We learned from you that the Middle Tennessee nonprofit community is
determined to come together to learn strategies from each other on how to
overcome this challenging climate. From all the sessions, we compiled a list of
tips from you and our experts that moderated the sessions.
- Go back to basics: Refresh yourself on your core mission and make sure your organization is only serving that basic principal. If you have to trim, always trim back to your mission.
- If it becomes necessary to merge the organization to keep the programs alive, this might be the time to take that action - remember it is the service that matters rather than the agency.
- To that end, put new initiatives on the back burner… unless you know how you will pay for them in a sustainable way
- If you were planning a capital campaign, consider moving back its starting date; if your capital campaign is in progress, consider a temporary pause in making requests.
- If you need to, cut something loose that you provide as a service that another agency does well. Inform that agency that you are stopping that service so it can pick up the ball.
- Develop contingency plans for different budget models (e.g. 10%, 25% cutback budgets) so you have a back-up plan if past funding sources don’t come through. Use cost/benefit analyses to determine what to reduce and what to maintain.
- In an effort to cut costs, try to renegotiate your leases or other administrative arrangements
- Make sure you have a strong message that you can communicate easily, in writing and verbally, both to use with donors and with the public at-large
- Communicate with board and staff about what is going on
- Use volunteers wherever you can. Be creative. Contact Hands on Nashville at (615) 298-1108 for ideas and assistance.
- A special kind of volunteerism is a loaned executive program. Boomers or others from friendly corporations might take the place of paid staff.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for anything you need. Whether it’s an in-kind donation, or to a contributor that said “no” the first time.
- Consider asking past donors to change restricted gifts into unrestricted for the 2009 year.
- Consider asking past donors to make payments earlier of previously-made pledges.
- Look for creative and innovative ways to raise money.
- Save dollars by outsourcing programs instead of using staff.
- Don’t be afraid to collaborate. Joint ventures can be a great thing for your organization and its long term viability.
- Keep your key funders in the loop (they should not find out what is going on in the media!)
- Engage government and business to influence public policy decisions.