Check out the latest Nonprofit MBA Podcast right here…on how nonprofits can thrive, even in a pandemic!
Summary: In today’s podcast episode, Stephen Halasnik and his guest Margit Brazda Poirier discuss how you can thrive during all seasons, no matter how the economy is doing. During the Coronavirus pandemic, many nonprofits have struggled immensely. Maybe you had to furlough employees, fundraising was cut back, or simply your overall business model was forced to turn around, you are not the only one. The effects of the pandemic resulted in an inevitable recession, but it is never too late to save your nonprofit. The Covid-19 crisis has caused the nonprofit sector to into a major decision-making mode, however today you can gain some tips to thrive during tough times.
During the pandemic, nonprofits faced various different issues. Some faced a major loss of state funding, some lost corporate funding, and others lost federal funding. However, there are three tips you can integrate into your nonprofit practice in order to “reverse” or bounce back from a loss of funding.
1. Contact: Staying in contact with new and old funders
2. Consistency: Stay consistent with the application
3. Congruency: Align your mission with your grant applications
The first “C” is contact. Essentially this is to make sure you are staying in contact with your funders and people who are supporting your nonprofit. It may seem like a no-brainer, however, it can get easy to lose contact with people especially if you have been unable to see them in person due to Covid-19. However, just like many others are doing, try to attend as many Zoom virtual events and webinars as possible. More often than not, the pandemic has made it tricky to justify asking for money, especially when you are not delivering any programs due to CDC safety protocols and social distancing.
Keep in mind that a private foundation has to give up 5% of its annual assets of how it finished the year prior (which would have been 2020) in 2021. Thus, many private foundations still have money that they need to give out via grants, and other means, so don’t feel shy. If you have never applied for a grant, this is the perfect time to do so. Additionally, foundations tend to want to give you more than the minimum 5% because they know people are suffering.
The bottom line here is to contact new and old foundations and stakeholders and provide them with three things. First, tell them how your organization is doing during these times (don’t be afraid to keep it real). The second thing is to tell them what you are doing currently. Whatever your nonprofit is doing to help and mend issues or work toward your mission, share it. Lastly, tell the funders you are talking to why you are still doing what you’re doing. The “why” is critical” and the most important because your reasoning for why is what sells funders on choosing you. If your “why” connects to their mission, the downturn will be much less likely.
It has been no secret that the “new normal” which nonprofits and many others have had to adjust to has been difficult. Board members and even executive directors have lost the spunk they once had and mental health can even be challenging. This is a natural reaction for nonprofits to have, especially when fundraisers and other means of raising money have been completely eliminated.
A tip for staying consistent would be to get at least two grant applications out the door every month. Funders usually take three to six months to even reply and get the money in your hands. So if you are consistent with applications every month, this can turn into a part of your revenue stream. Oftentimes, very small nonprofits that are run by only a handful of people feel as though they don’t have time to sit around and apply all day for money. However, a tip here is to create a universal template for yourself that can be used for many different applications. When you go to apply you will just have to make a quick simple tweak, and this should make the process much faster. If you need immediate funding check out the Cares Act or the Small Business Administration for immediate relief options if that is a concern.
Congruence by definition is all about the quality of agreeing or being suitable. Your actions and mission should agree with the foundation to which you are applying to. Whatever work you’re doing, has to go right to the heart and align with either the private foundation, state funding, or federal funding.
In the last year, the pandemic has caused many foundations to pull their resources and fund pandemic relief. This could be related to funding public health safety materials and racial justice and advocacy. In 2021 the funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion has been a huge huge focus for funding coming from all different foundations.
Take a step back and look at your mission or program, and maybe you are already serving a community facing racial or social injustice, and you can apply for grants or funding due to the congruence with the funder’s mission.
At the end of the day, it is crucial to reevaluate your nonprofit and see if your current work aligns you with applications for funding options. In doing this, staying consistent with contacting new and old contacts is crucial. You can’t let contact slip away, as it is great to incorporate into your revenue stream. Grant’s typically shouldn’t make up 100% of your nonprofit revenue, but it is a great stream of income, as long as you’re staying consistent.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to gain a new perspective on things, especially when it comes to the economy and its impact on nonprofits. Sometimes we have to change our ways in order to see significant change. However, if you are willing to put in the work, your nonprofit can reap the benefits of being awarded a grant.
Margit, President of Grants4Good, brings over 25 years of nonprofit management and grants experience to her clients through her company. She holds the GPC certification from the nationally accredited Grant Professional Certification Institute and is one of only 20 nationally approved trainers. Margit has written and received over 30 million in grants from federal, state, private foundation, and corporate sources. She has the unique perspective of understanding both grants seeking and grant-making, given her experience leading a prominent foundation that issued over one million dollars in grants annually.
About Stephen Halasnik
Stephen Halasnik is the host of the popular, Nonprofit MBA Podcast, which introduces timely and significant topics facing nonprofit executive directors, managers, and board members. Mr. Halasnik is also the Cofounder of Financing Solutions which is a leading provider of nonprofit emergency lines of credit. The nonprofit finance funds program is fast, easy, inexpensive, and costs nothing to set up. This type of nonprofit financing is an excellent on-demand, loan for your nonprofit for any emergencies or opportunities. Many times, nonprofits use the credit line for payroll funding when cash flow is temporarily down. To learn more visit Nonprofit line of credit program. You can also call 862-207-4118.
Note: Financing Solutions donates 10% of its profits to various nonprofit charities