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What to ask in the lead-up to your annual audit (Article)
Hands up everyone who looks forward to your annual audit. Anyone? Never forget that auditors actually want the same thing as the rest of us: evidence of an organization whose finances are being stewarded... (posted November 19, 2018)

If you can read a nutrition label, you can read a financial statement (Article)
Financial statements look intimidating, with their dense columns of numbers. It can be really tempting to gloss it all over and leave the heavy lifting to the treasurer. This is a very bad idea. All... (posted November 5, 2018)

How to make the best of the diversity on your team (Article)
Diversity matters. Diverse teams demonstrate greater creativity [1] and objectivity [2], serve clients better [3], and achieve superior financial performance [4]. However, these benefits only accrue... (posted October 22, 2018)

Finding Data in Excel (Article)
Excel is a great tool for managing data, defined as “facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis.” [1] Data can be numbers or text. Numbers can tell how much or how many, measure... (posted August 16, 2018)

Managing Risk (Article)
We all take risks every day, from taking a shower, to driving to work, to developing a new program for our stakeholders. Risk is unavoidable, but it can be managed. -- What is a Risk? -- A risk is a... (posted June 26, 2018)

Assessing Risk: Is your brain deceiving you? (Article)
We humans are terrible at assessing risk accurately. Basically, this is because the human brain evolved when we lived in caves, hunting and foraging to keep ourselves alive long enough to pass our genes... (posted June 1, 2018)

Adding Data to a Chart in Excel (Article)
Charts are invaluable tools to visualize data, to turn it into information which can help you make strategic decisions. We went through the basics of chart-making in a previous post. Here, I’ll tell... (posted May 22, 2018)

Visualizing Data: Creating Charts in Excel (Article)
It is irresponsible to make decisions without data; however, data on its own is next to useless. You need to turn it into information first. One of the most powerful ways to do that is to create charts.... (posted April 23, 2018)

Critical Path Analysis: How to make sure your project will finish on time (Article)
Got a deadline? What would happen if you were late? Well if, say, you’re organizing an event, then worst case the event could flop. Not good. Okay, so how do you prevent that? An important way is to... (posted February 28, 2018)

Shifting your Charity to a Social Enterprise: The Earned Income Framework (Article)
Donor dollars are drying up and government grants are harder to get, but your charity still serves a need which is not being served any other way. How do you keep going? Shift part of your income stream... (posted February 14, 2018)

Sophisticated Counting in Excel (Article)
A lot of questions you get from your manager, your board, and donors start with “how much” or how many”. How many clients did you serve in 2017? How many were women? How many women were seniors?... (posted February 5, 2018)

8 Google Grants Policy Changes for NPOs' AdWords (Article)
If you’re a Not For Profit using Google Grants to fund your AdWords, there are some major policy changes that took effect January 1st .  The Google Grants program entitles Not for Profit organizations... (posted January 11, 2018)

Project Charter: start off right! (Article)
Congratulations! You just won that big grant! Now you can get started on that big project you’ve always wanted to do. Start by writing your project charter. “A project charter is a statement of... (posted January 4, 2018)

How to Sort Values in Excel (Article)
Excel is an excellent program for organizing data of pretty much any kind, like dates, prices, names, and any other information. In order to take full advantage of this functionality, I recommend that... (posted December 6, 2017)

How to use Mail Merge in MS Word (Article)
How long does it take you to create a bunch of thank-you letters to donors? Or certificates of achievement? Or bid sheets for your silent auction? What do you do when you’ve made up all of the bid... (posted October 25, 2017)

Using Cell References in Excel (Article)
Cell references are extremely important in Excel. They really make the difference between using Excel as an expensive calculator and using it as a spreadsheet. A cell reference uses a cell address in a... (posted September 8, 2017)

What should you delegate? (Article)
According to Stanford University, 72% of chief executives need to improve their delegation skills. [1] Delegation is one of the hardest things for a leader to do, even though it can be a win-win for everyone... (posted August 28, 2017)

An Audit is a good thing! (Article)
Do you dread your annual audit? You’re not unusual. However, your annual audit is actually really valuable. It is the only tool of its kind which ensures your financial procedures are in order, which... (posted August 8, 2017)

What is a Work Breakdown Structure and why do I need one? (Article)
Be honest – how many times have you started in on a project with only a vague idea of where it was going to lead? How did that work for you? Did you end up having all the resources you needed in the... (posted August 3, 2017)

Why use Google Analytics? (Article)
Google Analytics is far and away the best and most-used digital analytics software in the world. [1] What is digital analytics software, you ask? -- What is digital analytics software? -- Digital analytics... (posted July 11, 2017)

What is evaluation, really? (Article)
“Evaluation is an important tool that your organization can use to demonstrate its accountability, improve its performance, increase its abilities for obtaining funds or future planning and fulfill the... (posted June 23, 2017)

Fancy Formatting - Tables in MS Word (Article)
  Most people know that it is easy to create tables in MS Word which will contain data. But fewer people know that MS Word tables are essential tools for sophisticated formatting, and can even be used... (posted June 16, 2017)

The 4 C’s of Teambuilding (Article)
There is a big difference between a group of employees and a team. “A group is a collection of individuals who coordinate their individual efforts. On the other hand, a team is a group of people who... (posted May 25, 2017)

How to choose the right cloud storage (Article)
Cloud storage is simply data storage in a central location which is specialized to store data, and which can be accessed online from any place with an internet connection. It is a really good idea to incorporate... (posted May 25, 2017)

Get Found! Google AdGrants for Non-Profits: $10,000 per MONTH. (Article)
You read that right: ten THOUSAND dollars of AdWords EVERY MONTH. That’s $120,000 of advertising per year, and eligible non-profits can get it for free. You need to get on this one. -- What are Google... (posted May 24, 2017)

The Canadian charity sector loses at least $12 MILLION a year to fraud. Are you sure you’re not exposing yourself to risk? (Article)
Consider this: * 5-7% of gross annual revenue in all non-profits gets lost to fraud [1] * If an organization cannot pay its debt, the members of the Board of Directors can be held personally responsible... (posted May 17, 2017)

Are you an Effective Listener? A Self-Assessment (Article)
Most people think they are much better at listening than they actually are. Attentive or active listening is not difficult to learn; however, it does involve practice and patience, to break bad listening... (posted May 11, 2017)

How to Set up Google Analytics Site Search Tracking (Article)
Google Analytics is a free tool which you can use with any website, to give you insight on how visitors use your site, how they arrived, and how you can keep them coming back. Volunteer Ottawa is pleased... (posted May 5, 2017)

Absolute WHAT? WordPress vocabulary for beginners, Part 1 (Article)
So you’ve got a new website. Huzzah! Now you just need to populate it with professional-looking content. You’ve picked WordPress as your content management system, right? If you’re still not sure... (posted May 1, 2017)

If you Fail to Plan, you Plan to Fail (Article)
A project plan gets everyone on the same page, working for the same goal. Importantly, it sets out what the expected resources are and schedules their use – so that you can get the budget you need, and... (posted May 1, 2017)

Excel Functions to Simplify your Life (Article)
Excel is a very powerful tool which can help us do so many things with the data we’re inundated with, to make sense of it and use the data to make informed decisions. One of the ways Excel does all of... (posted April 12, 2017)

Financial Planning Basics in 9 Steps, Part 2 (Article)
Working in the non-profit sector is rewarding. We all get out of bed every day because we know that our efforts are helping to make our community stronger. We generally get paid less, though, than we would... (posted April 11, 2017)

Financial Planning Basics in 9 Steps, Part 1 (Article)
Working in the non-profit sector is rewarding. We all get out of bed every day because we know that our efforts are helping to make our community stronger. We generally get paid less, though, than we would... (posted April 7, 2017)

Free solutions to organizational challenges (Article)
Running a non-profit organization is a lot like running any business, but generally with a much lower operational budget. You need to communicate with multiple stakeholders, gather and manage data, keep... (posted March 28, 2017)

The Ten Required Communication Skills (Article)
Effective presentation skills are critical to individual success, and to the success of your organization. Your first presentation for your job was probably the one that got you the job in the first place... (posted March 24, 2017)

Inspiring Action While in Conflict (Article)
Today’s post is cross-posted from Edwin Greenfield, Mediation Specialist with the March of Dimes. We are very grateful for his contribution. Please visit the March of Dimes website to learn more about... (posted March 16, 2017)

How to use a pivot table to create vlookup values in Excel (Article)
  Pivot tables are a great tool for drilling down into data to find relationships you may never have realized were there. Another thing pivot tables can do is help you clean up a data set for easier... (posted March 8, 2017)

Managing your financial records - No shoeboxes allowed! (Article)
Do you keep your receipts in a shoebox? Managing your financial records is a bit like a trip to the dentist… few people enjoy it, but it is really important, especially around tax time or if you get... (posted February 17, 2017)

Data is your Friend! (Article)
For many people, Excel can feel like a foreign land. Some people in your office may be able to speak the language, but you’re still labouring over a calculator and making decisions based on gut instinct.... (posted January 30, 2017)

Do your projects run away from you? We can help! (Article)
by Maria Lahiffe Effective project management is a lot harder than it looks. It is also extremely important. Do you want to learn how to deliver 30% of your projects under budget? How about a 21% increase... (posted August 30, 2016)

Turning Data into Information – How to use Excel to make decisions (Article)
by Maria Lahiffe Jim Barksdale, former Netscape CEO, once quipped, “If we have data, let’s look at data. If all we have are opinions, let’s go with mine.” More and more managers and funders... (posted June 8, 2016)