By: Lukah Callanan
At Fusion Partnerships, one of our most important – if lesser known – ambitions is capacity building. Whereas many fiscal sponsors operate semi-independently from their sponsored programs, we here at Fusion want our partners to have the knowledge and the skills to take part in all aspects of our – and their – decision making. To that end, we work closely with our partners to help them grow expertise in all areas of both non-profit and social justice organizing.
As the accounting assistant at Fusion, I play my part by offering semi-annual workshops to deepen our partners’ financial understanding. In these workshops, partners are taught accounting basics and learn the initial steps toward developing a robust and informative budget.
The first of these workshops is called “Learning the Books,” in which we discuss the financial documents that our partners receive on a monthly basis. Partners learn how to read a Balance Sheet, a Profit and Loss, and a Transaction Detail report pulled directly from QuickBooks. By mastering these statements our partners can quickly gauge their performance, and have the tools to make organizational and financial decisions. Understanding these documents also strengthens our partners’ financial literacy so that our Fusion program coordinators and our sponsored programs can grow together, rather than following a top-down approach.
The second workshop defines our “Budget Accounts.” Here, our partners learn the ins and outs of the income and expense accounts that are the building blocks of a budget. Among other things, partners learn the difference between contract service expenses, honorariums, and stipends; they determine how to track meeting expenses versus event expenses; and learn to differentiate direct service costs from operating expenses. By understanding just what each account should entail, partners can begin assembling a budget that will both guide their daily operations and inspire funders to support their work.
At Fusion, our goal is cooperative decision-making between our program coordinators and our partners. We believe that programs who are well-versed in all aspects of non-profit work – from internal administration to direct service – will be stronger and more effective at achieving their goals. Thus, our fiscal sponsorship model seeks to involve our partners in all aspects of their program management. We want each of our partners to have a deep understanding of the financial and administrative work that we do for them so that we can make effective, strong decisions together. These workshops are a vital part of the work we do to help our partners grow their expertise and their skills.
Register here! (eventbrite link)