I have been serving as Interim Executive Director for several months after our ED retired here at the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera. It has been an eye-opening experience as I’ve had a very steep learning curve in how to run an orchestra from the top. As a lifelong learner, I’ve welcomed the challenge and have been amazed about how much there is to know about running a non-profit.

As a marketing expert, I can do audience segmentation, analyze ticket trends, handle media-buying, and design promotional materials with the best of them. But at the top, you need accounting and finance experience, and to be honest, I haven’t delved into much finance since my MBA days.

Financial Resources

Luckily, my board chair introduced me recently to a website that has great tools and resources for accounting and finance. NonProfits Assistance Fund has as their motto “Helping NonProfits Thrive.” They offer several programs for nonprofits, such as Loans, Training, and Consulting on financial matters. But what we found most helpful are their free resources.

Their Resource Library offers a Budgeting Checklist, 12 Golden Rules of Nonprofit Finance, Balance Sheet tutorials, Cash Flow Templates,  Financial Self-Assessments, Income Statement Basics, Transforming Nonprofit Business Models, and so much more. Several videos are also included for training. They even include a Glossary of terms if you are brand new to finance (think Deferred Revenue, General Ledger, Liabilities, Net Assets, and the like). It’s like a one-stop shop for all things financial.

While this will be a great asset to me as I continue to learn more about the role of Executive Director, I think this is also a useful resource for your board members and senior staff. It helps if everyone is on the same page when it comes to budgeting, reading and analyzing reports, and understanding cash flow.

Even if you’re a pro at accounting and finance, these resources could provide a refresher on some topics, or give some examples of different ways to pull your Balance Statement. It never hurts to continue to learn!

About Samantha Teter

Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Executive Director Samantha Teter has over 15 years of experience in arts and non-profit marketing, public relations, and sales. She moved to the Chattanooga area in 2012 for the position of Director of Marketing with the CSO, and was promoted to Executive Director in 2016. She previously hailed from Denver, where she was Director of Marketing and Sales for the Colorado Symphony. Prior to that, she was Director of Marketing and PR for the Fort Wayne Philharmonic in Indiana. Other arts and non-profit experience includes Director of Marketing and Auditorium Events for the Scottish Rite Center in Fort Wayne and Marketing Specialist for Indiana Tech.

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