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How Nonprofits Can Reinvent During Economic Uncertainty

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how nonprofits reinvent

Uncertainty and new challenges are threatening the survival of many businesses.

Climate change, technology, and, more recently, disruption to supply chains are playing a role in disrupting recovery post-pandemic and now in 2023 the recession.

Many companies that would ordinarily be back to normal operations have found trading challenging due to their over-reliance on just-in-time inventory and delivery.

Many more worries exist for businesses, including staffing, working capital, and cash flow constraints.

Do you think nonprofits are fairing any better than for-profit businesses? Nonprofits also need to find solutions to staffing and financial management limitations and how to bring money in – i.e., fundraising.

In a recession or economic recovery, where trading is slow for-profit businesses have an easier time than nonprofits generating revenue. Business survival is the focus now, and in this article, we look at how nonprofits can stay in business when the world around them is changing.

A CharityNetUSA report found nonprofits experienced lost revenue, cash flow and staffing issues due to COVID-19:

  • Of the 79% of nonprofits that lost revenue during the pandemic, 38% say it was more than 50%
  • Only 25% of nonprofits say they have enough cash flow for expenses
  • 60% of nonprofits had to furlough staff

Recovery and Reinvention

Creating a nonprofit is no simple task, and if your nonprofit was doing well before the pandemic, you could start your recovery process right where you left it in good working order.

Analyze what was working and find out if it can perform once again as it did before.

Plus, now is as good a time as any to identify what areas of the operation need improvement.

Raise the bar higher, so your objective is to be successful again and sustainable when market confidence takes a turn for the worse and consumers stop giving.

The Mission Revision

Revise your mission statement – for today and the new normal. Forbes says nonprofits can focus on equity and inclusion. Covid-19 revealed health inequities among different races and areas with under-resourced communities. Nonprofits can show they’re making a stand for inclusion and equality with their systems and volunteers, as well as external participation in events.

A relevant and purposeful mission statement is the best way to get employees, volunteers, and potential donors on board.

Letting people see what they are investing in and giving them something to relate to is a way to draw in money and word-of-mouth marketing. has tips on writing a mission statement.

Funding may come from unusual sources

While individual donors are fantastic, that’s not the only source.


Grants given by large entities such as businesses, organizations, or even government agencies can be an enormous help. Research grants that apply to your organization and apply for them.

Getting a grants management system is vital for this, as there are typically many out there to apply to, each with its own nuanced application process.

Ethical investing collaboration

Ethical investing and social enterprise are synergistic and can drive awareness, recognition and raise funds from sources including for-profit businesses, trusts, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, celebrities and so on.

Seek ways to partner on marketing campaigns and social and environmental awareness events.

Finding the right people must include remote working

You want every person involved in your nonprofit to believe in your cause, from the board director to the newest volunteer. Everyone should understand your mission statement, which should resonate with their values.

Not only do you want passionate people, but those who are highly qualified that provide the skills needed to make things run smoothly. You will also want diversity, especially for the board of trustees, so that a variety of skills is present and broader networks.

A nonprofit that creates an online collaborative space is more likely to succeed. Plus, using remote working tools encourages cohesion of purpose.

Use online collaboration tools for virtual meetings, programs, and fundraising events.

A Publicity Plan

Work with your team to outline a plan that looks at how many channels your organization can promote to its target audience. Test many methods, evaluate the most effective, and focus on those to drive donations.

Determine what makes your nonprofit stand out and use that as a hook. Be repetitive. Studies show that people must see a message seven times before it sinks in.

Constant Introspection and Flexibility

The same fundraiser events that worked pre-Covid may not be as effective now.

Take the time to carefully evaluate your fundraising methods and to whom they’re personalized, as it’s likely many of your donators can no longer give as much or at all.

Be open to change. You may even want to invite an outside source to look at your internal and external efforts to see where you could improve.