping 501(c)3s informed on governmental changes and policy trends. Their financial management resources live as free articles on their website, offering users comprehensive guides to every aspect of nonprofit finances from accounting and tax law updates to board trainings and endowment best practices. Do justice to your donors and your mission by perusing these resources — and sharing them with your staff members. Regardless of their job description, an organization-wide understanding of the basics of nonprofit financial structure will only serve to strengthen your work and your organization.

2. FMA Institute: Nonprofit Financial Management Courses

The Financial Management Associates Institute offers professional development courses to anyone who acts in a financial role at a nonprofit. Their courses can be taken online (or in-person at a handful of metropolitan locations), and range from an easy Excel basics training to an in-depth accounting education. These are all offered through FMA’s  Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional program (CNAP). If time or budget constraints restrict you from enrolling in their official courses, fear not: FMA also works in coordination with The Wallace Foundation to provide a library of free online articles and resources on nonprofit financial management.

3. Propel Nonprofits: Financial Management and Board Governance Trainings

Propel Nonprofits seeks to fuel the impact and effectiveness of nonprofits through guidance, expertise, and capital. There’s a particular focus on linking strategy, governance, and finance to build a stronger and more diverse network of organizations. Although Propel Nonprofits primarily serves nonprofits in Minnesota and adjacent states, its free online webinars are open to anyone. These trainings are held every few weeks and give you the necessary tools for a stronger nonprofit financial management strategy by exploring topics such as managing cash flow, serving as a nonprofit board member, and making data work for you (yay data!). For supplemental reading on nonprofit finances, check out Propel’s resource bank.

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4. Harvard Kennedy School: Nonprofit Financial Stewardship Program

The Nonprofit Financial Stewardship program is part of Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government’s Nonprofit Leadership Executive Certificate series. This 4-week online program can benefit CEOs as well as general managers and program staff,  and operates under the belief that a sound financial strategy is crucial to the long-term success of ANY organization. The program is designed to ground nonprofit professionals in the tools and techniques of good financial management, covering topics such as money and impact, understanding financial statements, financial management frameworks, and budgeting and resource allocation. Interested candidates can learn more about the application process (and watch the program’s free webinar on nonprofit accounting and financial statements!).

5. NonprofitReady.org: Nonprofit Accounting and Finance Courses

Nonprofit Ready is designed for on-the-go nonprofit professionals, providing unlimited access to hundreds of free online training modules. This service pairs updated content and structured courses with a network of nonprofit colleagues and mentors (including Whole Whale), in an effort to provide social impact leaders with invaluable skills and the highest quality education. The accounting and finance courses go beyond financial management basics to answer all of your hardest-hitting questions about the 990-PF or the realities of humanitarian financing — Nonprofit Ready will continue to offer you top-notch learning experiences even after you’ve mastered nonprofit financial management training, so don’t discount this (truly) free and (truly) awesome resource.

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6. Kellogg School of Management: Center for Nonprofit Management Programs

Like Harvard, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management offers its own curriculum of nonprofit-focused classes. These specialized executive program topics range from talent retention to fundraising tactics, and include a number of courses on financial management basics and building financial capacity. Courses are held in-person at Kellogg’s Chicago campus and take place over the course of a few days. Procrastinators can rejoice, too: Registration remains open until 10am one business day before the course begins, and there are scholarships available to offset program fees. Take a look at Kellogg’s nonprofit program calendar to stay on top of upcoming opportunities and find a financial management course that works for you.

7. GrantSpace: Financial Strategies for Nonprofits Webinar

If you’re looking for a one-stop shop of nonprofit financial management basics, then GrantSpace has the tool for you. GrantSpace, a social sector learning community by Foundation Center, offers easy-to-use tools and resources to aid nonprofit grant applicants and build stronger, more sustainable organizations. One $25 fee gives you access to GrantSpace’s 90-minute webinar on nonprofit financial management, during which you’ll become familiar with the main financial management issues facing nonprofits, acquire basic financial planning skills, and learn to identify financial asset controls. Use this course in financial management fundamentals to refresh and inform your entire staff on the financial structure of your organization.

8. Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York: Financial Management Resources

The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York acts as a voice and information source for 1,400+ New York nonprofits. To promote excellence in nonprofit management, NPCC provides a comprehensive set of free resources and workshops for their members. Their set of financial management tools covers all the bases –– complete the nonprofit financial infrastructure self-assessment to determine your organization’s strengths and weaknesses, and move through their resource bank accordingly to learn more about financial management, nonprofit accounting, and making the most of your board members. If you do better with hands-on or A/V learning experiences, you can stay up to date on NPCC’s education and training schedule for the latest information on upcoming webinars, workshops, and forums.

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Money and mission are inextricably intertwined, and the most successful organizations know the value of learning their way around their finances. It’s never too late to gain a new skill, and if you’ve taken one of these nonprofit financial management training courses before, share your experiences with us @WholeWhale — along with your own favorite tools!