Calculator, pen, $100 bills scattered across a desk

A Guide to Financial Management for Organizations

ACTIVE Network
February 11, 2021

Financial management is essential for any successful organization. But if you’re someone within your organization taking this responsibility on for the first time, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Here's the good news: you don’t have to have a master’s degree in finance or administration to be a money management pro! With the right approach, you’ll have no trouble keeping your organization's finances on track and making great calls with your organization's budget. 

It all starts with understanding the core responsibilities for the financial management  – and building a smart playbook of recreation management solutions to tackle those tasks as they come:

Financial Planning & Budgeting

Good financial planning will help your organization manage funds, prioritize program efforts, and help ensure you have smart solutions to resolve any budget problems that pop up throughout the year . Here are some of the core aspects of financial planning for organizations, with tips to help you excel in these tasks:

Develop Monthly Goals

It’s easy to get lost with all the different assets and expenses of parks and recreation. So make your financial planning a bit simpler by building monthly budgeting goals. Write down all the financial objectives you want to meet in a given month, then detail what steps you’ll take to meet them. 

For example, one priority you may have is purchasing new equipment for your facilities – such as sports equipment, workout equipment and necessary items . If your budget won’t allow for all of these expenses at once, break them out across multiple months and write down which suppliers you’ll work with to secure them. With this system, you can accomplish many important goals over smaller, shorter increments.=

Examine & Prioritize Expenses

Your organization will need many assets throughout the season, whether that’s new equipment, first aid materials, or coverage for unexpected expenses. As your organization's financial leader, it’s important that you assess the impact each of these purchases will have, both on your organization's ability to succeed and your overall budget. 

This prioritization will help you understand exactly what expenses are essential, important, or unneeded – which you can use to guide your financial decision-making over time. 

Balance Your Expenses

At its core, smart financial planning is all about covering the difference. If you decide to spend money on one aspect of your organization, you’ll want to make up for that expense somewhere else. Do your research to understand how much money will come out of your budget when making an expense. If those costs outweigh the money you have coming in, get creative and plan for a new money-making activity to balance the cost back out. 

Thankfully, parks and recreation organizations have access to many different types of funding options, including fundraising events, sponsorships, and even donations from parents and your local community.

Payment Collection & Communication

Payment collection is one of the hardest and most time-consuming parts of financial management for organizations, especially with parents paying in loose dollar bills or bounced checks. At its worst, this process will have you scrambling to organize piles of cash and making constant trips to the bank to secure funds for player membership fees, child care registration and class registration.

Good communication is the first and best defense against payment collection issues. You need to set clear, reasonable rules for how and when members should submit payments, send reminders on deadlines via email or other communication, and inform community members when payments are outstanding. Here are a few tips to make this process much easier, while providing greater financial flexibility for members of your organization: 

  • Build email templates to inform families about payments and deadlines
  • Offer payment plan options so members can pay fees over time
  • Invest in the best recreation management software for online payment processing 
  • Offer coupon codes and early bird discounts to incentivize more member sign-ups

These steps will help you simplify the communication tied to payment collection and increase revenue, while allowing members to pay the way they want based on need and preference. Just be sure to build these considerations into your financial planning, too. 

Make Financial Management Simple with ACTIVE

At ACTIVE Network, we help organizations across the country save time, streamline finances, and maximize program revenue with unique technology solutions. For example, our recreation management software enables online payment processing, effortless email communications, and even finance tracking and reporting – all on one convenient platform. This tool is specifically built to help you make managing your organization easy, so you can avoid financial headaches and get back to the fun side of helping your community.

Connect with ACTIVE today for more information on our comprehensive recreation management solutions – or advice on how to find the best recreation management software for your unique needs. 

Set yourself up for success.

See how ACTIVE can help your organization grow.
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