Focus on the Core Business

As sources of capital, funders can unintentionally contribute to the systematic under-capitalization of the sector–encouraging the growth of programs without providing for a commensurate growth in capacity. Clara Miller offers advice for reversing this trend.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Understanding Capital Structure

Could a $1 million challenge grant be a bad idea? If your organization isn’t staffed to raise the match, or if the grant comes with too many restrictions, it could do more harm than good. Understanding your capital structure is key to making wise decisions about any major change to your balance sheet. Clara Miller explains the elements of capital structure and why this often-overlooked element of financial planning deserves greater attention.

Welcome | Spring 2003

Legendary humorist Rube Goldberg rates an individual entry in Webster’s New World Collegiate Dictionary (4th Edition): “U.S. cartoonist of comically involved contrivances; designating any very complicated invention, machine, scheme, etc., laboriously contrived to perform a seemingly simple operation.”
One of our favorite Goldberg “inventions,” a Modest Mosquito-bite Scratcher, is a device employing springs, levers, an inebriated bluebird, and a cannon to soothe that annoying itch. There are times when developing a nonprofit organization’s budget is a little like creating a Rube Goldberg construct–picture a contraption able to juggle flaming torches, carving knives and bowling balls . . . 
We hear a lot about nonprofits struggling to decide whether to fold or to carry on despite near-catastrophic funding situations. The thing about budget cuts is that they tend not to respect core programs and mission priorities.