Can you share some foundation best practices for handling money? - Exponent Philanthropy

Can you share some foundation best practices for handling money?

When handling money, the following practices work for many foundations:

  • Opening a single foundation bank account. Foundations that make grants only one to two times per year or those with minimal operating expenses simplify recordkeeping by making most transactions from one account. Some also use a money market account.
  • Keeping up with cash flow needs. Some foundations set up automatic monthly asset transfers from their investment accounts; others transfer funds just once or twice a year before a grant distribution.
  • Creating policies to monitor check writing. Account for and protect your assets with a policy stating who can sign checks (and for what amount). Many foundations require two signatures for checks over a specific amount; some use banking services that prevent unauthorized withdrawals.
  • Using caution with credit cards and petty cash. Many small foundations pay for everything with business checks, whereas others find it convenient to use a credit card or petty cash, especially when traveling for foundation business. If your foundation chooses to use a credit card or petty cash, establish a policy authorizing who can use it; for what types of expenses (only foundation expenses; otherwise, self-dealing is likely to occur); and up to what amount.

The Foundation Guidebook has more on handling money >>

The Foundation Guidebook
Small or large, new or established, your foundation can be a lasting expression of who you are, and make an impact for years to come. The Foundation Guidebook provides the baseline knowledge you need for running a foundation and getting to the really important work of making a difference. Wherever you are in the life of your foundation, this guidebook will help you build and participate in something significant and fulfilling. Download >>

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