An inside look at nonprofit financial challenges with Larry Dyer
By Sidni Shorter In Interviews Posted January 22, 2013 0 Comments
An inside look at nonprofit financial challenges with Larry Dyer

by: Denise McMahan, CausePlanet

“One of the most common scenarios I observe in nonprofit financial management is the charity’s leaders don’t make any changes when they’re losing money,” says Larry Dyer, Director of Finance at Execute Now!. “The most noticeable example of this was post-Katrina. Many nonprofits weren’t adjusting their projections and expenses in spite of a staggering economy,” Larry reports. Dyer has been a central part of Execute Now!’s staff for the last two years and began his career in financial management more than 30 years ago. Since he works with numerous nonprofits’ and businesses’ financials, we took time out this week to gather his perspective on frequent challenges in this arena.

Strategize and recalibrate

“I am a numbers person. I love digging into figures and working with an organization to help them reach a sustainable place,” says Dyer. When Larry meets with nonprofit clients, he looks for opportunities to correct their financial paths and get them on the road to recovery. “I create strategies for getting clients out from under their current financial strain. Each month, we look at reports we’ve created together so we can monitor and adjust those strategies,” explains Larry. Dyer says he and Execute Now! CEO Erica Crenshaw typically meet with the finance committee and/or board of directors each month to keep the leadership in sync with their progress.

What are the opportunity costs?

Another typical challenge Dyer sees in the sector is a mindset so focused on revenue that it overlooks related expenses. Larry reports, “Sometimes what gets our nonprofit clients to a point of financial stress is they look at revenue opportunities without considering what those revenue opportunities cost.” While a big grant or large-scale event might seem like a compelling solution, nonprofits forget to factor the immense amount of time and resources each of those strategies might require. Larry claims, “Nonprofit executives typically look at revenues, which is understandable, but they don’t look at the costs associated with the money that’s coming in.”

Helping clients look ahead

Besides providing financial strategies and implementing good reporting and monitoring practices, Dyer enjoys forecasting for his clients. “Most nonprofits can produce the numbers within their organization but it stops there. I like taking those figures and helping them forecast different scenarios based on their revenue potential,” offers Larry.

When Larry’s not balancing your budget, creating reports, or dreaming up financial strategies, he’s training for his next marathon. “People think I’m nuts but I’m training for my seventh marathon with my brother-in-law,” laughs Dyer. If you need his financial assistance on January 13, you’ll have to wait. He’ll be logging 26.2 miles that day.

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