September is International Square Dancing Month, Better Breakfast Month, Fall Hat Month, and National Blueberry Popsicle Month.

On a more serious note, in the nonprofit sector, September also signals the start of budget planning for the upcoming fiscal year.

And, because a nonprofit’s sustainability can only be achieved with a well-prepared and continually monitored budget, our subject matter experts have written, “Building a Better Budget: The Nonprofit Budget Roadmap” along with a handy-dandy, month-by-month budget calendar.

These resources will help nonprofit finance professionals clearly identify and document a complete budget process, and keep everyone in the organization involved and committed through budget planning, approval, implementation, and monitoring.

Here’s a look at what tasks you should be ticking off your budget to-do list in September:

Set Budget Deadlines and Review Schedule

Set deadlines and determine committee review schedule. Include ample time for further review and revisions to budget drafts before final approval.

Set Goals

Determine organizational goals, program goals, and desired financial outcomes. Outline core activities the organization will take on over the next year, as well as assumptions on how they’ll be financed. 

Determine Expenses, Project Income, Forecast Cash Flow

Determine costs required to reach your goals, estimate expenses associated with activities (including fixed costs, variable costs, incremental costs, etc.), and estimate resources needed to meet expected goals.

In addition, now is the time to identify expected and anticipated income from funding sources, noting what funds may be restricted for particular purposes. Summarize and understand when funds may be received throughout the year, especially for fundraising-driven anticipated income. Determine initial needs for more income than might be originally projected.

Draft Initial Budget

Construct initial budget and assumption details, based on research and information gathered.

Download “Building a Better Budget” for more on budget development; best practices; the who’s who in budget planning; and tips on assessing, revising, and monitoring your budget. For an at-a-glance to-do list, download the Budget Calendar.