Let’s be honest, there are a lot of superfluous nonprofits out there. Organizations with meaningful missions that are too small or are too narrowly focused to have a strong impact. As much I appreciate their mission and passion, most of these nonprofits are not going to survive the year.
The nonprofit landscape is going to get slimmer as smaller, younger organizations without an established and wide-ranging donor base will not have the capacity to operate. Even established nonprofits will face downsizing and revenue shortfalls if the economy enters a recession. As nonprofit leaders you need to think about how to ensure your organization’s Post-Covid-19 survival.
How can your nonprofit withstand a Post-Covid-19 world?
Innovation & Collaboration.
These aren’t just buzz words — they are a call to action for any organization wishing to stay relevant within a post-Covid-19 world.
Organizations must pivot their mission to align with the needs and realities of today’s communities. The nonprofits on the front lines of poverty and food insecurity have an overwhelming demand right now and their place in the future is secure. Organizations that are not in this space should find a way to be relevant in this area. This is not mission creep or abdicating your cause; it’s survival. Making your organization relevant and being impactful in the community is essential to maintaining a nonprofit in post-Covid-19.
For example, let’s say you run an interfaith nonprofit devoted to teaching about diverse religious traditions. You could offer an interfaith prayer service during this time of crisis to bring people together; provide grocery deliveries for those in the faith community who are quarantined and cannot do their shopping; set up a phone-a-friend to reach out to people and help them feel connected during an isolating time.
Moving your programming online is not enough to guarantee support. You need to seek out really innovative ways to make your organization relevant to the community today. For smaller organizations this is particularly challenging as they are limited by staff size and resources. Which brings me to the next point.
Now more than ever organizations need to work together. Less programs and events will be offered as nonprofits begin to recover and have smaller staff. This is an incredible opportunity for like-minded organizations to work together. Too often organizations duplicate programming, competing with each other for participants and speakers/ideas. As organizations will be forced to “trim the fat” and limit what services they offer this is a perfect opportunity for nonprofits to discover the mutual rewards of collaborative efforts.
Sharing expenses and staff nonprofits can work together on programs as well as services. Some very real and serious collaborations could even help financially through sharing the costs of staff or freelancers for marketing, graphic design, and fundraising.
Working together organizations can exemplify how they are community-minded, impactful, and able to withstand crises. Donors and foundations will be much more likely to support those organizations who can collaborate to address community needs. The post-Covid-19 landscape is not a winner-take-all, zero-sum environment. Instead it is an opportunity for bigger, broader impact with organizations that are fluid, relevant, and responsive. Organizations that survive Covid-19 are the ones that can innovate and collaborate.