cash_handsThe recent Blue Avocado study of finance professionals at nonprofit organizations serves as a great reminder of how important and yet overlooked this role is. As the study report notes, the “tenures and experiences of executive directors (CEOs) and development directors” get most of the attention.

Meanwhile, toiling in the background are a group of professionals that are, the study shows, typically highly trained and inclined to stay with the nonprofit longer than either its CEO or development director. They’re getting a bit of short shrift in return, it appears: Their biggest stressors include when other nonprofit staff don’t comply with basic financial procedures (like turning in timesheets) or when they don’t have enough time to do everything on their plate (other job duties having often been heaped there).

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the key part the finance director (or CFO) plays in an organization’s fundraising efforts, doing everything from:

  • explaining to staff and board what the cash flow and overall financial situation is
  • helping plan future budgets for projects or grant applications
  • collecting on reimbursement-based grant money
  • keeping track of a myriad of individual donations
  • preparing budget figures for follow-up reports to foundation grantors
  • making sure the nonprofit survives its audit with reputation unscathed, to
  • much more.

Given all that, it might be worth checking in with your CFO to see whether the typical stressors are grinding away at him or her — and try to eliminate at least some of them (turn in those timesheets, folks!) in order to enhance the likelihood of a good long tenure with your organization.