Financial management for effective & sustainable programmes: Practical tools & strategies for NGOs (FM5)

Course code: FM5
Course Title:
Financial management for effective and sustainable programmes: Practical tools and strategies for NGOs
Duration: 2 weeks (10 days of training)
For: NGO senior managers (programmes and finance)
Fee basis:

Residential (ie accommodation is provided and included in the course fee)

Where and when is the course held?

From 2014, we are running this course in two locations:

  • Dubai, UAE - from Sunday 11 to Thursday 22 May : the vibrant and exotic city of Dubai is an ideal location for those travelling from all corners of the globe.  We especially recommend you apply for this course if you are based in countries where it is difficut to obtain visas for the UK.
  • Oxford, UK in September - from Monday 8 to Friday 19 September  the beautiful and historic university city of Oxford has much to offer visitors and is also the home base for Mango.  

Download the brochure and book your place here.

Why is this course needed?

Everyone involved in working with NGOs shares the responsibility of making sure that their limited resources are used to help people effectively. Good practice in financial management will help NGO staff to use programme funds to maximum effect, now and in the future.

  • Good financial management is critically important for NGOs. You cannot achieve your goals without it.
  • Financial management is everyone's responsibility – trustees and programme managers as well as finance staff.
  • Good financial management depends on programme staff and finance staff working together and integrating good practice into their everyday work.
  • Effective use of resources depends on field staff making informed decisions.


The purpose of this course is to build the capacity of NGO managers to manage resources in a cost-effective and accountable way, to achieve objectives and create an environment for good performance to take place.

In particular, the course will build the confidence and financial skills of NGO managers to:

  • implement robust and practical finance systems that promote integrity, transparency and accountability
  • make effective use of programme resources
  • plan for and manage resources and stakeholder relationships to build financial sustainability.

Who should attend?

This course is especially suitable for:

  • Senior (non-finance) managers such as Directors and Chief Excutives, of small to medium-sized NGOs who want to plan for a financially secure future and manage their money to achieve more
  • Finance staff of small to medium-sized interested in applying their skills and knowledge to implement appropriate finance systems and broaden their knowledge on strategic financial management issues.
  • Programme managers in international NGOs who want to advise and support local NGO partners to manage their money well

Previous financial management experience or training is not a requirement for this course. A good standard of education and the ability to work comfortably in English is essential.

We recommend that you read this course outline carefully to make sure the content is relevant and meets your learning requirements. If you are not sure if this course is for you, please contact us.

Course Content

This ten-day course has three main themes:

1. Key skills for good financial management practice

The course starts with an overview of frameworks for good financial management and accountability. It takes a practical look at the ‘Building Blocks’ of financial management – financial planning, keeping accounts, internal controls and financial reporting & monitoring.

This part of the course includes an optional session on field accounting for those with limited experience in this area or a look at some typical accounting challenges for those with more advanced experience.

2. Managing for financial sustainability

This section looks at the more strategic aspects of financial management including risk assessment and scenario planning; building financing strategies and managing reserves.

3. Effective grant management

Throughout the course, we address the challenges of grant management and how to keep our donors happy.

On the final day, we will reflect together on the practical tools and key messages explored during the two weeks and look at how you plan to integrate ideas into your own work. The course closes at lunch time on day 10 with a final evaluation and feedback session.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  • build activity-based project budgets, cashflow forecasts and funding grids for effective programme planning and implementation
  • prepare project accounts and simple financial reports [optional session]
  • analyse financial reports to inform and support programme management decisions
  • review grant contracts to ensure systems comply with donor rules
  • use Mango’s financial health check to identify strengths and weaknesses in financial systems
  • use the risk mapping technique to assess the financial risks facing their (or partner) NGOs
  • build a financing strategy to promote continuity and security of financial resources for their (or partner) NGOs, including how to build reserves and manage central support costs
  • describe the Seven Principles and the Four Building Blocks of financial management as frameworks for promoting robust financial systems
  • describe how to integrate financial management tools and techniques into field operations
  • identify internal risks and implement appropriate control procedures
  • outline the key requirements of successful grant management.
  • appreciate the importance of good financial management systems in achieving NGO objectives, now and in the future
  • recognise the importance of being accountable to all stakeholders, including beneficiary communities, to ensure effective use of resources.

Dubai Venue

Dubai is a regional international hub, easily reached from all parts of Asia, the Middle East and Europe.  

The course fee includes 13 nights' accommodation with breakfast and evening meal,  plus lunch during the 10 days training.  The training takes place at Coral Deira Dubai Hotel.

There will be a limited organised social programme including a guided tour of the main sights of Dubai.  

Oxford Venue

The UK training will be held at Harris Manchester College, Oxford – a delightful and historical College in the heart of Oxford City. Oxford is an hour away from London by train and conveniently located for London Heathrow Airport.

The fee includes 12 nights' overnight accommodation with breakfast at the College, in comfortable student rooms with private bathroom. Evening meals are not provided except where organised as part of the optional social programme (see below).  Lunch is provided during the 10 days of training but not at the weekend.

A social programme is also included in the Oxford course fee:

  • Walking tour of Oxford
  • Weekend tour to a nearby famous stately home, Blenheim Palace
  • Two hosted evening meals in local pub/restaurants
  • Boating trip (known as ‘punting’) on the river
  • Gala night supper.

Training Approach

The Mango training approach is highly practical, participatory and often fun!

We focus on real issues and help participants to use the tools covered, rather than just discuss them.  We work especially hard to de-mystify financial concepts to overcome the fear of finance.

“Mango training really does take the fear out of finance!”

We train in small groups to meet the needs of individual participants and use a variety of learning methods to stimulate interest and meet different learning styles.  Participatory techniques include interactive presentations, practical problem-solving activities, case studies and quizzes.

Courses are supported by extensive materials for participants to take away and apply after the course, including a detailed course manual.  We also offer a free follow-up service by email or phone to all Mango trainees.

Course Fees

The course fee includes:

  •  all tuition
  •  comprehensive course handbook and all materials
  •  course certificate and photograph
  •  accommodation and meals as described above (note that there are different arrangements for Oxford and Dubai)
  • all organised events in the social programme 

How to Book

All courses can be booked online or by completing a booking form and sending it to the training team. Full terms and conditions are also available on our website, as well as the latest calendar, current availability and course fees.

You are also welcome to telephone us with enquiries on +44 (0)1865 423 818.