Both nonprofit finance and fundraising professionals cite differing priorities, variances in reporting metrics, and lack of communication/information sharing as the biggest challenges they face when working together, according to findings from our latest research, Nonprofit Finance and Fundraising Collaboration Study.”  

Nonprofit finance professionals also call out differing personalities and ad hoc reporting requests/interruptions as top challenges when working with the development group. On the reverse side, fundraising professionals see challenges stemming from the use of different terminology, and their finance counterparts not understanding fundraising expenses. 

Fundraisers overwhelmingly want finance to better understand the importance of donor relationships, the need for spending money to build and maintain those relationships, and how critical donor stewardship is. While finance wants fundraising to understand how complex and essential their job is to the health of the organization, the importance of accurate and timely information, and that at the end of the day they’re here to help. Both groups wish the other knew more about the basics of accounting and fundraising. 

Pheeeew. With all of this back-and-forth, you’d think nonprofit finance professionals are from Venus and fundraisers are from Mars! The best-selling self-help book by a similar name contends that couples must acknowledge and accept their differences before they can develop happier relationships. The same can be said for our work relationships.  

Building a shared terminology and metrics cheat sheet can be a solid first step to better understanding each profession’s terminology, and even more importantly, appreciating each profession’s complexity and importance to the overall mission of your nonprofit. 

To help you get started, our Abila fund accounting and fundraising subject matter experts put their heads together and came up with Finance and Fundraising Terms Cheat Sheets. Use these resources to help build a more collaborative nonprofit, or as a springboard for developing your own internal terms and metrics document.