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A Guide for the New Financial Year

Updated: Jul 7


As the new financial year begins, small non-profits must plan ahead to ensure their programs run smoothly and remain sustainable. Effective planning involves drafting a basic budget, securing value-aligned partnerships, reaching out to decision-makers, and effectively communicating your work. This guide provides a comprehensive approach to help small non-profits navigate the financial year successfully.

Understanding the Importance of Financial Planning

Financial planning is critical for the stability and growth of any non-profit organisation. It allows you to allocate resources efficiently, anticipate potential challenges, and set measurable goals. With a solid financial plan, you can make informed decisions that support your mission and maximize your impact.

Drafting a Basic Budget

Reviewing Last Year’s Financials

Before you draft a new budget, it's essential to review your income and expenses from the previous year. This review will help you understand where your money came from and how it was spent. Analysing last year's financials provides a baseline for your new budget and highlights areas for improvement.

Setting Goals for the New Year

Decide what you want to achieve in the new financial year. Whether it’s starting a new program, expanding an existing one, or improving operational efficiency, having clear goals will guide your budgeting process. Define specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) objectives to ensure your goals are realistic and attainable.

Estimating Income Sources

Predicting your income sources is a crucial step in budgeting. Consider various revenue streams, including donations, grants, and fundraising events. Be conservative in your estimates to avoid overestimating your income, which can lead to financial shortfalls.

Identifying and Listing Expenses

List all expected expenses for the year, including program supplies, office costs, staff salaries, and other operational costs. Categorize these expenses into fixed and variable costs to manage your budget more effectively. Fixed costs remain constant regardless of your activities, while variable costs fluctuate based on your programs and events.

Creating a Cushion for Unexpected Costs

Setting aside funds for unexpected expenses is vital for financial stability. This contingency fund can help you handle emergencies or unforeseen costs without disrupting your planned activities. Aim to reserve at least 5-10% of your total budget for this purpose.

Regularly Reviewing and Adjusting Your Budget

Your budget should be a living document that you review and adjust regularly. Monitor your financial performance monthly or quarterly to ensure you stay on track. Adjust your budget as needed to reflect changes in income or expenses, and to respond to new opportunities or challenges.

Securing Value-Aligned Partnerships

Identifying Potential Partners

Partnerships can provide your non-profit with additional resources, support, and exposure. Look for organisations, businesses, and individuals that share your mission and values. Potential partners might include local businesses, community groups, and other non-profits. Before reaching out, research potential partners to understand their work and how it aligns with your mission. This research will help you craft a more personalised and compelling proposal for collaboration.

Initiating Contact

Reach out to potential partners with a friendly email or phone call. Introduce your non-profit, explain why you’re reaching out, and suggest a meeting to discuss potential collaboration. Be clear and concise in your communication to respect their time and interest. When discussing a partnership, emphasise the mutual benefits. Explain how both parties can achieve their goals more effectively by working together. Highlight specific ways your non-profit can add value to their work and vice versa.

Clearly outline what you’re looking for in a partnership and what you can offer in return. This clarity helps manage expectations and ensures both parties understand their roles and responsibilities.

Building Genuine Relationships

Focus on building genuine relationships with your partners. Attend their events, invite them to yours, and stay in regular contact. Strong relationships are the foundation of successful partnerships and can lead to long-term collaboration. Maintain regular contact with your partners to keep the relationship strong. Update them on your progress, invite them to participate in your activities, and seek their input on important decisions. Regular communication helps build trust and keeps the partnership dynamic.

Connecting with Decision-Makers

Identifying Key Decision-Makers

Connecting with decision-makers can open doors for funding, support, and collaboration. Identify key individuals within organizations you want to connect with, such as leaders in local government, business owners, or heads of other non-profits.

Crafting a Compelling Message

Prepare a brief and compelling message about your non-profit and why you’re reaching out. Highlight the impact of your work and how they can be involved. Your message should be clear, concise, and tailored to the interests of the decision-maker. Different people prefer different methods of communication. Reach out through email, phone calls, social media, or even in person at events. Choose the method that best suits the decision-maker’s preferences.

Requesting Meetings

Ask for a short meeting to discuss your non-profit and potential ways to collaborate. Be respectful of their time and keep the meeting focused and concise. Prepare a clear agenda to ensure you cover all important points. If you don’t get a response right away, follow up with a friendly reminder. Show your dedication while remaining polite and respectful. Persistence can pay off, but it’s important to maintain a professional and courteous approach.

Demonstrating Passion and Authenticity

Show your passion for your cause and be authentic in your communication. Genuine enthusiasm can be contagious and help build a connection with the decision-maker. Listen actively to their interests and concerns, and provide clear information to make it easy for them to understand how they can help.

Effectively Communicating Your Work

Crafting a Compelling Narrative

Learning to talk about your work is essential for building support and spreading awareness of your mission. Craft a compelling narrative that highlights your successes and the impact of your programs. Use data and personal stories to illustrate the difference you’re making. Use clear and simple language to describe your work. Avoid jargon and technical terms that might confuse your audience. Aim to make your message accessible to everyone, regardless of their familiarity with your field.

Incorporating Stories and Testimonials

Incorporate stories and testimonials from people who have benefited from your work. Personal stories can be powerful tools for engaging your audience and showcasing the real-world impact of your programs.

Practicing Your Pitch

Practice your pitch so you can confidently talk about your non-profit in various settings, from casual conversations to formal presentations. Rehearse with colleagues or friends to refine your message and delivery.


By following these steps, your non-profit can effectively plan for the new financial year, secure valuable partnerships, connect with decision-makers, and communicate your work effectively. Start planning now to set the stage for a successful and impactful year ahead.

Stay in touch

We provide free resources to guide your planning. Please contact us for more information or follow our WhatsApp channel for non-profit and community group leaders to get timely updates on grants, funding opportunities, and tips.


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