Strong board = strong nonprofit

June 10, 2014

Strong board = strong nonprofit

In addition to the hard, steady work by a nonprofit's staff members and volunteers, organizations can thrive even more when collaborating with their strong and informed boards. Since those performing the majority of the day-to-day tasks for a charitable organization take their instructions from the top, having a solid executive strategy in place is particularly important.

Research from McKinsey & Company that polled private and public businesses, as well as nonprofit groups, showed that executive groups can range from being disorganized to very successful. Common habits shared across executive committees at different performance rating levels (low, medium and high) included a regular commitment to discussions on innovation and working on the diversification of investment portfolios. In general, low-performing boards were deficient when it came to assessing the specifics of what drives value, understanding the allocation of resources and debating operational alternatives.

To succeed in the long run, organizations should have a thorough understanding of how resources are distributed. This is especially true for nonprofits, as budgets are often tighter and there is less room for error than at a for-profit enterprise. Similarly, being able to craft alternate paths to an objective is important for nonprofits that need to stay agile despite the cyclical nature of fundraising and the general scarcity of resources.

Boosting efficiency and slimming operating budgets
Organizations of all kinds have two major paths for increased effectiveness: reducing extraneous spending and improving decision making. Data analysis can help nonprofits find useful alternatives for a variety of operational needs, such as improving donor outreach efforts or raising awareness of operations. As nonprofit magazine Leader to Leader points out, using metrics and data allows organizations to measure progress, and analysis of this information can guide more successful practices and reduce or eliminate less-efficient ones.

Nonprofits can focus on very specific tasks to consistently reduce unnecessary costs. One clear strategy nonprofits can take to save money and boost efficiency is opting out of state unemployment insurance (SUI) pools and becoming a reimbursing employer. By becoming a reimbursing employer and paying out unemployment claims on a dollar-for-dollar basis, charitable groups avoid the fluctuations in unemployment taxes, increasing table wage bases, plus the shared liability of such programs. Using a service such as an Unemployment Savings Program provides the security of having funds available for paying out claims without the undue financial obligations associated with SUI pools. Stop-loss insurance included in the program can increase confidence in times of financial hardship as well.

For information on how your organization can cost-effectively meet its unemployment insurance needs, contact First Nonprofit Group at or visit


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Working with Marshal Whittey at First Nonprofit has been a great experience. He handles our request as a priority and goes above and beyond to resolve any issues we have in a timely manner. Marshall follows through to the end and ensures our needs are met. He has been a great resource for LSC and our “go to” for any tax questions we may have. With LSC transitioning several facilities into one federal tax identification number, First Nonprofit was able to assist and provide guidance with best practices resolving claims to each entity. Additionally First Nonprofit provided knowledge (information materials) and one on one training to HRS group with best practices to handle claims state adjudicated, fraudulent claims, and appeals. And processing information in the First Nonprofit [unemployment claims] system allows for timely information can be collected.

Lutheran Services Carolinas, Salisbury, NC

My experience with FNP has been wonderful. Unemployment in general is quite confusing and FNP has simplified the process for us. Everyone we have reached out to or worked with has been very helpful and follows up to be sure we understand the information. I am so happy we made the switch to FNP!

Stone Valley Community Charter School, Huntingdon, PA

First Nonprofit smoothed the unemployment perils for our organization during Covid. Without the ability to cap our UI exposure, we would not have been able to weather the storm. The program worked perfectly and we have come out of the pandemic ready to forge on. Thanks FNP!

Jewish Silicon Valley, Los Gatos, CA

My experience with the FNP has been fantastic. The idea of setting funds aside for the unemployment tax liability is a bedrock for nonprofit organizations like mine, namely ASHBA; what is even more advantageous is having the FNP as a custodian of those funds. 100% recommended!

American Saddlebred Horse & Breeders Association, Inc., Lexington, KY

I would like to comment on my experience with FNP….to date our District has saved $1,000’s of dollars by being enrolled in the First Nonprofit program. My only regret is that we did not know about this method of paying unemployment tax years ago….as I had figured about five years

ago, had we enrolled 15-20 years ago, we could have saved our small school district upwards of $500,000 in payments to IDES. Also we would have had a pretty hefty sum of money in our Reserve Account. Thankfully I attended a workshop hosted by First Nonprofit back in 2015 which got the ball rolling!

Beardstown Community Unit School District 15, Beardstown, IL

I have worked with the First Non-Profit Team for many years, and I appreciate the quick response and care that Cecilia and the team provides anytime I have questions. While there are other providers that may provide like services, First Nonprofit will always be my first choice! I appreciate you!

Innovative Services, Inc., Green Bay, WI

First Nonprofit has been easy to work with and makes the administrative process easier and smoother. We enjoy working with you.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ