Archive for July, 2009

How to Maintain a Nonprofit During Tough Economic Time

July 18, 2009

It is undeniable that the economy is having a real effect on corporate donation and individual giving. This is the perfect time to start or rebuild your organization. There is never a better time to identify and utilized all of your organization’s assets than when you’re in tough economical times.

Asset building is very important to your organization. Although money is very important, assets building is not only about asking a donor for money. It’s about building upon your assets and all the other assets that can help your organization further its mission.  Look for assets that are free or can be shared. During tough times others will usually be happy to share assets.

Generally all nonprofit organizations have the following assets:

1. Mission based assets.

2. Human (resources) assets.

3.  Community assets.

Mission based assets are “What you do.” All of the activities and all steps for each of your programs are your mission based assets. Identify what assets and resources you already have and build your choices on those assets.

Make sure that your budget and business plan is focus on your mission and vision. Some activities that are not directly related to your mission may have to be cut. Identify how each asset or resource can help you obtain your mission.

Also, please remember that some time you may not need to focus on the money. You may be better served, if you focus on human resources. Utilized your human assets for their ideals, knowledge and though about how your organization may better reach its mission.

There are prediction and believe that these tough time will make it a challenge to recruit volunteers. At a time when many organizations are struggling to find new funding, reaching out to old donors while attempting to fulfill their missions; the volunteers necessary to accomplish all of this may be getting harder to recruit and keep.

I believe that you can still successful recruit volunteers by adjusting to the changing time. Look at the newly retired baby boomers and the millions of recently released employees whom may be out of the work market for a long time. That is a large pool of valuable talent and resources from which you can recruit. You must, show your volunteers that they are really appreciated by listen to them and respecting their ideals while you also increase your volunteers recognition programs.

You should utilize your community assets. Sometimes it may be best to collaborate with other organizations. Even in better economic times it’s better for nonprofit organization to collaborate. In these tough times it may be essential for some organizations survival. There are many free assets available in your community, including businesses, schools, churches, hospitals, government agencies and the media.

I recent read a Washington Post editorial by Michelle Singletary where she stated “I know that in tough time you want to pull back on your spending, including planed donations, but that’s exactly when your giving should not go down–when the need is so great.” Ms. Singletary  suggested that the way to continue giving is to be a regular donor. She said “Another way to find money to give,  de-cutter your house. Pack up all the stuff you’re not using and sell it at a flea market or online and donate the proceeds .You should make this a yearly fundraiser in your household.” There are many community assets that go untapped and under used by nonprofit organization.  The media is very under utilized by the nonprofit sector.                                 ‘

Review and utilize all of your organizations available assets and collaborate whenever possible. Think creatively and go were others nonprofit organizations have not gone. Don’t be left out! Your organizations can thrive in hard times.

More information, suggestions and tips on how to thrive in hard times coming in later posts. Look to see you around early August 2009.

Please take a look at my website and newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other please forward so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

Things Too Ponder

Why are we struggling with our fund raising?  There are many reasons why you may be struggling with your  fund raising and a course the economy may be a major reason. According to Giving USA corporate donation which is roughly 5 percent of all giving dropped by 8 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars. Individual bequest declined at a rate of 6.4 percent. The drop in the amount of bequest is believed a result of people who had made provisions for charity upon death changing their plan when the economic situation forced many of their families to need help. Giving USA stated “It’s estimated that 6.42 billion in lost funds from new philanthropy during 2008 can be directly tied to businesses not being able to do business, thus not hiring people and keeping jobs in their communities”

The economic is certainly affecting the ways people are giving. Accordingly, nonprofits will need to become more creative in their fundraising  efforts. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Show your appreciation! People love to feel that they are appreciated. Be kind and friend when you’re asking for help. Being positive and showing real enthusiasm can win over donors and volunteers. Many times volunteers are more important than money.
  • Create a personal relationship with the donors! Many times people are more willing to give when they have a personal relationship with the person or organization asking for the donation. Donors feel as if they are helping a friend or member of their family. Whenever possible ask for the donation in person.
  • Look for businesses that can have a relationship with your organization! Offer something of value to the businesses for their donations. Sometime it could be publicity which is a great exchange for a donation.

Del Martin, Chair of Giving USA Foundation said “With the United States mired in a recession throughout 2008. There no doubt in anyone’s mind that charitable giving would be down, however, what we find remarkable, is that individuals, corporation and foundations still provided more than$307 billion to causes they support, despite the economic conditions.” Although, there is a definite drop in giving, donors are still giving therefore the nonprofit sector must do more with less.

Accordingly, your organization should take a good look at similar organizations that are successful or doing better with their fundraising efforts. In business you should always know what your competitors are doing and if they are successful you should consider following their lead. This business practice may also be helpful to nonprofit as well. Your organization must continual to research and come up with creative solutions on how to become better at its fundraising efforts.

Quote O f The  Moment

“The difference between an obstacle and an opportunity is our attitude towards  it. Every opportunity has a difficulty, and every difficulty has an opportunity.” — J. Sidlo Baxter

If you know of any nonprofit organizations doing great work , please sent me an email. The organizations may get mention in a later post or may even get listed as a resource on my web site. Please take a look at my newsletter for other tips, resources and valuable information.

If you know of resources that you think would be helpful to other, please forward their contact information so that we can share it. Keep checking back here for more information, ideals and comments as we moved forward in these tough times.

See you soon!