Nonprofit CFO Job Description

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What is a Nonprofit CFO?

A Nonprofit CFO (Chief Financial Officer) is a senior executive responsible for overseeing the financial operations and strategies of a nonprofit organization. They play a crucial role in managing the organization's financial resources, budgeting, financial reporting, risk management, and ensuring compliance with relevant regulations.

Nonprofit CFOs typically work in the nonprofit sector, which includes a wide range of industries. These industries can include but are not limited to:

  1. Education and Research: Nonprofit CFOs in this sector may work for universities, colleges, research institutes, or educational foundations.

  2. Health and Social Services: Nonprofit CFOs in this industry may be found in hospitals, clinics, healthcare foundations, social service organizations, and health-related research institutions.

  3. Arts and Culture: CFOs in this sector may work for museums, art galleries, theaters, musical organizations, or cultural foundations.

  4. Environmental and Conservation: Nonprofit CFOs in this area may be employed by environmental protection, conservation, or wildlife organizations.

  5. International Development and Humanitarian Aid: CFOs in this sector may work for nonprofits focused on international aid, disaster relief, development work, or poverty alleviation.

  6. Advocacy and Civil Rights: Nonprofit CFOs in this realm can be found in organizations focused on promoting and protecting civil rights, social justice, or advocacy efforts.

  7. Charitable Foundations: CFOs may work for nonprofit foundations that provide grants and support various causes and initiatives.

It is important to note that these are just a few examples, and nonprofit CFOs can be found in various other industries within the nonprofit sector. The specific industry and organization a nonprofit CFO works for will depend on their area of expertise and personal interests.

What does Nonprofit CFO do?

A Nonprofit CFO (Chief Financial Officer) performs various responsibilities on a day-to-day basis, including:

  1. Financial Planning: The CFO develops and implements financial strategies and plans, assisting in the creation of budgets and long-term financial projections.

  2. Budgeting and Forecasting: They oversee the budgeting process, ensuring that financial resources are allocated effectively and in line with the organization's goals. They also provide forecasts and financial analysis to support decision-making.

  3. Financial Reporting: The CFO prepares and presents regular financial reports to the management team and the board of directors, providing information on the organization's financial performance, cash flow, and any significant variances.

  4. Accounting and Bookkeeping: They supervise the organization's accounting functions, including managing accounts payable and receivable, processing payroll, handling financial transactions, and ensuring compliance with accounting standards and regulations.

  5. Financial Analysis: The CFO conducts in-depth financial analysis, evaluating the financial health of the organization, assessing risks, and identifying opportunities for improvement. They also provide recommendations to management based on this analysis.

  6. Fundraising and Grant Management: They work closely with the development team to oversee fundraising efforts and manage grants and contracts. This includes ensuring proper financial reporting to funders and compliance with grant requirements.

  7. Risk Management: The CFO assesses and manages financial risks, including insurance coverage, internal controls, and compliance with relevant legal and regulatory requirements.

  8. Strategic Planning: They contribute to the organization's strategic planning process by providing financial insights and guidance. The CFO helps evaluate the financial feasibility of proposed programs and initiatives.

  9. Collaboration and Leadership: They collaborate with the executive team and other departments to align financial processes and goals with the overall organizational strategy. The CFO also leads the finance team, providing direction and support to ensure efficient operations.

  10. Stakeholder Management: The CFO maintains relationships with external stakeholders, such as auditors, banks, and financial advisors, to ensure compliance and access to effective financial resources.

It's important to note that the specific duties of a Nonprofit CFO may vary depending on the size, complexity, and mission of the organization.

What skills are needed to be a Nonprofit CFO?

Below is a list of skills required for a Nonprofit CFO, along with a brief explanation of each skill:

Financial Management: Strong understanding of financial management principles, including budgeting, financial analysis, forecasting, and reporting. This skill is essential for effectively managing the organization's finances and ensuring financial stability.

Strategic Planning: Ability to develop and execute strategic plans that align with the nonprofit's mission and goals. This skill helps the CFO play a crucial role in creating long-term financial strategies that support the organization's overall objectives.

Fundraising Knowledge: Knowledge and experience in fundraising activities, such as grant writing, donor cultivation, and event planning. This skill allows the CFO to actively contribute to the organization's fundraising efforts and help secure necessary funding.

Risk Management: Proficiency in identifying and managing financial risks, including compliance with regulatory requirements. This skill helps the CFO protect the organization's assets and maintain its financial integrity.

Nonprofit Accounting: Familiarity with nonprofit accounting principles and practices, including fund accounting and restricted funds management. This skill enables the CFO to accurately record and report financial transactions in accordance with nonprofit accounting standards.

Leadership and Management: Strong leadership and management skills to effectively lead the finance team and collaborate with other departments. This skill is crucial for ensuring the efficient operation of the finance function and fostering a positive work environment.

Communication Skills: Excellent verbal and written communication skills to effectively communicate financial information to board members, staff, donors, and other stakeholders. This skill allows the CFO to present complex financial concepts in a clear and understandable manner.

Technology Proficiency: Proficiency in financial software, data analysis tools, and other relevant technologies. This skill enables the CFO to leverage technology to streamline financial processes, enhance data analysis capabilities, and improve overall efficiency.

Ethical Standards: Strong ethical standards and integrity to ensure compliance with legal and ethical guidelines in financial matters. This skill is essential for maintaining the trust and confidence of donors, stakeholders, and the public.

Continuous Learning: Commitment to continuous learning and staying updated on the latest trends and best practices in nonprofit finance. This skill allows the CFO to adapt to evolving financial environments and make informed decisions.

Nonprofit CFO

Nonprofit CFO duties and responsibilities

Top 3-7 Duties of a Nonprofit CFO:

  1. Financial Planning and Budgeting: Developing and implementing financial plans and budgets to support the organization's mission and goals, including forecasting and cash flow management.

  2. Financial Reporting and Analysis: Overseeing the preparation of accurate and timely financial statements, reports, and analysis to inform decision making and ensure compliance with applicable regulations and accounting standards.

  3. Internal Controls and Risk Management: Establishing and maintaining effective internal controls to safeguard assets, prevent fraud, and manage financial risks, while ensuring compliance with laws and regulations.

  4. Funding and Grants Management: Managing relationships with donors, funding agencies, and grantors, including financial reporting and compliance with grant requirements, tracking restricted funds, and maximizing revenue generation.

  5. Investment and Asset Management: Monitoring and managing the organization's investments and assets to optimize returns and support long-term financial stability, while aligning with the organization's ethical guidelines and priorities.

  6. Oversight of Accounting and Taxation: Supervising accounting functions such as accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, and general ledger, while ensuring accurate and timely financial recording and reporting. Also overseeing tax compliance and filings.

  7. Strategic Financial Leadership: Collaborating with the executive leadership team and the Board of Directors to provide strategic financial guidance, identify opportunities for growth and efficiency, and evaluate the financial impact of strategic decisions.

Note: The number of duties listed may vary depending on the size and complexity of the nonprofit organization.

Qualifications required to be Nonprofit CFO

The qualifications required for a Nonprofit CFO may vary depending on the organization and its specific needs. However, generally, the following qualifications are often sought:

  1. Education: A bachelor's degree in accounting, finance, or a related field is typically required. A master's degree in business administration (MBA) or a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation may also be preferred.

  2. Experience: Several years of financial management experience, preferably in a leadership role, is typically required. Experience in a nonprofit or similar organization is highly desirable, as it demonstrates an understanding of the unique financial challenges and regulations associated with the sector.

  3. Nonprofit knowledge: An understanding of nonprofit accounting principles, compliance with tax laws, and reporting requirements specific to nonprofits is important. Familiarity with grant accounting, donor restrictions, and contribution accounting is also beneficial.

  4. Strategic financial planning: Expertise in financial analysis, forecasting, and budgeting is essential for a CFO role. The ability to develop long-term financial strategies aligned with the organization's mission and goals is highly valued.

  5. Leadership and communication skills: Strong leadership qualities, including the ability to manage and motivate a finance team, are essential. Excellent communication skills, both written and verbal, are important for presenting financial information and collaborating with other departments and board members.

  6. Technology proficiency: Proficiency in financial management software, spreadsheet applications, and other relevant technologies is crucial. Knowledge of accounting software, such as QuickBooks and NetSuite, and other data management tools is typically expected.

  7. Ethical standards: High ethical standards and integrity are imperative for a nonprofit CFO. Trust and transparency are particularly important in the nonprofit sector, as organizations must maintain the confidence of donors, funders, and stakeholders.

It is worth noting that these qualifications provide a general overview, and each organization may have specific requirements based on their unique needs and the complexity of their finances.

Nonprofit CFO Job Description Template


Job Brief

We are looking for a CFO to join our nonprofit organization and manage all financial aspects, including investments and audit activities.

Nonprofit CFO responsibilities include overseeing cash flow planning, preparing and reviewing budgets and tracking operational metrics (KPIs.) To be successful in this role, you should have in-depth knowledge of risk management methods and the ability to create forecasting models.

Ultimately, you will ensure we manage our resources in the most beneficial way and help maximize our funding.


  • Oversee cash flow management
  • Track important KPIs and analyze trends
  • Forecast return on investment (ROI) for current and future programs
  • Develop and monitor budgets
  • Inform key stakeholders of financial status and investment plans
  • Ensure all financial operations comply with federal and state laws
  • Present monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements to executives and board of directors
  • Coordinate audit activities
  • Represent the company to investors and public officials
  • Supervise the accounting department to ensure smooth day-to-day transactions


  • Proven work experience as a CFO, preferably in a nonprofit organization
  • Excellent knowledge of data analysis, risk management and forecasting methods
  • Hands-on experience with accounting and financial management software (e.g. SAP)
  • Expertise in MS Excel
  • Analytical skills
  • Ability to explain financial terms in simple language
  • Familiarity with the way nonprofit organizations are structured
  • Genuine interest in our mission
  • BSc or MSc in Finance, Accounting or relevant field

What are some qualities of a good Nonprofit CFO?

A good nonprofit Chief Financial Officer (CFO) possesses a combination of financial expertise and a genuine passion for the organization's mission. Firstly, they must have a strong understanding of financial management principles, including budgeting, forecasting, and financial analysis. They should also be skilled in managing cash flow, monitoring expenses, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations. A good nonprofit CFO has excellent attention to detail and is highly organized, as they are responsible for maintaining accurate financial records and reports. They should also possess strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities, as they often need to make decisions that impact the organization's long-term financial sustainability. Additionally, strong communication skills are essential for a nonprofit CFO to effectively convey financial information to other staff members and stakeholders. Finally, a good nonprofit CFO is committed to the organization's mission and understands the need to balance financial sustainability while staying true to the nonprofit's core values.

What are the salary expectations of Nonprofit CFO?

The salary expectations for a Nonprofit Chief Financial Officer (CFO) can vary depending on factors such as the size and budget of the organization, geographic location, experience level, and specific job responsibilities. However, according to the 2021 GuideStar Nonprofit Compensation Report, the median salary range for a CFO in a nonprofit organization is $110,000 to $140,000 per year. It's important to note that this is a general estimate and salaries can be higher or lower based on the aforementioned factors. Additionally, executive level positions in larger nonprofits may offer higher salaries.

Who does Nonprofit CFO report to?

A nonprofit Chief Financial Officer (CFO) typically reports to the Executive Director or CEO of the organization. They are responsible for overall financial management and strategy, ensuring financial stability and accountability.

Nonprofit CFOs work with various individuals and teams within the organization, including:

  1. Board of Directors: They may provide financial reports, updates, and recommendations to the board, assist in budgeting and financial planning, and support the board's finance-related responsibilities.

  2. Finance Department Staff: CFOs often lead and manage the finance department, collaborating with other finance personnel to oversee budgeting, financial reporting, accounting, and compliance.

  3. Executive Team: They work closely with other executives, such as the CEO, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Development Director, and Program Directors, to align financial strategies with organizational goals and to provide financial insights and guidance.

  4. Fundraising/Development Department: CFOs play a crucial role in financial analysis and monitoring of fundraising efforts, financial planning for campaigns, and ensuring proper tracking and reporting of donations and grants.

  5. Audit and Compliance Experts: They work with external auditors, legal counsel, and compliance specialists to ensure compliance with financial regulations, tax laws, and reporting requirements.

  6. Program Managers: CFOs collaborate with program managers to develop budgets for programs, monitor expenses, and assess the financial feasibility of new projects.

  7. Donors and Grantors: CFOs may interact with major donors, foundations, and grantors, providing financial information, reports, and assisting with financial stewardship and accountability.

Overall, the nonprofit CFO collaborates with various stakeholders to ensure effective financial management, transparency, and accountability throughout the organization.

Last Updated 27 Sep, 2023

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