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3 Things Successful Organization Leaders Are Doing Right Now

If you subscribe to nonprofit industry newsletters, you have no doubt seen the doom and gloom headlines about how nonprofits are suffering during the pandemic and some have even been forced to shut their doors completely.

Yes, there are some nonprofits deciding to dissolve, but that doesn’t necessarily spell trouble for every organization in the sector. It’s easy to read these headlines and think the worst, but it’s not all bad news for nonprofits!

We work with nonprofits every day, and we’re seeing innovative leaders using this time to strengthen their organizations so they’re primed to be more successful than ever. Here are some of the things successful nonprofit leaders are doing right now to make their organizations strong and more sustainable:

Diversifying funding streams

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that you shouldn’t put all your eggs all in one basket. You have to be flexible and not too reliant on any one funding source. There are seven income streams available to nonprofits, but too often organizations rely on only one or two individual donors and grants.

Strengthening grassroots donations

While large- and mid-level gift giving has gone down as people are cutting back on spending and waiting to see what the future holds, low dollar amount donations have actually increased.

According to DealAid, as many as 70% of Americans donated to charity in 2020, 8% more than in 2019. Now is the time to beef up your digital fundraising efforts. If you haven't seen a recent increase in donations from email asks, you’re probably leaving money on the table. Make sure your strategy includes strengthening your email list and getting folks off of social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram and onto lists you own (like your email list), so you aren't beholden to frequent algorithm changes.

Evaluating and Adjusting

Maybe you made your five-year plan in early 2020 and are eager to stay the course, but it’s important to keep evaluating, not only your organization and the needs of the community you serve, but also the greater ecosystem in which your organization exists. If your organization did a SWOT analysis more than six months ago, you should revisit it and make sure nothing has changed. As other organizations shift or even shutter, what you once considered a “threat” might now be an “opportunity.” Likewise, if your organization’s strengths were once in-person fundraising or in-person events, that might not still be the case post-pandemic. To be successful, you’ll need to do competitor and SWOT analyses regularly and incorporate them into your ever evolving plans.

Don’t panic — there is still good news for nonprofit organizations. It’s not all doom and gloom. The leaders who will be most successful in the post-pandemic era are those who are thinking strategically, and open to reimagining their work to fit new realities. You’ve got this!


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