Keeping with our recent nonprofit fundraising theme here on The Winn Group blog, today we thought we’d share a little insight into how you can insulate your nonprofit from the effects of the current economic climate. So, if you want to know how to recession-proof your nonprofit – keep reading…this might be just the information you’ve been waiting for.
Did you know that nonprofit organizations contribute 5% to the nation’s overall GDP? AND, did you know that nonprofit employment makes up 10% of the nation’s workforce? With this kind of impact on the national economy, you can bet that your nonprofit adds a piece to that pie.
So here’s how to make sure that your nonprofit does it’s part to keep the country and your operations running.
1) Don’t make a big deal about your nonprofit’s economic situation
More than likely, you’ve noticed by now that your donor base has diminished on some level. Don’t make a big deal about that. Why? People don’t care. Really, they don’t. Why? Because everyone’s in a bind. Everyone is cutting back and if your nonprofit looks like it’s desperate for money, people are going to start playing that infamous “world’s smallest violin” on your behalf. It’s a turn off if your message is whiney. The takeaway: Fundraise, yes. Sound desperate, no!
2) Fundraise more and fundraise smarter
O.K. Don’t sound desperate (check). In a recent TWG blog, our resident nonprofit fundraising expert, Stacy Varghese, shared that individual donors are, by a huge margin, your largest funding source. So, take a look at your fundraising strategy (don’t have one? GASP! – email Beth and let her know you need some help) and make sure you are employing certain low cost, high exposure, high ROI fundraising initiatives.
Also, in an earlier blog, we talked about cause centered fundraising verses brand centered fundraising (hint: you should read this before moving on). We suggest that you look at the potential “causes” that you can wrap fundraising campaigns around and begin executing those using low cost, high exposure, high ROI avenues. Again, email Beth if you need some help with this.
3. Finally, cut costs, not revenue
Often when faced with financial uncertainty, nonprofits start looking for ways to cut costs…sadly, many times they cut the areas that typically are vital to their revenue stream. For-profit companies have a rule: advertise before you pay your rent. If you think for a second, this makes a lot of sense. After all, if you dry up the process (and the support) by which you bring in your income, how will you have income to pay your operations costs? So, be smart when you cut and rather than cutting areas that effect your marketing and fundraising – look for cheaper paper clips instead.
Obviously, we are just touching the surface of the myriad of different ways you can protect your nonprofit in tough financial times. But using these 3 top level insights will ensure that your nonprofit will glide through periods of uncertainty. So, remember: 1) when you fundraise, don’t sound desperate, 2) fundraise more, but fundraise smarter and 3) in your cost cutting, don’t cut areas that are invaluable to your revenue stream.
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