Kick-Off Meeting Prep:

The Kick-Off Meeting:

Approximate time: 1-1.5 hours

Objective: To provide the opportunity to give formal introductions, present an overview of the implementation process, clarify expectations, and outline an appropriate timeline for the implementation.  


This meeting kicks off your implementation of Balance. During this meeting, the Client Questionnaire Form  will be discussed to help gain a better understanding of your organization and help to identify items that may require additional time or resources. The Data Load Template will also be introduced and reviewed to ensure a solid understanding of what is needed to get your database set up. 

Once the expectations have been identified and the process has been explained, a timeline will be set to ensure a smooth transition. 


10 minutes: Introductions and overview of implementation steps and timeline

  • Introductions: Identify anyone that will be involved and their role in the onboarding process
  • Balance Goals: Discuss why your organization chose Balance, what you are looking to get out of the software, and what your goals are in implementing it.
  • Implementation Process Overview: Quick summary of the 4 phases of the implementation process and overview of our project management tool


20 minutes: Review Onboarding Questionnaire*

  • Review your responses on the questionnaire to get a better understanding of your organization and the best approach for getting your database set up; including, but not limited to:
    • Endowment Management Policies: Discuss your current systems and accounting practices to provide a better understanding of your processes. Oftentimes, it's helpful for you to provide the files that you are currently using to track your endowments. This is not required, but very useful in ensuring that your Balance database is set up properly. 
    • Spending Policies: Discuss how your standard spending policy works, if there are any exceptions, and determine if any additional information is needed on the Data Load Template
    • Unitization: Discuss earnings allocations, review pricing models, and determine which model fits best for your organization


20 minutes: Overview of Data Load Template(s)

  • Review Data Load Template to give you a better understanding of the information needed to create your database
    • Completion Requirements: Discuss what is needed to be completed on the Data Load Template(s) in order to create database
    • Historical Data: If needed (for spending calculation, preference, or other), discuss process for loading historical data/transactions within the Data Load Template(s)


10 minutes: Timing Discussion and wrap up

  • Timeline: Review timeline for implementation completion, communicate goals, and discuss next steps
  • Wrap up: Answer any remaining questions


Next steps: 

  • Complete Data Load Template(s) and send to your Implementation Partner through our project management tool.
  • Database will be set up (typically 3-5 business days after receiving completed Data Load Template)
  • Review Database
  • Schedule the Walkthrough Meeting. The goal of this meeting is to get you familiar with actually using the Balance system, with your own data. During the call we will explain how everything is set up in the system and give you a tour of your new database.


Learn our lingo | Kick-Off Meeting:

(Check out a full glossary of commonly used terms and expressions here)

Data Load Template – An Excel file used to gather all of the needed data from the client in order to import the necessary information into the newly created client database. Note: not all tabs, and columns, will need to be filled out. Your Implementation Partner will guide you through which are required for initial set up. Also may be referred to as a “DLT.” Please see this article for more information: FAQ: Data Load Template

Distributions – Sometimes referred to as spending, draw, proceeds, or endowment appropriation (this is in line with the new ASU endowment footnote disclosure). Distributions are determined by the institution’s spending policy. Typically, it comes from investment earnings/income that is either to be spent or reinvested per the donor restrictions in the gift agreement. The frequency and calculation of the distribution varies and is also determined by the spending policy. Read more on distributions here

Earnings – The portion of the pool's investment income, including gains and losses, which is allocated to each fund based on its ownership in the pool.

Historical Gift – The original philanthropic contribution given by a donor to establish an endowment fund. It is also commonly referred to as the Corpus or Principal. The balance of a gift's corpus can be increased through additional gifts to the endowment. A donor may also stipulate that they want a certain amount of a fund's income to be reinvested in the corpus, which also increases the historical gift. Additional gifts and reinvestments to principal are the only two ways to increase historical gift values. Occasionally, organizations will reinvest a portion of earnings to increase historical gift.

Load Date – Your Balance inception date; the "as of" date that you are loading your data into Balance. (We recommend this date being the date of your last audited financial statements.)

Pricing Models – The options available for unitizing your endowment. More can be found on Unitization/Pricing models here. The pricing model adopted by a client determines the timing that is used when buying/selling units. The models available are as follows:  

  • With the Beginning of Month pricing model, units are bought and sold at the beginning of the period unit price, before the allocation of investment activity for the period. New gifts receive earnings allocation in the current period. 
  • When using the End of Month pricing model, units are bought and sold at the end of the period unit price, after the allocation of investment activity for the period. New gifts receive earnings allocation in the following period.  

Spending policy – The organization's policy that outlines how much of the endowment’s income can be spent on operations each year.

Unitization – An accounting system, or method of accounting, for endowments. A unitized endowment pool allows multiple endowments to invest in the same pool of assets. Each endowment owns individual units in the unitized investment pool, and the units are generally valued monthly. New endowments entering the pool can buy in by receiving units in the pool that are valued as of the buy-in date. View our Unitization article within the Knowledge Base here.