What a year it has been! Time itself has lost its meaning, speeding up and slowing down without notice. So much is happening: COVID-19 continues; equity remains a priority; economic uncertainty looms; the backlash against trans people is increasing; Roe vs Wade was overturned; increased federal funding has helped so many avert disaster; the climate keeps changing; and Zoom meetings haven’t gone away! While life is about change, that change has been coming fast, furious, and in unexpected ways. We can be overwhelmed, or we can embrace it. We recommend embracing it – and muttering to loved ones when a respite is needed!
We wish we had a magic wand to wave to make all things good for all people from all political, social, and religious perspectives. Alas, we do not. We are living with conflict and resources that increase and then decrease depending on our personal and family economic/financial status. Sometimes things go “our way” and sometimes they don’t. What do we do? If you are a nonprofit leader – or involved in fundraising for a nonprofit – we recommend optimism, data, systems, heart, relationships, and persistence. Here are a few things to reflect on.
Nonprofits are needed more than ever. But that means we need to be more “on point” than ever. If you have programs or activities that are “good” but don’t align with your mission, consider whether you should continue them. That may sound cruel, but now is the time to look closely at your resources – and those you anticipate securing – to make sure you can do what you need to do. Maybe you need to increase the technical skill level of your employees – where will that money come from? Maybe your organization doesn’t need as much physical space as it used to. Do you renegotiate your lease? Put your excess office or conference up for rent or sale? What do you do when everyone on your team is quitting? Do you put your head in the sand or do you look at compensation, work environment, and the skills and people you absolutely need?
Some nonprofit organizations and institutions – including colleges and universities – have been positively impacted by changes in federal funding, especially the CARES Act and windfall philanthropic gifts. How have you been managing these resources? How will you replace their impact on your annual operating budget? Do you have a “false sense of security” that persistent challenges have been addressed without fundamental changes to your core business operations? Are you putting your hands on your ears when you hear word of an “impending recession?”
Here’s our bottom line: the fundamentals remain the same. Reevaluate, revise and/or reaffirm your mission and vision. Then look at your business plan –how you deliver on that mission and vision. Look closely at how you tell your story, who you are communicating with, and how you embrace and are embraced by those who can advance your work. We need you to stay sharp and stay in the game.
Copyright 2022 – Mel and Pearl Shaw of Saad&Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services. Video and phone conferencing services always available. Let us help you grow your fundraising. Call us at (901) 522-8727. www.saadandshaw.com.