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Field Guide to Association Budgets and Reserves


(Updated February 2015)
Creating and maintaining a successful association budget doesn't have to be a headache. Take the pain out of budgeting with these tools available through NAR's library at Information Services. (S. Hogan, Manager, Library & Archives)

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.

Local Association Income and Expenses

Respondents to the Profile of Local Association Executive Compensation and Benefits survey were asked to rank their sources of income, excluding dividends from MLS revenue. Exhibit 5.4 aggregates the top five responses and averages the percentages that respondents provided for each income source as a percentage of their total revenue. Expense budgets for fiscal year 2010 are tabulated in Exhibit 5.5.

Image source: Exhibits 5.4, 5.5, Profile of Local Association Executive Compensation and Benefits, National Association of REALTORS®, May 2010.

Association Budgets

Stay in the Money: Keep Cash Flow Problems from Derailing Your Organization, (Nonprofit World, Jan./Feb. 2013). Q

A Three Year Study of the Nonprofit Sector’s Response to the Economic Challenges in Six Cities Across the Nation, (Working Paper, Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management, Baruch College of the City University of New York, School of Public Affairs, June 2012).

All About Financial Management in Nonprofits, (Free Management Library, 2011).

Basic Overview of U.S. Nonprofit Financial Management, (Free Management Library, 2011).

How to Create a Nonprofit Operating Budget, (eHow.com, Jan. 25, 2011).

Ratios & Reserves

Running on Empty: The Operating Reserves of U.S. Nonprofit Organizations, (Nonprofit Management & Leadership, Spring 2013).

Nonprofit Resource Allocation Decisions: A Study of Marginal versus Average Spending, (Journal of Governmental & Nonprofit Accounting, July 2012).

Maintaining Sufficient Reserves to Protect your Not-for-Profit Organization, (Grant Thornton LLP, Spring 2010).

The yin & yang of operating reserves: what you need to know, (Nonprofit World, Jan./Feb. 2009). Q

Analyzing financial information using ratios, (Nonprofits Assistance Fund, 2008).

Finance Supplement: Reserve Rules, (Associations Now, Mar. 2008). 

Articles, Surveys & More from NAR

Manage Your Association: Budget and Finances, (National Association of REALTORS®). Find information on compensation, non-dues revenue, grants, and more.

Manage the Association and Its Business Operations, (The Answer Book, NAR). See Chapter 3 for information on budget and financial management.

 Profile of Local Association Executive Compensation and Benefits: Summary of Survey Findings, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2010). The survey was conducted between February 15 and March 8, 2010. It asked respondents for 2009 compensation and financial information and 2010 compensation budgets. In total, 527 local associations returned surveys, representing 37.5% of the 1,404 surveys that were mailed. Of the returned surveys, 511 were used in the data analysis.

REALTOR® Association Policies

NAR Recommended Policies and Procedures for REALTOR® Associations, (Realtor.org, 2011).

The Answer Book: The Source for REALTOR® Association Management Leaders (National Association of REALTORS®, 2013).

Useful Websites

RCE Designation (National Association of REALTORS®) - Learn about benefits and program information for RCE, the only professional designation designed specifically for REALTOR association executives.

American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) - Find information on the ASAE community, education, resources, advocacy, and more.

BoardSource - BoardSource is dedicated to advancing the public good by building exceptional nonprofit boards and inspiring board service. Visit this site for resources for nonprofit leaders, information on governance, training courses, and more.

Financial Management resources (National Council of Nonprofits) – Find resources on budgets, policies, financial literacy for boards, managing cash flow, operating reserves, and more.

Nonprofit Accounting Basics (Greater Washington Society of CPAs) - The GWSCPA Nonprofit Financial Accountability Task Force is a nation-wide collaborative comprised of members of the accounting and nonprofit communities that seek to strengthen the nonprofit sector in the US by improving financial accountability in the sector through ongoing education initiatives and robust discussion of current topics (Source: GWSCPA).

Nonprofit Risk Management Center- Visit the Nonprofit Risk Management Center for fact sheets on risk management and liability topics, publications, workshops, and more.

Resource Library (Nonprofits Assistance Fund) - Find links to articles, webinars, templates, scenario planning examples, and more.

Tax Information for Charities & Other Non-Profits, (U.S. Internal Revenue Service).

eBooks & Other Resources


The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

The Budget-Building Book for Nonprofits (Adobe eReader, Kindle)

Budgeting for Managers (Adobe eReader)

Cash Flow Strategies: Innovation in Nonprofit Financial Management (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Cash & Investment Management for Nonprofit Organizations (Adobe eReader)

The Executive Director's Guide to Thriving as a Nonprofit Leader (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Human Resource Policies and Procedures for Nonprofit Organizations (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Nonprofit Boards that Work (Kindle, Adobe eReader)

Books, Videos, Research Reports, & More

Financial Management Handbook for Associations and Nonprofits, (Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2011). HF 5686.A76 S74

The Association and nonprofit strategic planning and research guide, (Bethesda, MD: Association Management and Marketing Resources, 2008). HF 294 C18

Association Compensation & Benefits Study by American Society of Association Executives, (Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2010-2011). HF 294 Am3as

7 Measures of Success: What Remarkable Associations Do that Others Don't, (Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2006). HD 58.9 Am3s

Association audits from A to Z: a guide for executives, (Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2000). HF 294 L25

The Complete guide to managing chapter funds, (Washington, D.C.: American Society of Association Executives, 2000). HF 294 V94 , (New York: John Wiley, 2000). HF 294 G91

Financial and strategic management for nonprofit organizations, (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2000). HF 294 B84

The Policy sampler: a resource for nonprofit boards, (Washington, DC: National Center for Nonprofit Boards, 2000). HF 294 F63

Field Guides & More

These Field Guides and other resources in the Virtual Library may also be of interest:

Field Guide to Establishing a Charitable Foundation

Field Guide to Investment Planning for Associations

Field Guide to IRS Form 990 Reporting Rules for Nonprofits

Field Guide to Strategic Planning for Associations

Information Services Blog

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The inclusion of links on this Field Guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this Field Guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.