2022 Nonprofit Finance & Sustainability Conference

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All breakout sessions qualify for 1 continuing professional education (CPE) credit.

All sessions, including the keynote address, will be recorded and made available to registrants after each day.

Day 1 - 2022 Nonprofit Finance Conference

Breakout Session 1: 8am - 9am

What Does Sustainability Mean to Your Organization?
Sustainability is a word that is frequently spoken of, but what does it mean to your organization? This session will explore diverse ways to think about how you can build a foundation of sustainability including why a diversified funding base is an essential element. We will challenge participants to open themselves up to changing-up business as usual while still supporting their organization’s mission. Participants will leave with one action item that will support their journey toward sustainability.  

Tammy Filippi, community solutions specialist, Sourcewell and Zach Tabatt, nonprofit development program officer, Initiative Foundation 
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: General

Preparing for Your First Audit
If you have never gone through an audit before – it can be a daunting process to face. Join Propel’s Accounting & Finance team for an interactive session as they walk through three important phases of preparing for an audit so you can feel confident and capable throughout the audit process:   

1. Laying the groundwork for an audit: when do you need one, and what financial processes and procedures should you have in place to help you prepare?
2. Preparing for an imminent audit: You know an audit is coming, what now?
3. Empowering your team during an audit: What roles do you and the auditor play in the process, and what should you expect during and after the audit?

You’ll leave this session empowered with a better understanding of the audit process, understanding of how your financial processes and procedures will help you prepare, and what roles and responsibilities you’ll have during the audit process.

Darrell Beauford, accounting & finance consultant, Sara Nevison, accountant, and John Skillings, accounting & finance consultant, Propel Nonprofits
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Intermediate 

Breakout Session 2: 11am - 12:15pm

Understanding Your Financial Trend: A Resource for Inequitable and Uncertain Times
Looking at your organization’s financial information over time gives you a unique view into your current financial realities, and can help navigate change and guide decision making during challenging times. In this session we will explore how trends can provide useful context to financial leaders, illuminate lingering issues at your organization, including the playing out of systemic social inequities, spark useful questions, and showcase achievements. Looking at past trends can help us determine where we want to head, and what changes we want to make for the future.

We’ll discuss ways to center equity when making decisions about future resource allocation, optimizing your business model, and planning through and for uncertainty. Numbers by themselves can be boring, but in context can weave a dynamic story of your organization’s financial path. 

Sarah Jackson, senior loan officer & financial specialist and Koa Mirai, senior loan officer & financial specialist, Propel Nonprofits
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Change 

Best Practices for Supervisors to Support and Retain Staff
Supervisory support makes a significant impact on employee mental health and well-being during ordinary times, and more so in times of extreme stress and uncertainty. Now is the time for employers to reinvent their organizational practices and culture in ways that center relationships and equity to support staff in bringing their best to work. Improving the quality of supervision is essential during this time of heavy under-staffing, staggered schedules, continuing remote work, and uncertainties around new Covid variants. This session will highlight core supervisory practices for leading during this cultural pivot and beyond that encourage partnership between supervisors and their direct reports and reflect the hopes, goals, and ideas of staff in new service and program models that help your organization adapt to the new realities all nonprofits are experiencing.

Rebecca (Becky) Schueller, founder, Rebecca Schueller Training & Consulting and Shannon Zila, director of operations, American Indian Cancer Foundation
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: General 

Crisis Management within Fiscal Sponsorship
Fiscal sponsorship is an important tool to support and incubate new and emerging projects within a movement. As a fiscal sponsor, have you considered what happens in a crisis? Is your Model A program ready to successfully navigate your organization and your projects through crises big and small, all while leaning into your values? After George Floyd was murdered in the summer of 2020, a national outpouring of support for Minneapolis brought $20 million to a small, POC-led fiscally sponsored project working in the community, increasing their net assets by 25 times in less than two months. This unexpected and rapid growth led to new risks and exposure for both the project and the fiscal sponsor.   Learn how to prepare your Model A fiscal sponsorship infrastructure for potential crises, while continuing to support your projects, your community, and the movement through people-centered values.

Marcie Moravec, director of finance and operations, TakeAction Minnesota and Miski Noor, co-executive director, Black Visions
Knowledge level: Intermediate  |  Track: Advanced 

Breakout Session 3: 1pm - 2:15pm

Strategic Use of Capital After Receiving a Large Donation
It is every nonprofit’s dream: receiving a multi-million-dollar, unsolicited, unrestricted donation. Booking that donation to your balance sheet opens previously envisioned and new opportunities. But with such a donation comes the need to think of how to use the funds strategically and build the infrastructure to manage it. How long can this donation support your operations and at what level? Can you invest some of your new net assets in creating a new revenue stream, adding staff, or innovating? Hear Esperanza United’s recent journey and the support Propel Nonprofits provided in creating a planning process, financial forecasting tool, and investment committee to inform and guide the long-term strategic use of a recent large donation.

Mario Hernandez, strategic services director, Propel Nonprofits and Jenny Lee, chief financial officer, Esperanza United
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Intermediate 

How Training Addresses Skilled Worker Shortage in Nonprofits
In the "Great Resignation” and COVID-19 era, nonprofits are confronted with profound recruitment and retention challenges that require a rethinking of the human resources approaches, particularly around training and development. The rapid changes in the workforce and environments require that nonprofits make a strategic focus on state-of-the-art tools, practices, and platforms. Organizations that invest in employees’ growth and career are more likely to not only promote employee learning, practice, and flexibility, but also retain their skilled employees with satisfaction and commitment. The presenters will provide a practical, value-based framework that captures the big picture of training and development in these times of transition, while also offering useful practices (e.g., training new worker pools, cross-training, onboarding, leadership and management training, comprehensive career development plan). HR has opportunities to make training and development a powerful function that can address emerging challenges facing skilled worker shortage in nonprofits.

John Bricout, professor, School of Social Work and Sehoon Kim, assistant professor, Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development; University of Minnesota
Knowledge level: Intermediate  |  Track: General 

Pros and Cons of Outsourced Finance
With the scarcity of accountants and finance people, you or your organization may be considering outsourcing all or part of your accounting and financial processes. This session will talk about selecting the right company to hire and more importantly how to negotiate the contract to get the work you need done at the best price. Participants will leave with a clear understanding of both the pros and cons of outsourcing various finance roles.

Steve Anseth, partner, Abdo and Vanan Murugesan, chief transformation officer, Pillsbury United Communities
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Change 

Breakout Session 4: 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Transforming Your Organization – Cloud Based Solutions
Tired of chasing down check signers? If you answered yes, this session is for you! Join team members from CliftonLarsonAllen (CLA), a nonprofit C.F.O., and a business association controller for a panel discussion around the journey of shifting an organization to cloud based solutions to streamline accounting processes and create more time in the workday. Learn from their experiences and come with your own questions and concerns. Participants will leave this session with real life ideas on how to automate finance functions and potential software solutions for assisting in the automation of their organization.

Karla Dross, director of finance, Hunger Solutions; Heidi Grinde, nonprofit principal, CLA; Scott Rahja, controller, Meet Minneapolis; and Keven Truhler, principal CLA
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Change 

Workplace Wellbeing: Elements of a Healthy Work Culture
What are the elements of a healthy workplace culture? How can nonprofit organizations create an environment where employees feel supported and thrive? These questions are most relevant now than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to prolonged stress on individuals and has forced organizations to repeatedly react and adapt to a changing and unpredictable environment, impacting workplace culture in unforeseen ways. It's time for organizations to assess the pandemic's impact and take steps to build a healthy workplace culture for the future.

This session will introduce a holistic description of workplace mental well being, describe elements of a healthy workplace culture, and offer strategies to identify and address workplace norms, policies, and practices that are creating unnecessary stress, contributing to employee burnout, and encouraging assimilation to dominant (white, male) culture. 

Melanie Ferris, founder, Melanie Ferris Consulting and Patti Tototzintle, president and CEO, Esperanza United
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Change 

Investing Cash Reserves
The session will provide guidance on how to invest cash reserves based on a nonprofit’s objectives. Today’s market environment has been especially unique with low interest rates as well as all-time high equity markets making it challenging to invest short-term and long-term funds. In this session we will go through case studies of nonprofit organizations describing how their cash reserves were invested based on their objectives in today's current environment. 

Heidi Hukriede, chief operating officer, portfolio manager and Patrick Kincade, relationship manager, Stonebridge Capital Advisors
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Advanced 

Day 2 - 2022 Nonprofit Finance Conference

Breakout Session 5: 8am - 9am

Surprise Single Audits 
Many nonprofits in 2020 and 2021 received significantly more federal funding than they have in the past. This has led to many first-time and unexpected single audits for which organizations were unprepared. In this session we will discuss some tips on how a nonprofit can prepare for surprise single audits from the perspective of an auditor and a nonprofit director of finance. Participants will gain ideas for how to make the process go smoothly laying the groundwork for a strong relationship between a nonprofit and their auditor.

Elizabeth Barchenger, director, Mahoney CPA and Advisors and Peter S. Olsen, director of finance and administration, Interfaith Action of Greater St. Paul
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: General 

The Evolution of Total Rewards - A Generational Approach
A massive generational shift in the workforce is underway. Specifically, it is projected that by 2025 75% of our workforce will be comprised of Millennials and Gen Z. With substantial demographic shifts employee expectations change. Values shift. Priorities are re-ordered. Innovation and adaptation are necessary to compete for talent and for operational continuity. Five generations side-by-side in our workforce creates a mix of diverse views, values, wants, needs, and learning styles. Understanding our multi-generational workforce is key in developing strategies to attract, engage, motivate, and retain the talent to support organizational wellbeing. Total Rewards are your organization’s value proposition for employees—a mix of pay, benefit choices, career development, culture, and rewards and recognition that reflect life and career stages and intrinsic values and compel employees to provide your organization with their time, knowledge, energy, and loyalty.

Heather Eastman, senior consultant and Yvonne Gardner, managing director, Gallagher
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Change 

Breakout Session 6: 11am - 12:15pm

Investing ARPA Funds Through Government-Nonprofit Partnerships
The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding creates a once-in-a-generation opportunity for governments to invest in the work of charitable nonprofits to provide pandemic relief and recovery, advance equity, and overcome longstanding challenges in communities. While the law expressly makes nonprofits eligible for these funds, it takes advocacy, collaboration, and tenacity to ensure local and state policymakers see the value of partnering with and through charitable nonprofits. This session will provide the background and rules of the road on ARPA funding, and share experiences of nonprofits from around the country in accessing and using ARPA dollars, paying particular attention to the financial and HR impacts of these relief funds.  

Jessica Mendieta, policy associate and David Thompson, vice president of public policy, National Council of Nonprofits
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Change 

Hiring Better: Happier Recruitment and Hiring Practices for All
For hiring teams, it is a candidate’s market right now. We will focus on sharing our experiences as both candidates and hiring managers as we highlight lessons learned to help the sector build more dignified, respectful, and inclusive hiring practices, with a focus on mid-to-senior level positions. We will share our do’s and don’ts directly from our job search and hiring journeys, giving concrete suggestions for hiring teams that will: 1) Center the candidate experience; 2) Position candidates to perform well during interviews; and 3) Result in a meaningful and mutually enthusiastic hire while being respectful, communicative, and timely with remaining candidate pool. 

Sarah Clyne, executive director, EquaSpace and Amanda Kaler, development director, Springboard for the Arts
Knowledge level: Intermediate  |  Track: General 

Breakout Session 7: 1pm - 2:15pm

Collective Leadership for Nonprofit Finance – An Equity Perspective 

How financial decisions are made in an organization is an equity issue. Representation matters. Process matters. Decisions about which resources are deployed and for what purposes all matter. Born out of years of wrestling with issues of equity and inclusion in organizations, Diverge Finance Cooperative is embodying and structuring financial leadership for nonprofits in a new way. Our cooperative business structure, collective decision-making approach, and collegial work arrangements address many of the structural barriers that stand in the way of advancing and supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color in financial leadership roles. Come prepared for a lively discussion and bring a willingness to have your old ideas about leadership, personnel structures, and work culture challenged.  

Shétu Rose, co-CEO and co-founder, Luciano Patiño, co-CEO and co-founder, and Curt Klotz, chief learning officer and co-founder, Diverge Finance Cooperative
Knowledge level: Intermediate  |  Track: Change

Making the Budget Process (more) Participatory
Have you ever wondered how to apply justice and equity values in your work as a nonprofit financial leader? Perhaps you’ve taken some steps and are looking for ways to deepen this work. While there are many different strategies, employing a participatory process for organizational budget development offers a powerful way to include diverse voices, increase transparency, share power, and produce a budget that better serves the needs of the whole organization. In this session, Rebecca will share stories and learnings from previous adventures in participatory budgeting, as well as examples and guidance for introducing (more) participation in your organization’s annual budget process.

Rebecca Luxenberg, principal, RLuxy Consulting, LLC
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Intermediate 

Breakout Session 8: 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Economic Outlook: Current Hot Topics and Markets Update
Come join a lively discussion that will equip you to understand and discuss the current economic situation in the U.S. and how it may affect your organization’s financial outlook and strategy. Through a mix of presentation, data, and discussion we will cover both current hot topics like the COVID-19 economic fallout, federal reserve outlook, and interest rates, and will also share CliftonLarsonAllen’s viewpoint on the capital markets. Bring your balance sheet and let’s talk about your own outlook, investment, and reserve strategies and policies as your organization’s recovery takes shape.   

Ben Aase, principal and Peter Holupchinski, senior wealth advisor, CliftonLarsonAllen LLP
Knowledge level: Intermediate  |  Track: General 

Playing Your Hand: Managing Restricted and Complex Gifts and Funds
Nonprofits continue to battle the effects of COVID-19 on the economy and societal needs. During these times, nonprofits should become conversant with how management and deployment of their donors’ gifts may maximize the benefits of those gifts for the economic health and mission of the organization. Our panel of nonprofit and charitable giving lawyers will cover various strategies that nonprofits should consider in the management and acquisition of gifts. We will discuss endowment spending guidelines and how they may (and may not) be adapted to address the financial stresses of the organization. We will cover how restricted gifts may be modified to address the current needs of the organization. And we will discuss how gifts of nontraditional assets and planned gifts may be cultivated to bolster the organization’s current and future financial health to meet its mission.

Wade Hauser, associate and Gregory Larson, partner, Lathrop GPM LLP; Sara Gross Methner, general counsel, University of St. Thomas; Sheryl Morrison, partner, Lathrop GPM LLP; and  Alene G. Sussman, executive director, Minnesota Jewish Community Foundation
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: General 

Finding Balance for the Working Caregiver
Learn more about the changing demographics in our state and the prevalence of employees who are caregiving for family of all types and ages. From parents with young children to those who provide support for older adults – caregivers can be found across the age spectrum. Have you been hearing about the “sandwich generation” but aren’t sure what it means? What additional pressures on caregivers have resulted from the pandemic? Learn what caregiving is and what it looks like. What challenges are your caregiving employees facing? How do you know what kind of benefits your caregiving employees are looking for? What is your role in helping your employees achieve balance in their lives? Learn about tools, policies, and strategies that can help you make your workplace culture more caregiver friendly and your employees feel supported.

Elena Foshay, director, Workforce Development, City of Duluth; Beth Pellin Kaiser, care consultant/caregiver specialist and Brenda Shafer-Pellinen, Eldercare Development Partnership program coordinator, Arrowhead Area Agency on Aging, ARDC
Knowledge level: General  |  Track: Change

All sessions, including the keynote address, will be recorded and made available to registrants after each day.

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