Financial planning for a small charities may seem daunting, so I created this financial planning checklist and template to help you to create your small charity financial plan. It gives you the financial questions you need to ask yourself, as well as ideas about what you can do to mitigate the financial risk to your small charity. Income is unquestionably the biggest financial risk, but there are others.
You can also health check your charity's financial management online in 30 mins, with access to the huge resource base. Plus use Funding Finder, to find a huge range of grants and Help Finder to find lots of free fundraising support and also companies that make product/financial donations. There's a fundraising online health check, with 60+downloadable funder lists. Quick, simple and everything is free.
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|Having enough cash is critical in financial planning and managing risk.
|Current Cash Position - do you have enough cash at the bank to pay bills, as these fall due? Do you have reasonable confidence that future income will ensure you continue to do so? If not, do you have near cash assets that could be converted to cash, such as deposit accounts, availability of an overdraft facility?
|Additional Cash Availability - if a cash issue were to arise, is there scope for an overdraft, or options to take out a short-term loan, or delay the capital repayments on any existing loans, such as a mortgage?
|Managing Uncertainty - trust fundraising has become much more challenging and Covid poses an ongoing risk to events and activities. Are the income estimates in your budget prudent and do they take this financial risk into account? For activities that may be cancelled, do you have your Plan B ready? For example, a rescheduling option and/or switching a physical event to online? Toolkit 7 gives you a range of ways to create and forecast your fundraising income budget effectively. Here are other ways to mitigate income risk.
|Improve Fundraising - The CEF Data Store shows that the effectiveness of fundraising is the lowest ranked of the 21 main indicators tracked and Covid has fundamentally changed how we approach fundraising. The CEF Income questionnaire will enable you to assess your fundraising effectiveness and link you to the resources you need to improve this, including its free Funding Finder database and 50+ downloadable funder lists and free funding finders.
Fundraising Plan - growing income and creating new income streams takes time and, usually, investment of time and money. Are the amounts and timescales in your plan realistic and are you confident that you have the expertise and time to deliver what you plan? Toolkit 2 provides a simple, step-by-step checklist and advice that enables you to create an ambitious, but realistic fundraising plan.
|Are you confident that your income will cover expenditure now and in the future? Here are options to reduce cost to mitigate that risk.
|Make Savings – it's always worthwhile to see if you might use your limited resources more efficiently. Toolkit 6 gives you a whole range of ideas on how to do that and Toolkit 7 the same for energy cost savings, and energy efficiency schemes and grants.
|Discretionary Expenditure - any scope to delay non-essential expenditure, such as training courses, building work or new equipment purchases.
|Major Payments - check if any major payments are due soon, such as rent. If you have a problem, speak to the company, explain your situation and ask for a delay. Before you do, think about what they might be able/prepared to accept.
|Payment Of Invoices - check that you are not automatically paying invoices early. If so, start paying by the deadline.
One way to reduce financial risk is to secure guaranteed funding. We lose out on £ billions, simply because we don’t claim these and tax reliefs may be claimed up to 4 years retrospectively. The largest I ever found was worth £0.25m.
The reason we don’t is there are a lot of them and it can be quite confusing. For Gift Aid alone, there are 6 different things you can claim this for and, unclaimed Gift Aid, loses us £600m a year. This Charity Excellence resource explains all the different types of Gift Aid and how to make sure you claim everything you're entitled to.
Select ‘Tax Reliefs’ within the CEF query system and it’ll identify those you’re missing out on, with links to the resources you’ll need to claim these. Or, the CEF Resource Hub Tax Reliefs page includes a list of all tax reliefs and exemptions, with links to the guidance you need.
A registered charity ourselves, we provide 8 online health checks, the huge information hub, Quality Mark and 3 online directories.