3 Nonprofit Organizational Charts and How to Make Them
As a nonprofit professional, part of your job involves tracking and communicating important information to outside bodies like the government, key stakeholders and potential donors. It's essential that your organization has a good way to communicate data, keep track of finances and structure information. Though it's certainly possible to communicate some of this information in writing, using nonprofit organizational charts can help keep you organized and make a greater impact on your audience.
If your organization is not already using charts, it should be. There are charts for practically every purpose, and free tools can help make them affordable for any organization. In particular, here are three important charts your nonprofit should be using.
1. Organizational Structure Charts
Nonprofits use organizational structure charts to visually communicate the structure of their organizations. These charts show who reports to who and helps clarify complicated organizational structures both internally and externally.
Charts can be used to explain the organization to potential donors, make points of contact clear to volunteers and employees, and help keep everyone in your organization accountable.
How to Make This: Making an organizational structure chart is simple. First, collect information on all departments and personnel in your organization. Then, sketch out a draft of the chart on a piece of paper. Keep trying different structures until you find one that makes sense for your organization. In general, the highest point of power—the board of directors, in the example above—should be at the top of the chart. If you need inspiration, you can find plenty of organizational structure templates online.
2. Nonprofit Chart of Accounts
A chart of accounts is essentially an ongoing record of all your organization's finances. They are used in reporting to the IRS and sometimes within organizations to keep track of funds. Even though your nonprofit is likely tax-exempt, you still need to keep an accurate and detailed chart of accounts.
A chart of accounts keeps track of five main accounts:
- Assets — what your organization owns
- Liabilities — what your organization owes others
- Equity — your organization's overall worth, or assets minus liabilities
- Income — the money your organization earns
- Expenses — everything your organization spends money on
Nonprofits should take special care to differentiate different funds from one another. This means you need to track funds donated or allocated for certain purposes as individual portions of your overall equity.
How to Make This: Because having a chart of accounts is so essential, there are a lot of options available for making them. If you're good with Excel, you can certainly keep your chart of accounts that way. However, using software like QuickBooks or Aplos Accounting could save you some time and effort, since they have options specifically designed for nonprofits.
3. Gift Range Charts
Gift range charts can be useful for small fundraising campaigns as well as large ones. Nonprofits use these charts to track and estimate how many donations of certain sizes they need to meet their goals. If you're going to be launching a fundraising campaign anytime soon, it's a good idea to set up a gift range chart.
When you know your overall fundraising goal, break out your calculator and consult your list of prospective donors. Once you've made your chart and started collecting gifts, don't hesitate to make adjustments as you miss or exceed certain fundraising goals.
How to Make This: In order to make a gift range chart, you first need to know how much money you must raise. When you have that number, break it up into several donation tiers and calculate how many of each donation you'll need to meet your goal. In general, the higher the donation, the fewer prospective donors you'll have. Because creating a gift range chart can be complicated, there are free calculators to give you estimates. However, for a more accurate chart, you'll need to take your organization's specific abilities into consideration.
In addition to these charts, things like infographics, pie charts and bar graphs can all help you effectively convey information to your audience. Though making quality visuals takes time and thought, the impact they can have on your organization will be well worth it.