Nonprofit Reserves: The Real Deal – Resources List

ORIGINAL PRE-RELEASE CONTENT available only on this site


Case Study

Northern Dental Access Center: Expansion through Service to “Competitors” 

This original case study examines the pandemic-related financial strategies deployed by a nonprofit providing dental services to low-income people in rural Minnesota. The organization was not only largely dependent on fee-for-service revenue, but it had an almost impossibly tight margin, and its ability to provide services was curtailed by the state for an indeterminate period. This case speaks to the need to recognize nonfinancial capital in organizational strategies during times of crisis, and to the need to understand the capital needs of nonprofits in a more complete and nuanced fashion.

Research on reserves and nonprofit capital by Thad Calabrese

Calabrese, Thad. “Do operating reserves stabilize spending by nonprofit organizations?” November 14, 2017. Nonprofit Management & Leadership. DOI:

Calabrese, Thad. “Running on Empty: The Operating Reserves of US Nonprofit Organizations.” October 2011. Baruch College School of Public Affairs, Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management.

Calabrese, Thad, and Nicole P. Marwell. “A Deficit Model of Collaborative Governance: Government–Nonprofit Fiscal Relations in the Provision of Child Welfare Services.” November 24, 2014. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. DOI: 10.1093/jopart/muu047

Calabrese, Thad, and George E. Mitchell. “Proverbs of Nonprofit Financial Management.” 2019. American Review of Public Administration, Vol. 49(6) 649–661. DOI: 10.1177/0275074018770458.

Calabrese, Thad, and George E. Mitchell. “Instrumental Philanthropy, Nonprofit Theory, and Information Costs.” Nonprofit Policy Forum, Vol. 11, Issue 2. DOI:

Readings about understanding the full financial capital requirements of nonprofits (including reserves)

Christopher, Rodney, and Rebecca Thompson with Holly Sidford and Helicon Collaborative. “Case for Change Capital in the Arts.” 2011. Nonprofit Financial Fund.

Edgington, Nell. “What Nonprofit Sustainability Looks Like: An Interview with Hilda Polanco.” February 21, 2017. Social Velocity.

Polanco, Hilda H., and Dipty Jain. “How to Think Differently about Your Money: Capital Explored.” April 12, 2017. Nonprofit Quarterly, Spring 2017.

Recording of Nonprofit Reserves: The Real Deal on October 27, 2022

Nonprofit Reserves: The Real Deal Webinar Recording

A compilation of webinar attendee responses to the question “What do you think about when you think of the word Reserves?”

Recording of Nonprofit Reserves: The Role of the Nonprofit Financial Strategist: Alchemy in Action on December 15, 2022

The Role of the Nonprofit Financial Strategist: Alchemy in Action Webinar Recording