Understanding Financial Statements of Non-Profit Organizations in Tarrant County: A Guide for Donors and Stakeholders

Financial Compass Tarrant County provides financial education to individuals and families to help empower and provide resources for financial stability. United Way of Tarrant County is committed to using its resources efficiently and effectively, adhering to the highest standards of responsibility. Several nonprofit organizations across the county are expecting to receive six- and seven-figure checks from Tarrant County, after the commissioners court allocated a portion of the federal money to projects in Fort Worth and elsewhere. The diversion of assets can seriously jeopardize the financial integrity of a charity.

To prevent this, the Tarrant Area Food Bank (TAFB) has partnered with HelloFresh, the world's leading food kit company, to provide more than 250,000 meal kits to those facing food insecurity in Tarrant County and the 12 surrounding counties before the end of this year. The nonprofit organization presents evidence of strategic thinking when articulating the organization's mission, showing how it adapted to the tremendous external changes of the past year. Like organizations in other sectors, charities must consider managing total liabilities relative to their total assets. United Way of Tarrant County makes funding decisions and uses methods to fund programs important to the community. Donors may be reluctant to contribute if their name, address, or other basic information may become part of lists exchanged or sold, leading to an influx of charitable requests from other organizations.

Charity Navigator seeks to confirm on Form 990, or in some indicators on the charity's website, that the organization has policies in place. Community volunteers will prepare food packages every Wednesday at the Tarrant Area Food Bank distribution center in Fort Worth, and will initially distribute them at their weekly mega-mobile market held every Friday morning at the Herman Clark Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas. The TAFB primarily collects, stores, and distributes food to front-line organizations such as food pantries and soup kitchens. Organizations that show consistent annual growth in program spending can overcome inflation and therefore maintain their programs year after year. Charity Navigator seeks to confirm on Form 990 that the organization has governance practices in place. Just enter the name of the organization (Tarrant Area Food Bank) or its EIN (75182247) in the “Search Term” field.

The county gave priority to projects that could provide matching funds through grants or funding from the organizations themselves.

Understanding financial statements

is essential for non-profit organizations in Tarrant County. It is important for donors and stakeholders to be aware of how their money is being used and how it is impacting those who are receiving assistance from these organizations. By understanding financial statements, donors can make informed decisions about where they want their money to go and how it will be used. The first step in understanding financial statements is to familiarize yourself with key terms such as assets, liabilities, income, expenses, net assets/fund balances, and cash flow. Assets are resources owned by an organization that have value such as cash, investments, accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, buildings, etc.

Liabilities are obligations owed by an organization such as accounts payable, loans payable, deferred revenue/unearned income, etc. Income is money received by an organization from activities such as donations or grants while expenses are money paid out by an organization for activities such as salaries or rent. Net assets/fund balances represent what would remain if all liabilities were paid off and all assets were liquidated. Cash flow is a measure of how much cash is coming into an organization versus how much cash is going out. It is important for non-profit organizations to have positive cash flow so they can continue operations. The next step is to understand how these terms are used in financial statements.

Financial statements typically include a balance sheet which shows a snapshot of an organization’s assets and liabilities at a given point in time; an income statement which shows revenues and expenses over a period of time; a statement of cash flows which shows cash inflows and outflows over a period of time; and a statement of changes in net assets/fund balances which shows changes in net assets/fund balances over a period of time. It is also important for non-profit organizations to understand how their financial statements are used by external stakeholders such as donors or grantors. These stakeholders use financial statements to assess an organization’s financial health and make decisions about whether or not they want to donate or grant funds. It is important for non-profit organizations to be transparent about their finances so that donors can make informed decisions. Understanding financial statements can be challenging but there are resources available to help non-profit organizations in Tarrant County better understand their finances.

Financial Compass Tarrant County provides free financial education classes for individuals and families as well as free one-on-one counseling sessions with certified counselors who can help answer questions about finances. United Way of Tarrant County also provides free tax preparation services for individuals and families who qualify. In addition, there are several websites that provide helpful information about understanding financial statements such as Charity Navigator which provides ratings on charities based on their financial health; GuideStar which provides access to IRS Form 990s which provide detailed information about an organization’s finances; and Nonprofit Accounting Basics which provides helpful information about understanding nonprofit accounting principles. By understanding financial statements, non-profit organizations in Tarrant County can make informed decisions about how they use their resources and ensure that they are using them efficiently and effectively. Donors can also use this information to make informed decisions about where they want their money to go.

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