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Financial Management for Churches and Nonprofits

Financial Management for Churches and Management | Online Course $100 | Includes a certificate of completion and 3.5 CEUs | Thanks to a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., we are able to offer this course at a significantly reduced rate from the normal course fee of $275

The Financial Management for Churches and Nonprofits course, with support from Lilly Endowment Inc., is an online offering in conjunction with Garrett-Evangelical’s Leading Vibrant Congregations: A Collaboration of Faith and Finance Grant

January 13 - March 20, 2020

Registration Fee: $100 for clergy participant (includes 3.5 CEUs and the ability to register a lay person from your congregation for free)
Registration Deadline: Friday, January 10, 2020, or when course is full


Click Here To Register Now

The parables of Jesus make it clear that money should not be our master, but that we also must be capable of using it well. Often, this is a challenge for pastors and lay leaders who have never received formal training in financial management. The Financial Management for Churches and Nonprofits Course was designed to remedy this problem.

This 10-week intensive online course was developed to support pastors with their lay leaders who are tasked with overseeing their church's finances, but who may not have formal training in financial practices and planning. We will explore the planning process for the operating, capital expenditure, and cash budgets. We will discuss the long-term financial planning process. The course will look at the importance of capital structure and investment policies that are aligned to the organization’s strategic objectives. All of these topics will be built on the foundation of nonprofit accounting, nonprofit financial statements, and financial policies.

Upon successful completion of the course, students will understand the following:

  • How to read and understand nonprofit financial statements
  • How to prepare an operating, capital expenditure, and cash budget
  • The importance of long-term financial planning.
  • The importance of management controls
  • Risk management and insurance

Space is limited and you are encouraged to enroll soon.

Course Topics

Financial Management in the Nonprofit Organization

We will review the characteristics of nonprofit organizations, including churches, and nonprofit financial management. We will introduce nonprofit accounting and financial statements, discuss financial analysis, and provide a few analytical tools used by nonprofit financial managers

Long-term Financial Planning and Capital Budgeting

Managing growth is one reason nonprofit organizations need to plan. We will focus on developing long-term financial plans for the nonprofit. In addition to the long-term plan, we will discuss capital budgeting and how capital decision are made.

Operating Budget and Cash Budgets

The budgeting process is important because it allocates resources, which in turn reveals the program preferences of the nonprofit organization. We have already presented the capital budget, so we will focus on the operating and cash budgets. Students will be given a budget case to complete which will be discussed during a live webinar.

Management Controls

We will discuss internal controls and accountability for performance and explore ethical behavior, outside influences, and charity watchers.

Operational Issues

We will focus on several operational issues, such as risk management, insurance, quality assurance, and the external audit.

Course Requirements

This is an online course, meaning that all of it will be presented on your computer. On the Friday before your course begins, you will receive information for where to find the course website and how to access it. Don’t worry if this is your first time taking a class online! The instructor has extensive experience teaching online and can help you all the way along.

The course has ten sessions, one each week for ten weeks. Seven sessions will involve reading in the text and interacting with information and exercises on the course website. Three of the sessions will be live webinars. This will give you an opportunity to speak directly with the instructor, ask questions, and make certain you are understanding everything you are learning during the other weeks. The webinars will be recorded, so you can watch them later. 

Webinar Dates

The course includes three live webinars that take place on the following Monday evenings from 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. central time:

  • January 13, 2020
  • February 10, 2020
  • March 16, 2020

If you are unable to attend the live webinar, a link to the recorded webinar will be posted within 24 hours to the course’s online learning portal.


After you register, please rent or purchase the book for this course, Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations: Policies and Procedures (3rd Edition) by Zietlow, J. T., Hankin, J. A., Seidner, A. G., & O’Brien, T. (2018). The MSRP for the book is $125, but you can rent it for $45.27, buy it used for $93.75, or but it new for $102.50 on Amazon. Click here to rent or buy the book on Amazon.

Given the expense of the book, you are eligible for a 50% reimbursement up to $50 off the price you paid for the book if you complete the course (are granted the 3.5 CEUs).  To receive your reimbursement once you have successfully completed the course, you must send us your original receipt.  If your original receipt is electronic, meaning it was sent to you via email and/or you can print it from a website, then you can forward it to us at  If you have a paper receipt from purchasing the book at a store, then you will need to mail us your original receipt at:
Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary
c/o Martha Rudy
2121 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60201


As a part of our Lilly Endowment Inc. grant, we have committed to thoroughly assess each of our program offerings. When you register for the course, you are affirming your commitment to complete four brief assessments for this course:

  1. Pre-course assessment
  2. Post-course assessment
  3. Post-course assessment six months after the course
  4. Post-course assessment one year after the course.

The purpose of these assessments is to gauge your understanding of key course content prior to the course and directly following the course with the later post-course assessments determining if you are still using what you learned and what has been most helpful to you in your role. These assessments are essential to us and Lilly Endowment in determining the usefulness of this offering.

Course Instructors

Dr. Jim CroftDr. Jim Croft

Before joining Northwestern University as an academic director for nonprofit finance in the Kellogg School of Management’s Center for Nonprofit Management, Dr. Jim Croft served from 1984 to 2015 as executive vice president and chief financial officer for Chicago’s Field Museum. For several years he served concurrently as the museum’s chief development officer, managing the annual giving, major gifts, planned giving, and corporate and foundation giving programs. He was also responsible for a major capital campaign that successfully concluded in 2008.

Prior to joining the Museum, Croft held positions in social service administration as a community center executive director, finance officer, and chief business officer. In addition to his work at Northwestern, he teaches in the College of Business at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and is a senior fellow at McKendree University as well as a management consultant for several nonprofit organizations.

Recently Croft was appointed to the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s (FASB) Nonprofit Advisory Committee, which will work with FASB staff to revise the accounting standards used by all US nonprofits.

Croft is also a board member for such organizations as The Salvation Army, Great Lakes Advisors, LLC, Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, and the Illinois Institutes of Independent Colleges and Universities.

He received a PhD from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, where his doctoral work focused on higher education leadership and nonprofit finance. Croft also studied business administration at the University of Nebraska–Kearney and Roosevelt University and holds a graduate degree in management from National Louis University.

Dr. Katy Scrogin

Dr. Katy Scrogin is a writer, editor, and translator. Between 2014 and 2018, she served as the Vice President for Programming at the Chicago Sunday Evening Club, where she developed, produced, and contributed to daily and weekly podcasts. A former professor of religion and ethics, she is interested in the ways in which groups of all sorts, from informal communities to nations, engage in self-governance, both politically and culturally.  Dr. Scrogin holds a PhD in religion from Claremont Graduate University, a Master of Theological Studies from Vanderbilt University, and a BA in German and Spanish from the University of Texas at Austin.



How is the course organized, asynchronous or synchronous?
The course is completely asynchronous, so you can read the book, watch the course lecture videos, and submit your discussion papers at any time during the week, so long as the assignments are submitted according to the due date.  The course includes three synchronous live web discussions that we encourage you to attend live because it provides you with the opportunity to ask questions of the instructor and engage with other course participants through a different medium.  If you are unable to attend the webinars, they are recorded and you can watch them later. 

When will the web discussions take place in each course?
For the fall course offering, the web discussions will be at 6:00 p.m. central time on Mondays, September 9, 2019; October 7, 2019; and November 11, 2019.  As noted above, if you cannot attend the live web discussion, you can watch the recording later.  The instructor, Dr. Jim Croft, is available to answer questions throughout the course so if you can't attend the live session you can feel free to email him at any time during the course. 

Approximately how much time will I need to spend each week on course reading, videos, and discussion assignments?
Based on the Fall 2018 participant experience of this course, participants spend approximately 2.5 to 3 hours per week on the course.

Is the cost of the book included in the course fee?
No. After you register, please rent or purchase the book for this course, Streetsmart Financial Basics for Nonprofit Managers (4th edition) by Thomas A. McLaughlin. The MSRP for the book is $50, but you can rent or buy it on Amazon for significantly cheaper. Please make sure you have the 4th edition. Click here to rent or buy the book on Amazon.

Please visit the Connectional Learning Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for the full list of our frequently asked questions.

Cancellation Policies

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Course Cancellation Policy

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary reserves the right to cancel the course if a minimum participation level is not reached. If we cancel this offering, participants will be notified of the cancellation 7 business days before the offering’s start date and will receive a full refund.

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary Policy for Participant Cancellation

Participants can withdraw from the course in writing via e-mail to

Refunds will be provided according to this schedule:

  • Withdrawals received more than 30 days prior to the course's start date will receive: 100% refund.
  • Withdrawals received between 29 to 16 days prior to the course's start date will receive: 50% refund.

No refunds will be issued for withdrawals received 15 days or less before the course starts.


What Past Students Are Saying

The modern church faces a complex issue pertaining to financial management: do more with less. This course helped me understand how to leverage long-term financial planning (along with other financial management skills) to more carefully marshal church resources around endeavors closely linked with the church's vision, mission, and goals. This kind of very intentional financial planning is more critical than ever for the church of today--and tomorrow!

- Rev. Scott Himel

Every pastor, old and new, can benefit from taking this class, especially with their lay financial staff! 

- Ms. Carolyn Donnelly

This course provided the opportunity for me and my financial leaders to consider our record keeping, reporting, internal controls and our long-term financial situation.

- Rev. Hope M. Chernich

PLEASE take this course for the sake of the mission of the church. You will not regret it.

- Rev. Kyungsu Park

It is important that church leaders are fully aware and understand non-profit financial process in order to participate effectively and efficiently in strategic planning.

- Ms. Ronnette Montague

Whether you're a new manager or a seasoned nonprofit executive or pastor, this course will benefit you and your organization. The material and instruction are practical, relevant and timely for all types of nonprofits.

- Rev. Jon Robinson