[Checklist] Get Your Nonprofit Ready for Year-End

October 18, 2019

Get ready for 2020

The last few weeks of the year always fly by, but before you get swept away by 2020 planning, set some time aside to bring your current year to a close. A successful end of year wrap up will help you evaluate the year’s performance and set you up to begin the new year with a bang.

Our quick nonprofit checklist will keep you and your team on track and organized, ready for smooth sailing into the new year.

1. Thank your donors

This seems like common sense and should already be on your year-end to-do list, but it’s worth a headliner mention as it’s that important.

Since nearly 30% of all donation happens in December, you’ll be sending a lot of thank you gifts and letters. But don’t forget to thank other donors who’ve contributed throughout the year, even if you haven’t heard from them in a while.

Along with the giving thanks, remind your donors to wait to file taxes until contribution summaries have been received. Sending donors an advance statement with their current year to date donation amount provides an opportunity to ask for an end-of-year donation.

2. Annual meeting

Have you held your annual meeting this year? Do you have meeting notes for your board meetings? Have they been approved by the board? Have you reviewed your ‘Policy on Reserves’ document?

Your bylaws probably require at least one annual meeting, so if that hasn’t happened yet, make it so by December 31. And don’t forget to document the meeting in minutes. The IRS is increasingly asking to see meeting minutes when examing nonprofits—form 990 requires nonprofits to disclose whether it “ document[s] the meetings held or written actions undertaken during the year by” the board of directors and any committee authorized to act on behalf of the board. If you’re unable to answer that question, you can expect to hear from the IRS with followup questions—possibly even an audit.

3. Review, report, and evaluate

Have you completed all the grant reports needed? Many grants require the recipient of the funds to report on financial and program activity. The donor wants to know how the funds were used. Review the terms of such grants and complete those reports.

Review your performance over the past year. If you’ve done your bookkeeping properly—or had a professional like mAccounting maintain your books—there’s a whole year’s worth of data ready to evaluate!

4. Process any miscellaneous donations

The end of the year is a great time to process any miscellaneous donations, memberships, and other pending transactions that have yet to be entered into your system. There’s always that handful of transactions that fall through the cracks—now’s the time to find and update them all.

5. Get ready for tax season

Don’t think we’d leave out the most exciting part of year-end—taxes! Here’s your tax-only year-end checklist:

  • W-9. Collect W-9s for service providers and/or vendors
  • W-4. Remind employees to review their W-4 and confirm information is correct. Identify if any employees should be reclassified or withholding amounts changed in the new year.
  • W-2. Complete and distribute W-2 forms for employees by January 31st
  • Complete Contribution Statements by January 31st

Have questions about your year-end needs? Want to discuss your options with a professional? We’re here to help. Schedule time with our experts today to see how we can help you prepare for 2020.