Nonprofit Survival: Four Steps to Take Now

Photo by Flickr user markandrew.

Photo by Flickr user markandrew.

Nonprofit executive directors Judith Alnes of MAP for Nonprofits and Kate Barr of Nonprofits Assistance Fund collaborated to write the commentary for the Winter 2009 edition of our Giving Forum newspaper. They acknowledge the severity of the economic condition, while offering some words of wisdom for how organizations can survive.

Those of us in leadership roles should remember that this time will be judged by the actions we take or the actions we fail to take. Not every organization will make it through this economic fire intact. But those who do will have a great deal in common — a willingness, in the face of tough situations, to make tough choices that preserve the best of what we do.

Barr and Alnes outline four keys:

  • Step 1: Focus
  • Step 2: Identify Your Most Important Work
  • Step 3: Seek and Speak Financial Truth
  • Step 4: Review Size, Scope and Structure

Another suggestion is that organizations should take advantage of the “ideas, energy and capacity” of younger staff members: in addition to the obvious support they provide, the experience will help train them for the future.

Read the article for their advice about how to implement each of the steps.

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2 Responses to Nonprofit Survival: Four Steps to Take Now

  1. Crystal says:

    Kate Barr expands on this topic on her own blog, Balancing the Mission Checkbook: Who Said Leadership Was Fun?

  2. coalescentmarketing says:

    I assume there is more behind your suggestions for focusing and reviewing structure. Many, if not most, nonprofits leave marketing strategy and structure until there is a crisis. This is a good time to review and focus on the marketing and branding strategies if they exist. If they do not, it is a good time to evaluate whether they need to be developed. Too many times the benefit of good marketing and branding strategy and execution is not understood in its ability to drive increased donor support and fundraising. In an entry titled “Do Nonprofit Brands Have Personality” ( I discuss the benefits of understanding and developing a nonprofit brand personality. I believe it can be of help during difficult times such as this because brand value makes our marketing job easier. I would like to hear your thoughts.

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