How Nonprofits Can THRIVE, Not Just Survive in a Pandemic Economy. Nonprofit MBA Podcast 3.7
Summary: In today’s podcast episode, Stephen Halasnik and his guest Margit Brazda Poirer 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.
The Three “C’s” to Help You Thrive During Times of Crisis
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
Contact: Staying in Contact With Funders
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 2019) in 2020. Thus, many private foundations still have money that they need to give out via grants to nonprofits, 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.
Consistency: Keep Going Even During Challenging Times
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.
Congruency: Align your Nonprofit With the Foundation
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.
About the Guest, Margit Brazda Poirer, President of Grants 4 Good
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 20 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 The Host Stephen Halasnik, Financing Solutions
Stephen Halasnik is the host of the popular, The Nonprofit MBA Podcast. The Nonprofit MBA podcast’s purpose is to help nonprofit leaders. Mr. Halasnik is the Co-founder and Managing Partner of Financing Solutions. Financing Solutions is a leading provider of Lines of Credit to nonprofits and small businesses.
Mr. Halasnik is a graduate of Rutgers University and has an Executive Masters from the MIT Birthing of Giants Entrepreneurship program. Mr. Halasnik is a best-selling Amazon author and is considered a leading authority on building great, purpose-driven businesses. Mr. Halasnik lives in New Jersey with his best friend, his wife Gina. Mr. Halasnik’s number one purpose is raising his two boys, Michael and Maxwell, to be good men.
About Financing Solutions Nonprofit Line of Credit
Financing Solutions nonprofit financing product is a great alternative to a traditional bank line of credit because it costs nothing to set up, nothing until used, and when used, is inexpensive. The credit line requires no collateral and no personal guarantees.
Nonprofit Organizations use their line of credit to help with emergencies or opportunities when cash flow is temporarily down (i.e. Payroll funding)
Please feel free to fill out the no-obligation, 2-minute nonprofit line of credit application here. The time to set up a credit line is when you don’t need it so that it is ready to be used, just in case.
Note: Financing Solutions donates 10% of its profits to various nonprofit charities