The United States has faced numerous recessionary periods over the years. While none in recent memory has been as profound as the current economic crisis, we can, however, learn from past experience. Here are a few things we learned from the last economic downturn:
- Nonprofit organizations with solid foundations including a broad funding base and a strong plan for sustainability are better prepared to survive in all types of economic climate. If your organization answers yes to one or more of the following questions, ask us how we can help you to strengthen your fund-development plan and begin building the systems and relationships you need to promote future success:
- We have not (or have not recently) conducted a rigorous review of our organization’s fundraising needs for the coming years.
- We do not have a clear plan to replace funding streams that are expiring (and may not know exactly when all of them are due to expire).
- We have traditionally relied on just a few funding streams to meet all our needs. If one or more of these funding streams goes away, our organization will face serious problems.
- We don’t have a clear plan to broaden our funding base.
- We rely heavily on only one or two kinds of funding outreach.
- It’s important to continue building and nurturing donor relationships during difficult times. In fact, it’s more important now than ever. If a funder has a strong relationship with your organization, they may be more willing to consider a special appeal for emergency support, or to help introduce you to others that can help, for example. Do you need to strengthen your funding relationships? We’d be pleased to discuss how we can help you.
- We’re all in this together: Funding organizations also typically experience significant challenges during economic downturns, as their portfolios are impacted by the downturn in the financial markets. This may impact their ability to provide your organization with funds. They may give less, or give less frequently than they have in the past, for example. They may also modify their guidelines to ensure that they’re responding to emerging community needs. It’s especially important to remain updated about your funders’ priorities and preferences, at this time and to hone your requests precisely to meet them. Let us know if you need help in this regard.
- Foundations may be less likely to consider requests from nonprofit organizations they haven’t supported in the past. If your nonprofit organization is relatively new, this is even more likely to impact you, as you won’t be able to provide the reassurance of a long track record of sustainability. If you’re in this situation, you may need to restructure your service approach and think more creatively about fund development. We would be pleased to provide consultation to help put you on track to meet your goals.
- Most nonprofits need to take a two-pronged approach in the current economy: continuing to build a strong, competitive fund-development program while carefully reviewing potential cost-savings measures to be implemented in the worst-case scenario. It’s important to have a fund-development team that understands nonprofit finances, and can provide sound input with regard to building a competitive fundraising budget. Consider adding Thurlow/Associates to your team. We’ve helped numerous nonprofit organizations to develop strategic fundraising budgets and strengthen their fund-development programs.
- Public funding may also be impacted by changes in the economy. Today, we’re seeing two contradictory effects: State and local budgets are negatively impacted, resulting in funding cuts or delays. At the same time, some funding opportunities are becoming available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan (the stimulus package) and your organization may be eligible to apply. Because public funding requests are complex and time-consuming, it’s important to ensure that you are truly eligible and can compete successfully for funding. Thurlow/Associates tracks many government funding streams on a daily basis, and helps our clients raise millions of dollars from government sources each year. We’d be pleased to help your organization in this regard, too.
For more information or to request a free initial consultation, contact our principal partner, Victoria Thurlow, at (310) 675-6497, or via e-mail at email@example.com.