As unemployment rates are still high and the labour market is slowly rebounding after the recession in 2008-09, nonprofit organizations find it especially hard to stay financially stable. Donations are harder to get and the demand for the support needed to help people in poverty grows.

Here are a few strategies for nonprofits in economic bad times.

Develop New Funding Models

During an economic downturn, even though previous donors may be hurt financially, there are some who are even more disadvantaged and need extra support to recover.

New funding methods should be emphasized to meet a grim financial environment. Methods of mass communication such as direct mailing campaigns could become unaffordable.

More low-cost promotional events could be organized, such as forums with speakers speaking on the nonprofit’s causes; the charity’s beneficiaries could be invited to share their stories; documentary screenings and galas could be hosted. The point of all these events is to touch people’s hearts and to create a place where genuine relationships could be made and people are given an opportunity to give financially right then and there.

Instead of only looking for company sponsors, or connected individuals to donate, you can also think about choosing and targeting a key demographic you want to reach, then find out specific social media channels to market and fundraise on.

Evaluate the Marketing Plan

A lot of nonprofits see marketing themselves as a task in a long list of to-dos, when in fact telling their own story is key to their survival.

Prioritize finding time to write out the story of the nonprofit and what makes it so unique amongst many others. If the ‘story’ is not there, it would be very difficult to convince people to donate and give to the nonprofit, especially in a recession.

Focus the marketing plan not only on creating events and requesting for donations, but remember to first come up with a consolidated story to tell about why the nonprofit exists.

Collaborate with Other Nonprofits

Considering reaching out to other nonprofits to weather the bad economy together. There are cases of nonprofits that share offices, bookkeepers, hourly staff and so on to cut down expenses and to manage with the limited resources available.

Moreover, collaborating with organizations sharing the same vision can even strengthen the programs offered by both nonprofits. Through joint purchasing, shared use of transportation, joint staff training and shared IT and development teams, the organizations could double up their manpower to provide better models for the people they serve.

Also, consider using the social enterprise model for certain campaigns, where social responsibility could be pursued and funds raised could be shared between the nonprofits in the co-operative project.

Lesson Learned:

Even through dire economic times, nonprofits can survive through sustainable fundraising models, a new look at what they offer and an open mind to partner with other nonprofits with similar visions.