2021 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide curated from nonprofit organizations by the Nonprofit Leadership Center

2021 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide

Team NLC News

Most people agree that giving is better than receiving. Make giving AND receiving a little sweeter this year by giving a gift that gives back to a nonprofit organization. The Nonprofit Leadership Center’s 2021 Holiday Gift Guide highlights gifts for everyone on your list, with some or all of the proceeds benefiting nonprofits.


Statement Shirts for Strong Women

The EmpowHERment Community Center is a nonprofit that works to empower all women by fostering the skills and resources needed to obtain self-sufficiency in finances, mental/emotional wellness and relationships. For the brave and bold women in your life (and those who may need a little reminder of their greatness), these EmpowHERment tees are sure to inspire. Additional styles and colors are available in their online shop. Shirts vary from $15 to $30.

Tops to Support Military Veterans

The Military Warriors Support Foundation is a nonprofit that helps facilitate a smooth and successful transition for our nation’s combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star families. Their programs focus on housing and homeownership, recreational activities, transportation assistance and leadership development. This holiday, you can honor a veteran in your life with apparel that supports them, from T-shirts to hoodies and more. Many colors and sizes are available, and prices range from $21 to $35.

T-shirts and tops to show your support for our nation's combat-wounded veterans

Clothes That Care

NAMI Pasco is an affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness that provides free support, advocacy, outreach and education to those with mental health conditions and their loved ones. As mental health conditions are increasing, NAMI is selling apparel to remind people they aren’t alone. Check out all their inspirational shirts, caps, bags and even pet clothes with positive mental health messages. Prices vary from $14.99 to $29.99.

Jewelry & Accessories

The Gift of Sight

Lighthouse of Pinellas is a nonprofit dedicated to advancing the independence and quality of life for individuals in Pinellas County who are blind or visually impaired. These custom Braille bracelets are handmade by the teens in their Teen Transition program. Choose your strap color, length and inspirational word, or customize your own word. All proceeds directly benefit the Teen Transition program. Prices range from $15-$20 plus tax.

Custom Braille bracelets from Lighthouse of Pinellas County

Sustainable Styles That Empower Refugees

The Refugee & Migrant Women’s Initiative, Inc. (RAMWI) is a nonprofit that empowers, engages and supports refugee and migrant women as they resettle in the Tampa Bay area. Their programs enhance women’s lives by providing opportunities to heal, build new connections, and develop skills that can foster self-sustainable economic opportunities.

RAMWI offers tote bags, table runners and one-of-a-kind jewelry created from up-cycled silk neckties, all handmade by women who are refugees resettling in the Tampa Bay area. Prices range from $29 to $65.

Bracelets to Help Rebuild Lives

Selah Freedom is a nonprofit organization working to end sex trafficking and bring freedom to the exploited through awareness, prevention, outreach and residential programs. Selah means to pause, rest and reflect in Hebrew, exactly what the organization gives survivors through its sex trafficking outreach program. ​Their Freedom Wrap Bracelet benefits survivors in this program by providing food, hygiene products, new clothes (most survivors come into the program with just the clothes on their backs) and much more. 87% of survivor graduates of Selah Freedom’s Residential and Outreach Programs do not return to “the life.”

Bracelets are $20 each.

Freedom wrap bracelets in gold and silver to benefit Selah Freedom

Holiday Greetings That Give Back

The MacDonald Training Center is a nonprofit organization dedicated to continuously improving the quality of vocational, employment and residential services for individuals with disabilities in the Tampa Bay area so they can lead a life they choose.

Celebrate the season with whimsical and inspirational holiday greeting cards designed by MacDonald Training Center artists. Each pack of 10 cards is $10 and features one original design with a warm holiday greeting inside. From angels to flamingos there are cards for Christmas, Hannukah, and Kwanzaa. 

Holiday greeting card featuring an angel from MacDonald Training Center

Firefighter Calendar for Lung Health

The American Lung Association is honoring local firefighters who are dedicated to creating a world free of lung disease in their 2022 calendar. These first-responders are featured alongside fire-safety tips, information on how fires affect our lung health and more. Honor the heroes who protect us from lethal smoke and step up to the cause every year to support lung health. Calendars are $20, and sales support the American Lung Association.

Firefighter Calendar from American Lung Association
Other Gifts

Candles and Gifts from Seventh Avenue Apothecary to Benefit A Kid’s Place

Custom candles made locally by Seventh Avenue Apothecary exclusively for A Kid’s Place give hope to foster children. They were created with the help of children and volunteers and come in two distinct scents: “Hope,” a blend of White Tea + Fig and Green Clover + Aloe and “Wish,” a blend of Chai Latte + Christmas Tree.

A Kid’s Place provides a safe, loving and nurturing home for foster children from birth to age 18 who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, neglect or abandonment. Purchases help brothers and sisters stay together during their time in care.

A variety of candle sizes and gift baskets are available, ranging from $11 to $55.

Remembrance Beads

Susie Q’s Kids is a nonprofit committed to improving the lives of children and young adults in hospitals, foster care, shelters and those who are grieving with comfort bags to meet their basic needs, comfort needs and to provide inspirational support.

The holidays can be a particularly hard time without loved ones we’ve lost. These Remembrance Beads are a beautiful way to honor someone who has lost a loved one. The beads and charm can be used as story starters to reflect a different story or experience about that person. Wear it on your bag, belt, purse or backpack. When others notice, your recipient can tell them about its importance and share a story of a loved one reflected by one of the beads. You will receive the Remembrance Beads when you make a $30 donation to Susie Q’s Kids, and your contribution will also support the organization’s ability to provide comfort bags to kids in need.

Image of Remembrance Beads from Susie Q's Kids

Swag That Sparks Potential for Kids

The Spark Initiative is a nonprofit that works to cultivate human potential and resiliency through education, mentoring and coaching centered on an understanding of the mind that SPARKs innate mental health. SPARK Speaks to the Potential, Ability, and Resilience inside every Kid. Proceeds from their Swag Bag ($30) and will fund a child in the community who needs mentoring and mental health support. The SPARK Mentoring Program is available at no cost to anyone under the age of 18.

Each bag consists of:

  • 1 Find Your SPARK White T-shirt
  • 1 SPARK Grey Jacket
  • 1 Curious the Dragonfly – Search for Good Feelings Children’s Book
  • 1 Curious the Dragonfly – Search for Friendship Children’s Book
  • 25 Curious Bookmarks
  • 5 Find Your SPARK Bracelets
  • 2 Squishy Lightbulbs (stress balls)
  • 8 Find Your SPARK Pencils

To access and purchase this holiday swag bag, use the password SPARK when prompted.

Spark Swag Bag

Conversation Cards

Appropriate for kids of all ages, Conversation Cards feature thought-provoking questions and discussion prompts, as well as emojis to support the development of emotional vocabulary. They’re an effective tool to encourage deeper conversations between parents and children, teachers and students, coworkers, mentors and mentees and others. Card decks are $20 each or $15 when you purchase six or more decks.

Proceeds from the cards benefit Frameworks and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay. Frameworks empowers educators and other youth services professionals with training, coaching and research-based resources to equip students with social and emotional skills. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay works to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth so every young person can achieve their full potential.

Conversation Cards from Frameworks

Share an Experience That Supports the Arts

Is there any better gift we can give than time together? This holiday season, give someone special in your life an experience you can share while supporting a local theatre, museum or arts organization. The arts were hit particularly hard by COVID-19, seeing the largest declines in giving across the charitable sector. Support an important cause and your community by planning an outing or experience for a loved one at your favorite local venue. In our hometown where the Nonprofit Leadership Center is located, gift cards and experiences are available from nonprofits like the Academy of Ballet Arts (adult classes), Dunedin Fine Art Center (art classes), freeFall Theatre Company, Tampa Theatre, The Master Chorale, and more.

Search for theatres, museums and other art venues in your local area and enjoy some time well spent.

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter to get exclusive tips, tools and trainings especially designed for nonprofit leaders.

Image of pause button: A self-guided reflection break

Hit the Pause Button: Your 25-Minute Self-Guided Reflection Break

Team NLC Resources

Sometimes we all need to hit the pause button to think and reflect. You can finally do just that in this 25-minute self-guided reflection break. Designed by Nonprofit Leadership Center Trainer Ellen Nastir, this introspective video presents inspiring prompts and thoughtful questions, set to soothing music, to provide the time you need to discover the brave and bold leader within you.

Hit Your Pause Button

More Self-Care Resources for Nonprofit Leaders

To ensure that you can be your very best for the constituents and communities you serve, check out these additional resources.

Self-Care Tips for Nonprofit Leaders

WATCH: Managing Mental and Emotional Exhaustion

WATCH: How to Cope with COVID-19 Anxiety

Recharge and Reboot: Coloring Pages for Nonprofit Leaders

About Ellen Nastir

Working hand-in-hand with nonprofits and small businesses, Ellen Nastir, M.Ed., PCC, BCC, CPCC, helps clients create more positive, appreciative and cohesive work environments. Her company, Innovative Team Solutions, works to develop employees’ people-skills to complement their technical skills and abilities. With more than 14 years of experience in training, development and entrepreneurial sales, Ellen brings a unique perspective to resolving challenges and maximizing the potential of any team. She is a certified professional co-active coach, PeopleMap trainer, virtual trainer from the International Institute for Virtual Facilitation and is certified in Positive Psychology, Change and Tension Management and Conflict Dynamics. Finding the opportunity during quarantine, Ellen is most recently obtaining certification in Positive Intelligence. 

Be the first to hear about the latest nonprofit tips, resources and training classes at NLC. Sign up to receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter to help you thrive personally and professionally. 

"Start each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart."

Starting Each Day with a Grateful Heart

Team NLC Stories

At the Nonprofit Leadership Center, we’re big believers in starting each day with a positive thought and a grateful heart. During this season of giving, we reflect on the moments, memories and people Team NLC is grateful for this year. We thank you for your leadership and friendship as we continue to develop and connect nonprofit leaders to strengthen organizations and our communities.

Diving for Joy

“Unbridled joy … that moment when you can freely pursue what you love the most. Those are the moments to live for.

“Meet my dog, Cassie. She lives to immerse herself in water. A bucket, a stream, the ocean, a swimming pool — water of any kind, anywhere, will do. She also loves to retrieve balls, toys, pine cones, or even a block of wood. Whatever is handy. Recently, we discovered a sport that combines her love of water and retrieving into one fantastic event: dock diving. She’s pictured here at the moment when I released her to sprint down the ramp and launch her 75-pound body off a dock to catch a ball midair, then plunging into a pool below. I love this photo because of the pure joy she shows and the total abandonment of all else. I look at this photo often and am grateful for this everyday reminder of what unbridled joy looks like.” #BeLikeCassie

Emily H. Benham, CEO

Blessing a New Home

“People say moving is one of the most stressful times in one’s life. I can certainly vouch for that this year. It wasn’t easy leaving a home and a neighborhood I’d grown to love, nor was it easy to organize, sort, donate, sell, pack and arrange all the details a move takes. But I did it. The next challenge was unpacking, arranging, settling, decorating, fixing, cleaning, meeting new neighbors, sorting out a new commute to work, and more. And I did that, too.

“Finding the blessings in a new home took time, encouragement from family and friends, and steady love and support from my wonderful sister. One important step I took was to hold a Hawaiian blessing to invite harmony, health, peace and protection in. I now enjoy watching nature in my backyard and am open to finding more reasons to find more blessings in my new home.”

Lorraine Faithful, Operations Manager

A Growing Family

“This year, I am grateful for the ongoing love and support from family and friends. Our family grew this year by one great nephew who is a joyful addition to our lives.”

Charlie Imbergamo, Director of Strategic Programs

Bee-ing Outdoors

“I’m extremely grateful for outdoor event venues and restaurants, farmer’s markets and u-pick farms, and for living in a climate that allows me to enjoy that year-round. I’m always appreciative of that as a Florida resident, but especially in these last 20 months as COVID-19 has continued to affect indoor gatherings. I’m grateful that I’m able to get together with loved ones in a relatively safe way in outdoor spaces and get out of the house for some solo time outdoors whenever the mood strikes me. 

“I’m also grateful to our bee friends for helping to keep us fed by pollinating.” 

Carina Kleter, Program Associate

The Simple Things & New Horizons

“I’m pretty sure I’m not alone when I say I don’t know where 2020 ended and 2021 began. What I do know is that throughout all this time, my loved ones have been my solace and my joy. For them and the memories we crafted, I am grateful. 

“Professionally, I feel like I struck gold for a second time. I took a risk when I walked away from an organization I believed in and colleagues I loved to join the Nonprofit Leadership Center. Fortunately, the NLC family has been impossibly kind and affirming, and I am so glad for the opportunity to serve alongside them. 

“Finally, I’m grateful for much-needed laughter and long-awaited hugs, and for learning to let go, so I can embrace what’s new.”

Meriel Martínez, Program Director

A Community of Support

“I am most grateful for my community, both near and far. This year, on top of the life-altering changes brought forth from living through a pandemic, a close family member was presented with some serious health challenges. There have been many moments in the past year that have caused me to pause and think about how lucky I am to have a network of such love and collective strength. I have felt that support in many places, from within my family, dear friends, local community and my wonderfully thoughtful team at NLC.” 

Tess Plotkin, Fellow in Resource Development

Be the first to hear about the latest nonprofit tips, resources and training classes at NLC by signing up to receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter. It will help you thrive personally and professionally as you work to strengthen our communities. 

7 Tips for a Successful GivingTuesday

7 Tips for a Successful Giving Tuesday Campaign

Jesica D'Avanza, MPA, APR Tips

GivingTuesday is a global day of generosity that happens every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. As people are bombarded with ads, emails and social posts from nearly every organization about this day of giving, what can your nonprofit do to stand out from the noise? These GivingTuesday tips will help you craft communications that inspire more prospects and donors to support your mission now.

1. Make it about them, not you.
Donors don’t give because of your organizational fundraising goals or operational needs; they give because they want to help real people in your community. As you craft your GivingTuesday communications, lead with your audience, not your organization. Elevate the individuals, families and communities that depend on you and the life-changing impact your work will have on their lives and livelihoods. Ask your donors and supporters to help them. Including first-person messages and appeals directly from those who have benefitted from your organization can be particularly helpful to paint a clear picture of your impact. Be transparent and detailed about how you will use the dollars you raise on GivingTuesday to support your community.

2. Approach your donors and supporters as partners.
Rather than begging donors for their support, consider them essential partners in delivering your mission. Show them how their partnership and collaboration can strengthen lives and their community, and make it clear in your communications where they fit in these efforts. By treating your donors as critical collaborators, you will develop a more meaningful relationship with them that inspires continued involvement.

3. Secure a match partner.
A whopping 84% of donors say they are more likely to give to nonprofit organizations if a match is offered, according to Double the Donation, and 1 in 3 donors say they’ve given more because a match is offered. Increase the funds you raise on GivingTuesday by identifying an existing corporate partner or board member to match the donations you raise on this giving day. This offers your audiences an added incentive to give, knowing their contributions will have double or even triple the impact, up to a specific amount.

4. Give them a reason to feel hopeful.
Let’s face it. Everywhere we turn right now, we’re bombarded with grim news stories and heartbreaking accounts of what’s happening in the world around us. Approach GivingTuesday from a place of strength by giving your audiences a reason to feel positive and hopeful. Although the needs are great at this moment and urgency is essential in a strong fundraising appeal, connect your donors’ actions today to how their contributions will make our entire community stronger tomorrow.

5. Offer those struggling financially with a way to support you.
While it may not be possible for everyone to make a donation, everyone can use their influence to support your cause. Encouraging certain segments of your supporters to host a Facebook fundraiser on your behalf is a great way for them to make a difference when so much feels out of our control. Learn more about how to ensure your nonprofit is eligible to have supporters fundraise for you on Facebook here.

6. Don’t just ask.
While GivingTuesday is all about giving, don’t forget to surround every ask you make with authentic cultivation and engagement communications. Sharing stories and reporting back frequently with clarity and accountability is critical to fostering a lasting relationship with your supporters. Just as you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first or second date, you must consider how you communicate with your donors in the same way you would with a valued friend or family member.

7. Remember your staff.
Finally, on GivingTuesday, consider how you might give back to your staff. As many staff work remotely these days, maintaining team morale is essential. Use this day to give them something — an unexpected day off this month, a hand-written note or some other token of your appreciation. Your employees and team members are your greatest assets. Make sure they know just how much you appreciate them.

Photo of Jesica D'Avanza, MPA, APR

Jesica D’Avanza, MPA, APR, is an award-winning communications leader who works at the intersection of brand and business strategy to make our world a better place. As owner and chief strategy officer at Round Square, she applies two decades of experience in brand and communications strategy to help nonprofits and mission-driven organizations transform their communications for greater relevance, resonance and results. Her consultancy supports clients across health care, wellness, education, environmental and nonprofit arenas.

Jesica has served in a variety of national communications and marketing leadership roles for organizations like the American Cancer Society and Muscular Dystrophy Association. She holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Florida State University and her Accreditation in Public Relations.

Get featured in the 2021 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide: Submissions due by Nov. 26, 2021

Feature Your Organization in the 2021 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide

Team NLC News

You have probably heard the famous quote from St. Francis of Assisi that, “It is in giving that we receive.” As nonprofit leaders, we certainly agree. Now through Friday, November 26, the Nonprofit Leadership Center is accepting submissions for our 2021 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide. Started in 2019, this festive guide highlights holiday gifts that give back to nonprofit organizations to strengthen our communities.

All you need to complete your submission is the following information:

  • Name of nonprofit organization
  • Description of product or service that benefits the nonprofit organization
  • Link to learn more or purchase the item
  • A photo(s) of the item, if available
  • Your contact information

For inspiration, find past gift guides here:

We will publish the 2021 Nonprofit Holiday Gift Guide on GivingTuesday, November 30. Thank you in advance for sharing your favorite nonprofits and products that support them with our community.

Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter to get exclusive tips, tools and professional development events exclusively designed for nonprofit leaders.

Applications open for Certificate in Nonprofit Management at the University of tampa

Applications Now Open for the 2022-23 Nonprofit Management Graduate Certificate Program at UT

Team NLC News

Are you a nonprofit leader who aspires to be a CEO or member of a senior leadership team? A graduate certificate in nonprofit management is a powerful step to make that goal a reality. The Nonprofit Leadership Center offers a graduate certificate in nonprofit management in collaboration with the University of Tampa, and we’re pleased to announce that applications are now open for the 2022-23 program.

“I have no words that can fully express the profound effect the Certificate in Nonprofit Management program has had and will continue to have on my nonprofit.”

2020 graduate

READ NEXT: 3 Benefits of the Certificate in Nonprofit Management

About the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management

The 2022-2023 graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management at the University of Tampa will begin in May 2022 and last about 15 months. Courses are delivered as four one-week seminars, representing 12 credit hours of graduate-level instruction. Program participants will develop skills in strategic thinking, leadership, marketing, development and accounting. The required in-person sessions include:

  • Thinking Strategically
    Students will focus on evaulating mission, analyzing board governance and conducting an environmental scan. They will also identify the focus area for their program-long project and business plan.

  • Marketing, Research & Communication
    During this session, students will learn how to conduct market research, explore fund development and develop a marketing plan for their chosen project.

  • Accounting & Financial Management
    Students will learn the fundamentals of accounting, financial performance, analyzing costs and internal controls. They will also develop a budget for their program-long project.

  • Leadership and Innovation
    In the final session of the program, students will evaluate their personal leadership and develop an implementation plan.

  • Final Presentations
    The program culminates with students presenting their business plan to a group of nonprofit and community leaders for evaluation as the final step to receiving their certificate.


Join us for an info session to learn more.

Join us for a virtual or in-person info session to discover how quickly you can further your education with our nonprofit graduate program. You’ll receive a general overview of the University of Tampa as well as details about nonprofit management track options. Faculty and staff will be available to answer your questions, discuss the application process and review financial aid options.

“This program has been so insightful and challenging. Working and learning from organizations that are so different from my own has significantly expanded my horizons.”

2020 graduate

Have questions? Email us at info@nlctb.org, or contact our friends at the University of Tampa at 813-258-7409 or grad@ut.edu.

READ NEXT: A Day in the Life of a Working Student Pursuing Their Certificate in Nonprofit Management

Image of a woman that says apply now next to the words funding for nonprofits

Available Funding Opportunities for Local Nonprofits

Team NLC News

Year-end fundraising isn’t the only source of income for nonprofits before the end of 2021. The following funding opportunities are available to local and/or Florida-based nonprofit organizations now.

Win $10,000 from the Florida Blue Foundation

For the fifth consecutive year, the Florida Blue Foundation is giving away $10,000 to five Florida-based nonprofit organizations as part of its #FloridaGives campaign.

Nonprofits can enter between November 8-14, 2021, by posting on Twitter and/or Instagram with the following information:

  • Name of your nonprofit
  • Why you are grateful for this nonprofit
  • Tag #FloridaGives and Florida Blue (@FLBlue on Twitter & @Florida.Blue on Instagram)

Share and post throughout the week to increase your organization’s chance of winning. If you do not have Twitter or Instagram, you can submit your favorite Florida-based nonprofit’s name and why you are grateful for them on Florida Blue’s campaign webpage.

Winners will be selected at random and announced on GivingTuesday, November 30, 2021.

Learn more and see all rules and regulations here.

Working Capital Loans from Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg

In response to the ongoing need for working capital loans to complement grant funding, the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is investing $2 million to support nonprofits working to advance race equity in Pinellas County.

In partnership with the Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corporation, Inc., the Pinellas Working Capital Loan Fund will offer reasonable and ready access to working capital through an interest-free, zero-fee loan program. Nonprofits can use funds to sustain operations, improve services and/or make strategic investments.

The Foundation hopes access to this financing will allow more nonprofits to seek local, state and federal grants (and other revenue sources) to magnify available resources.

Nonprofits must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Tax-exempt public charity under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code
  • Incorporated and active for more than one year
  • Advance racial equity in Pinellas County
  • Prior year expenses were less than $15 million

The Foundation will accept grant applications on a continual basis until funds are allocated.

Learn more and apply now.

Community Investment Grants Now Available from United Way Suncoast

United Way Suncoast has opened its competitive community investment process for programs seeking funding in early learning, youth success and financial stability projects. Grants will be awarded to qualifying organizations serving Florida communities in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota and/or DeSoto Counties, and will provide funding for three years (July 2022-June 2025).

Letters of intent are due by December 15, 2021.

Learn more here, including information on funding priorities, funding guidelines, an outline of the full application and process and upcoming info sessions.

READ NEXT: How to Write a Winning Grant Proposal

READ NEXT: Your Guide to Applying for Nonprofit Grants

Be the first to know about events and news for nonprofit leaders by signing up for our email list and following the Nonprofit Leadership Center on FacebookLinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

The 6 Cs of Inclusive Leadership

Six Traits of Inclusive Leadership

Team NLC Tips

“If you think you’re a leader and nobody is following you, you’re just taking a walk. Inclusive leaders walk the walk and live the values. They’re creating organizational cultures where people feel they can thrive and succeed.”

These are the words Dr. Shirley Davis recently shared at the Nonprofit Leadership Center’s 2021 Leadership Conference. Dr. Davis is the president and CEO of SDS Global Enterprises, Inc., a woman- and minority-owned C-Corporation that works with leaders to create more inclusive and high-performing workplaces where all talent can thrive.

Dr. Davis described culture as the values, beliefs and behaviors of an organization. She said, “Culture is like the wind; you can’t always see it, but you can always feel it.”

READ NEXT: 5 Common Misconceptions about Organizational Culture

So how can leaders create an inclusive culture? Dr. Davis says it comes down to six things.

The Six Cs of Inclusive Leadership

Dr. Shirley Davis says highly inclusive leaders demonstrate the following attributes:

1. Commitment: They are committed to diversity and inclusion because these objectives align with their personal values. They create a culture of belonging and high performance.

2. Courage: They are willing to speak up and challenge the status quo and are willing to have difficult conversations.

3. Cognizance of bias: They are mindful of personal and organizational blind spots and self-regulate to ensure “fair play.”

4. Curiosity: They have an open mindset and a desire to understand how others view and experience the world.

5. Cultural Intelligence: They are confident and effective in cross-cultural interactions. They practice self-reflection and discovery in order to build honest and trustworthy relationships.

6. Collaboration: They empower individuals as well as create and leverage the thinking of diverse groups.

Dr. Davis also shared that workers want their leaders to be authentic and transparent, trustworthy, inspirational, willing to take risks and allow risk-taking, and aware and empowering.

“There’s a reason the word inclusion starts with ‘I,’” Dr. Davis says. There are things each of us can and must do every day to be more inclusive leaders. “The platinum rule trumps the golden rule. It’s not about treating people the way you want to be treated. You’ve got to treat people the way they want to be treated. People have different needs, work ethics and expectations. Step into your vulnerability and discomfort. Belonging leads to believing.”

READ NEXT: 8 Things Authentically Inclusive Leaders Believe

READ NEXT: 7 Traits of Emotionally Intelligent Leaders

Be the first to know about events and news for nonprofit leaders by signing up for our email list and following the Nonprofit Leadership Center on FacebookLinkedInInstagram and Twitter.

Image of a nonprofit finance committee meeting

Financial Management for Nonprofits: The Role of the Nonprofit Finance Committee

By Michelle M. Sanchez, CPA, Warren Averett Tips

Financial management can be intimidating for many nonprofit professionals, especially those new to oversight roles in nonprofit organizations. One of the primary oversight roles is that of the finance committee. What exactly is the role of a nonprofit finance committee? Why is the finance committee important? This introductory guide shares nonprofit finance committee best practices to help prepare you and your organization for success. 

What does a nonprofit finance committee do?

A nonprofit finance committee is one of the most important pillars of your organization and leadership structure. The finance committee provides overall financial oversight of your nonprofit. Its members help to ensure that your organization has the necessary resources to provide programming and deliver your mission in the community.

What are the responsibilities of a finance committee?

The finance committee oversees a nonprofit’s funding and spending. Specifically, a nonprofit finance committee is responsible for:

  • Approving the annual budget
  • Monitoring monthly financial statements
  • Overseeing financial reporting, including the annual IRS Form 990 and all required tax filings
  • Ensuring the organization has the cash reserves and investments necessary for long-term success

Who should be on your nonprofit finance committee?

One of the most common mistakes nonprofits make is not having a nonprofit finance committee with members who have the right mix of knowledge and experience in nonprofit financial management.

The ideal size for a nonprofit finance committee depends on the size of your organization but generally consists of three to five members. When establishing your finance committee, it is essential to have someone with financial expertise who can evaluate the overall health of your organization. While not mandatory, having a CPA is extremely helpful to provide the financial skillset to serve that role.

Additionally, identify at least one person who has experience in nonprofit financial reporting. While not everyone on the committee must have a nonprofit background, it is helpful to have someone with experience serving in a CFO (chief finance officer) role or corporate accounting position supporting a nonprofit.

Finally, the majority of the finance committee should consist of independent members.  This means the committee members are not part of the nonprofit’s management staff or do not have other ties to the organization.

READ NEXT: How to Recruit Nonprofit Board Members

What kinds of questions should nonprofit finance committee members be asking?

One of the most important things that nonprofit board and finance committee members can do is ask insightful questions. Members shouldn’t just rubber-stamp financial documents; they need to understand what they approve because they have fiduciary responsibility for the nonprofit organization.

Here are some questions board and finance committee members should continually pose to the executive director or CEO and staff leadership:

  • Do we have enough cash inflows to cover operations, or are we living off reserves?
  • Do we have enough cash on hand to cover at least three months of operating expenses?
  • What portion of our funds are we spending on program activities?
  • Are we raising funds from a diverse array of donors and sources? Are we relying too much on grants? Are we growing our donor base?
  • How much does it cost for us to raise a dollar?
  • How much are we spending on administrative expenses?

What best practices should our nonprofit finance committee follow when selecting an external auditor?

When it comes to financial audits for your nonprofit, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Do your homework. The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the world’s largest member association representing the accounting profession, offers resources, publications and events to foster high-quality performance by auditors.
  • Ask for an auditor’s peer review report. Auditors get peer-reviewed where others come in and look at their work. That report is public information and can provide some comfort related to the audit firm’s controls and quality.
  • Ask for references. It seems simple, but when you’re doing an RFP and asking for information from auditors, ask for and check references.
  • Look for a trustworthy advisor. You need an audit firm that thinks you’re important, will communicate with you regularly and be proactive in serving your needs.
  • Keep in mind that the cheapest option may not be the best option. Look for a firm that offers value and advice, and that supports your organization and its mission.

What is the difference between an audit committee and a finance committee? Does my organization need both?

An audit committee focuses on the hiring and performance of auditors to perform an annual financial audit of your organization, while a finance committee oversees the management of financial resources, such as cash flow and other important practices. Whether you need both committees depends on the size of your organization. Larger organizations may have a specialized committee to oversee the auditing process, but smaller organizations typically have their finance committee take on both roles.

Get Your Certificate in Nonprofit Financial Management

The Nonprofit Leadership Center’s Certificate in Nonprofit Financial Management will provide you with the basic skills and knowledge needed to establish and maintain a strong financial management system.

This two-day program will build your ability to make sound decisions that affect your nonprofit’s programs and operations with a focus on best practices. Courses will demystify financial jargon and teach you about financial record-keeping. Class material uses easily understood and relevant case examples and engaging, interactive explanations for financial terminology, assumptions and concepts.


About Michelle Sanchez

Photo of Michelle Sanchez, CPA, NLC Board Member

Michelle Sanchez is a certified public accountant who has been practicing public accounting since 1994. As a member of Warren Averett, she leads the firm’s Nonprofit Industry Service Team. Michelle is primarily responsible for audits, reviews and compilations for a broad-based clientele, including nonprofit organizations, manufacturing firms, distribution companies and various service industry companies.

READ NEXT: Tips to Prevent Internal Fraud at Your Nonprofit

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Secrets to Year-End Fundraising

Year-End Fundraising: Secrets to Inspire Greater Giving

Charlie Imbergamo | Director of Strategic Programs Resources

Research shows that people make nearly one-third of all charitable gifts in December, with 12% of all giving occurring in the last three days of the year. What is your nonprofit doing to capitalize on the critical year-end giving season? Develop a practical plan to boost year-end fundraising for your nonprofit and get new strategies you can implement immediately.

WATCH: How to Increase Year-End Giving at Your Nonprofit

After watching this free video, you’ll better understand:

  • Effective year-end fundraising strategies for the final two months of the year, including Giving Tuesday
  • How to focus on the best fundraising strategies for your nonprofit right now
  • Practical ways to increase your success this year-end

Download the presentation shared during the session.


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READ NEXT: The Year-End Fundraising Tool Most Nonprofits Overlook

About the Presenter

Photo of Sara Leonard, NLC trainer

Sara Leonard, MBA, CFRE, is a solutions-oriented advancement professional with more than 25 years of experience in development and administration in the nonprofit field. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive and has been named a Master Trainer by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

Sara has worked in the nonprofit sector, raising funds for health care, educational and cultural organizations. Sara launched the Sara Leonard Group in April 2015 to provide consulting, coaching and training to fundraisers, CEOs and nonprofit board members. She is an active trainer at the Nonprofit Leadership Center in fund development and volunteer management.

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Be the first to hear about fundraising tips, nonprofit training events and free resources from the Nonprofit Leadership Center by signing up to receive our weekly NLC e-newsletter.

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