How to operate in the post-recession era

February 24, 2014

How to operate in the post-recession era

As the U.S. continues to move out of the recession, fundraising is picking up. Surviving without disappearing state and federal funds now seems as if it may be possible. The Daily Times recently highlighted a story about a Virginia nonprofit that was able to beat the odds and remain open, even as the recession nearly wiped it out before 2012.

The Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence found out in the summer of 2012 that a $20,000 state grant that had received since 1996 would no longer be available. The grant made up a significant portion of the organization's budget and there was fear that the group would have to close its doors.

However, following a new, strategic approach to fundraising, the organization was able to raise $90,000, paid off its mortgages and is now on firm financial footing. Nonprofits across the country experienced both a decrease in funding from private donors and federal and state grants. This has changed the way that nonprofits must build their budgets and collect revenue, and it will likely continue even as the recession improves.

New models of operation are here to stay
It's hard to predict how much governmental funding will return to a nonprofit or when it will disappear again. The recession forced nonprofits to not only operate with a smaller budget, but many found themselves with an increased demand as well. While signs that fundraising is improving is good news for budgets, meeting demand must be handled carefully.

Many workers at organizations that were on the verge of closing gave nearly all they had to keep the doors open. Kristin Davis, vice president of communications and marketing for the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, told The Daily Times that employees who made it through the turbulent years that began in 2008 are feeling exhausted. While doing more with less will be key moving forward, organizations must ensure that their employees do not burn out.

It would be wise to ensure that as new funds begin rolling in, some are used to improve the administrative and staffing side of the organization. Organizations should meet with their employees and determine how their jobs differ from before the recession. Perhaps they took on significant responsibilities in order tighten the budget, but now feel overwhelmed. As nonprofits pull out of the storm, it's time to reassess how they will operate moving forward. 

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