Eliminate Budget Season Stress with a Wishlist

Tuesday October 18, 2022 comments Tags: Budgets, Nonprofit, Capacity Building

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Hey there, welcome to another season of the Nonprofit Ace Podcast. This season is gonna be all about revisiting some topics, based off of where we are in the year where some of the conversations I've been having lately have been headed. Well, if people are coming to me with this question, that means they're probably some people. It's really timely for them right now. And I’m hoping that one of these episodes this season really resonates with you and gives you some steps that you can take actions towards, listen up.

Did you know you could talk to me directly in the podcast climate? Clearly I do podcast, so I would love for you to talk back to me. So if you want to join a community and start a conversation, check out the link in the show notes and just start with what resonated with you, bring me a question that you might have, maybe you'll hear me respond to it in a future episode. 

If you wait for budget season, quote, unquote, whatever that timeframe is for your organization, to think about money, to think about plans, you in my opinion have waited too long. You waited too long, because budget season is the most stressful time for most organizations. It is the time when people are just trying to figure out well, how do we get this done? How do we come in under budget? How do we, how do we, how do we there's so many things that you're stressed out about, that what I truly believe is that you should actually just create an ongoing wish list. One person should not be responsible for the budget, instead put the power onto whoever the team is. If those are some key volunteers. If those are some board members. Have everyone create a list of what are the things that you think we should do? What are the resources you think we should tap into? What are the programs we need to develop? What could we do if we had this thing? By creating this ongoing wishlist, as well as well what would it take? What do we need access to, do we need another staff member, do we need to pay our executives?  Be careful time. By doing that on an ongoing basis, when it's time to put the budget together, you're actually putting together all these ideas in one place, as opposed to working on a let's do a brain dump right now in the moment and have it done in three hours. That type of time crunch doesn't allow your brain to rest. It doesn't allow you to absorb information and process it. It's when we rest that we truly process things. That's why sleep is important. That's why taking breaks are important. And that's why I think that you should do your budget as an ongoing wish list. 

So think of it as throughout the year, as we talk about things as we have team meetings, we're creating this document of what are the things that we think will accomplish for the upcoming year. Some organizations decide to do it as like a team retreat. That's what we do at CNRG. Where I will say like, these are all the ideas that I've had coming up, give me your feedback, what's a good idea? What's a bad idea? What's something you've seen work somewhere else that we might be able to implement? By doing that, you give yourself time to really think over those ideas, think over those plans, before you have to say, what are we committing to? So that is my homework for you is to create that ongoing wish list. And don't just create a list of like, oh my gosh, I would really love us to have an administrative assistant. Think also about what will having this administrative assistant do? What will having an administrative assistant allows us to accomplish? By thinking about those things? What are we going to accomplish? What is going to be the result of having this person, this program, this software, you can now evaluate is that accomplishment a key priority for you. 

So your homework had been before was to list what are your key priorities, all the things that you're saying that you want on the wish list, highlight those items that to be addressed, those accomplishments. You might find that something's so nice, which you don't need right now and some things you didn't think you needed but you actually do because they will get you closer to some of those key priorities.

So that is your homework. Work on that wishlist. Talk to your other board members. Talk to the team, whether that be volunteers or paid people, because you want to make sure that you have all the information in hand to figure this out. And that when you're sitting to create the actual budget, you are not still wondering, oh, well, how much will that cost? What else will we need during that budget session isn't necessarily the time to do that. So until next time, go ahead, create your wish list.

Thanks for joining us on the Nonprofit Ace podcast! If you enjoyed this episode, please leave us a rate and review to help us reach even more nonprofit organizations who want to connect their financial information to their mission.


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