Getting Back to Business: Keeping Your Non-Profit Organization Economically Viable in a COVID-19 World

Your Organization and its vital programs are needed now more than ever. The demand for the types of services non-profits typically provide continues to increase while the availability of donor funds declines. Just as any for-profit business, non-profits must focus on long-term strategies, potentially reinventing their methods of providing services or even rethinking the services themselves. 

Some questions the Board may want to consider are:

  • How are your current programs impacted by the pandemic and/or the government guidelines that were enacted in response to the pandemic?
  • Are there new programs we can develop that might be more impactful? Are current programs less relevant now?
  • Are there causes that would motivate staff and donors to get more involved in your Organization thereby raising awareness and donations?
  • Can we develop more innovative ways to reach donors such as virtual fund-raising events?

Getting your financial house in order is of key importance in this planning process. Now is the time to reach out to your Organization’s financial consultants. Without financial stability, your Organization’s future is uncertain.  

  • The first step is to know exactly where you stand currently.  
    • What is the cash position and how much is available for current use?  
    • Do you have endowments and are they invested properly? 
    • Work with your accountant to create cash flow projections by listing anticipated monthly operating costs and projected revenue from fundraising efforts and revenue-generating programs.  
    • Once you have the proper financial data, discuss ways to cut costs, and improve efficiency.  
    • Speak with your development department about what funding sources may have dried up and what new sources may be available.
  • The next step is to set clearly defined goals (both short-term and long-term) regarding what your Organization is looking to accomplish in the future. 
    • Work with your staff and accountant to create budgets for each department and each program. 
    • Consolidate each of these individual budgets into a budget for your Organization as a whole.  
    • Be sure to consider best and worst-case scenarios and make sure there is a plan for each possibility. 
    • The budget should be reviewed and approved by the Board to be sure it is realistic, and it achieves the goals defined at the outset.
  • Lastly, be sure the budget is being monitored closely and on a regular basis. Remain flexible and be able to update your budget quickly in response to situations that are constantly changing.

If you would like additional information, please contact your Gettry Marcus Advisor or Pamela Burman, the author of this article.