Changing circumstances require adaptation. This is especially true as nonprofits seek to navigate a pandemic world where their work is more valuable than ever, but resources may be harder to come by.
How might nonprofits not only endure the pandemic, but emerge stronger, more efficient and primed to tackle the challenges faced by the communities they serve?
Dig in: In many organizations, the executive committee discusses financials but doesn’t necessarily dig deep into the organization’s financial position to assess the break-even point, where your costs equal your income. These unprecedented times require that you examine both sides of this equation carefully and create projections that enable timely and informed decisions.
Negotiate: It’s likely that your two largest expenses are payroll and rent. Would your landlord be amenable to making changes to your lease? Would your leadership take a percentage pay cut?
Also, talk to your lenders and vendors. Many are eager to provide more favorable terms and incentives to ensure they have adequate cash flow.
Ask: Reducing costs and expenses needs to be counterbalanced by increasing income and funding. You’ve probably explored the opportunity for certain government funding, and we will continue that discussion as we learn more about payback requirements and deadlines.
Also, consider partnering with a commercial entity that services a complementary market or community. Get all hands on deck to ask for additional funding from current sources.
Communicate: Perhaps the most important part of bridging this crisis is communicating openly and often with your community. And for now, you need to define your community in the broadest terms to include not only your board, employees, volunteers, donors, and partners, but also your suppliers, landlords, and even financial institutions with which you interact.
Your news might not be good, but a lack of or inconsistent information makes things more difficult. Decide who and what are the primary communication sources for your organization.
Also, update your website regularly, even if there’s nothing particularly newsy to report. Current and updated information shows that you are working daily to address the crisis in whatever ways you can.
Develop: Nonprofit organizations always have a long list of things to get to “if only there were time.” Now is a great time to focus on staff development initiatives that could improve your operations. What certificates, cross training, or other changes could you make to improve operations, connect through social networking, refine your mission, or pivot to a new service or opportunity?
Aspire: Nobody can be sure what our world will be like when we emerge from this crisis. But things will be different. And there will be opportunities. This can be a chance to pivot, change your focus or expand your ambitions. Bring your stakeholders together and brainstorm an aspirational vision for what your nonprofit can achieve in the months and years ahead.
We are committed to assisting you through the pandemic. Please contact us to discuss how we can help.