The Business of Nonprofits: Q&A with Monica Thomas-Bonnick
1 November 2022
Running a nonprofit comes with its own set of challenges, and managing finances can be one of the biggest. We asked Webster Five’s Monica Thomas-Bonnick, VP Business Lending Officer, about her extensive experience in working with nonprofits and some best practices she’s learned.
Q: What is your experience in working with nonprofits?
A: I have worked with nonprofits for about half of my banking career, 16 years. I have been a volunteer in various nonprofits for all my adult life. Finally, I worked in a nonprofit prior to changing careers to commercial lending.
Q: How do you work with nonprofits in creating their financial services plan?
A: I first get to know their mission, paid and volunteer leadership and the specific need or needs that an organization seeks to address– new office building, working capital, equipment purchases, performing neglected maintenance and repairs.
Once the need is identified, we then discuss viable solutions and develop a tangible plan on how to achieve them.
Q: Are there some best practices in financing and business management for nonprofits?
A: Build a relationship with an individual that has an interest in what you do, that wants to be a partner with the organization for the long term. That way they understand your mission and have a relationship with staff and volunteer leadership, which will enable them to stand with you in both the good and lean times.
Manage the organization like a for profit entity. Establish a prudent plan and discipline to build reserves to support the organization during leaner times. Always maintain a focus towards sustainability of the organization.
Q: What are some of the most common questions you see nonprofits asking when running their business?
A: Given that nonprofits are now focusing on development, they have questions around how to raise money in the community to augment their grant and program funds.
Q: What should nonprofits look for in a bank/loan service/etc. when considering their services?
A: Nonprofits should be looking for a bank that understands their mission. A bank that understands nonprofit businesses and their financials and governance.
Keep an eye out for our next nonprofit Q&A with John Mannila, SVP Business Lending Officer/Team Leader, and learn more about our dedicated nonprofit team here.
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