With June 30 knocking on the calendar door, now is the time for reflection on how and whether to move ahead. Your nonprofit may have a calendar year that ends on June 30th – or this could be a mid-year point. In all cases, we recommend taking a moment to reflect on the work and value of your organization. Take time to look down the road at what lies ahead – and to look back on from whence you came. There may be a fork in the road, and you could benefit from seeing it.
Sometimes we think of nonprofit organizations or institutions as perpetual entities. We are proud of those we support or work for and those who serve us or advocate for us. But we rarely consider whether or not they should continue to exist. We believe that you can be proud of a nonprofit and at the same time realize that now may be the time to consider merging or dissolving. These are not mutually exclusive realities. Reflection can be a touchstone for growth, but there can be other outcomes.
Here are a few very direct questions you can ponder and discuss amongst board members, staff, volunteers, and even funders and donors. Are we really making an impact, or are we just keeping the doors open? If we are “just” keeping the doors open, is that fair to our community? To our donors? To the larger cause? Is there another organization – emerging or established – that could do a better job at what we are seeking to accomplish? Related to this, is it morally right to seek out and accept resources which otherwise could go to other organizations that could make a greater impact?
Were you designed to be a “forever” nonprofit, or were you born to address a specific need or issue? Do you have the ability to know if you have accomplished your goals and should close because you have done what you set out to do? Are you raising just enough money to operate? Or, are you not raising enough money to operate? Are you consolidating programs and operations, year over year, laying off staff, drawing down your reserve funds or accessing the principal of your endowment? Is there a decline in leadership and commitment? A persistent decline in giving? A decline in awareness and communication? Are there times when you cannot pay staff and/or vendors? Are you finding that your organization’s focus has shifted from programmatic excellence to whether or not you can make ends meet? Are you experiencing a lack of innovation and new projects? Are you doing the same thing year in and year out? Is the organization still relevant? Does it still meet a need?
As we said, these are very direct questions. Don’t be afraid to grapple with these: asking questions can reveal a more powerful future. With over 1.8 million nonprofit organizations in the U.S., there is no lack of people committed to a positive future: It may be time for someone else to pick up the mantle.
Copyright 2023 – 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 or visit www.saadandshaw.com.