• By: Gina Guy
  • December 2, 2022
Reading Time: 5 minutes
What is the Role of a Nonprofit Treasurer

A nonprofit treasurer manages the financial health of an organization, which includes presenting financial reports to the board. Learn more about their duties.

A nonprofit treasurer, one of the crucial nonprofit board positions, manages the financial health of an organization, which includes presenting financial reports to the board. Being elected or appointed as a nonprofit treasurer means the organization and the board of directors trusts you with some of the most important aspects of the organization’s financial oversight and management. 

But the responsibility of a treasurer within a nonprofit organization extends beyond just recording transactions and bookkeeping. It involves aligning the organization’s mission with the operational budget, as well as planning for the organization’s financial future. Read on to learn more about the duties and responsibilities of a nonprofit treasurer.

What Is a Nonprofit Treasurer?

A nonprofit treasurer assumes responsibility over the nonprofit’s financial obligations. From chairing the finance committee to assisting with fundraising ideas for nonprofits and overseeing funds from technology grants, a nonprofit treasurer needs to demonstrate:

  • Technical accounting skills to oversee funds collected and distributed
  • Investment management to grow the funds and expand the organization’s community reach
  • Organizational leadership to strategize and direct the group’s financial future

Nonprofit Treasurer Roles and Responsibilities

In most nonprofit governance models, the treasurer is responsible for the following.

Generate Financial Reports

Aside from managing the day-to-day activities of the nonprofit organization’s finances, the treasurer prepares and generates timely, accurate, and reliable financial reports at the end of the organization’s fiscal period. They then deliver these reports to the relevant parties, including the finance committee, board members, executive director, and other C-suite level executives. 

This timely and reliable financial information proves crucial for sound and informed financial decision-making. Without this information, tracking the organization’s financial health would be impossible. Producing these accurate reports requires flawless bookkeeping and accounting. Commercial accounting software like QuickBooks may come in handy at this stage, especially for medium and large nonprofit organizations. 

Regardless of the size of your nonprofit, financial reports may include budget documents, balance sheets, cash flow statements, annual reports, statements of financial positions, and footnote disclosures. From paying and recording the organization’s bills and reconciling bank statements to managing cash flows and keeping debt records, treasurers oversee all the financial activities of the organization in order to generate accurate and reliable reports.

Create an Operating Budget

The treasurer determines an operating budget based on the organization’s fiscal year. As chair of the finance committee, the treasurer cooperates with the executive director, board members, and other program heads to create the overall budget, as well as budgets for specific programs or tasks. 

While preparing budgets, keep in mind the board of directors relies on the budget to inform the organization’s objectives and make strategic decisions. Regardless of the budget size, the board must ensure it upholds the organization’s financial health and is sustainable for the nonprofit. 

Operating budgets may include overhead budgets, labor costs, and administrative expenses. The treasurer presents all the budgets to board members for authorization and approval. As nonprofit treasurer, you must prepare to effectively answer all questions related to the budgets.

Finally, make sure you track/monitor the budget performance by regularly comparing the actual expenses with the budgeted expenditure, and the actual income with the projected revenue. 

Provide Strategic Planning and Direction

The treasurer takes an active role in the organization’s strategic planning and direction. As the treasurer, you have to formulate a short- and long-term financial plan. This may involve reviewing and enforcing new financial policies and procedures in the organization. For example, you can review the list of people who have access to the organization’s funds or can authorize spending. 

Strategic planning and direction, specifically on the organization’s finances, requires advising the board and management on the possible threats and opportunities for the nonprofit, as well as the organization’s fundraising, public relations, and grant writing efforts. 

As the treasurer, you should also counsel the board on how investment decisions, tax obligations, legal requirements, and existing financial developments affect the organization’s future financial plans.

Nonprofit Treasurer Checklist

Daily procedural tasks for the nonprofit treasurer include:

  • Monitor the organization’s current and future financial health
  • Review operating budgets and make changes when necessary
  • Define and follow statutory and regulatory financial deadlines and responsibilities
  • Establish and distribute the organization’s financial policies and procedures
  • Invest in software to improve internal efficiency and output
  • Prepare audits, whether annual or continuous audit reports
  • Develop financial goals and the measures to achieve them
  • Align financial goals with the organization’s mission 
  • Identify and manage risk
  • Safeguard the organization’s assets, data, and sensitive information

Master Nonprofit Board Governance With OnBoard

Like any other officer on the board, nonprofit treasurers shoulder many duties and responsibilities. The right board management software saves them from the hassle of manually tracking and reporting financial information, while also ensuring accurate and reliable reports in real-time. With a secure, limitless system of record, among other features, OnBoard is purpose-built to help nonprofits work smarter. 

Check out OnBoard’s free board meeting agenda template for a small taste of what the software can do for your nonprofit.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What Should a Nonprofit Treasurer's Report Include?

    The nonprofit treasurer's report should include the balance at the beginning of the report period, expenses for the period, then the balance at the end of the period. The report should also include any planned expenses on the horizon.

  • What Skills Should a Nonprofit Treasurer Have?

    Accounting skills are a necessity, as are investment skills to manage and grow the organization's funds. In addition, the treasurer must be an organizational leader to prepare the board and members for success.

  • Who Does a Nonprofit Treasurer Report To?

    The nonprofit treasurer usually reports directly to the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the board chair.

  • How Much Does a Nonprofit Treasurer Make?

    As of November 2022, the national average compensation for a nonprofit organization treasurer is $66,989 per year, or $32 an hour. 

Check out our Board Management Software Buyer’s Guide for help choosing a board management vendor that aligns with your nonprofit’s mission and board requirements. 

About The Author

Gina Guy
Gina Guy
Gina Guy is an implementation consultant who specializes in working with nonprofit organizations get the most from their board meetings. She loves helping customers ease their workloads through their use of OnBoard. A Purdue University graduate, Gina enjoys refinishing furniture, running, kayaking, and traveling in her spare time. She lives in Monticello, Indiana, with her husband.