The Mission Driven CFO
The unique challenges faced by CFOs and finance functions of non-profit enterprises
Red kettles and ringing bells during the holidays. Pink ribbons. Mobile donation trucks. A simple red cross. These iconic images conjure up universal associations with specific organizations offering a range of social services to meet human needs. Beyond the powerful branding lies a mission-driven enterprise whose infrastructure is not wholly unlike that of a profit-driven corporation; and yet the finance function, by design, must often adopt an unconventional role.
In an effort to maximize finite resources, not-for-profit organizations rely on the goodwill of volunteers, and corporate professionals often volunteer by serving as board members. Corporate executives at every level, ranging from managers to the C-suite, serve in business advisory capacities, bringing to bear their own business acumen, but in order to better serve a mission-driven organization, it becomes essential to recognize the challenges unique to non-profit enterprises. This piece does just that. We take a deeper look into the mission-driven environment, the mission-driven CFO, notable challenges for mission-driven CFO's, implications for mission-driven organizations, and then consider how to define the CFO role in a mission-driven organization, along with a strategy road map for success.