Opportunities for Nonprofit Organizational Growth in a Changing Economy
The recent and ongoing pandemic wreaked havoc on the ability of many U.S. nonprofits to fundraise in traditional ways. Current instability in the U.S. economy, the stock market, and ongoing international conflict has brought significant impacts to the U.S. and our economy overall.
The US is still weathering instability of consumer confidence as inflation hit extreme peak in June of 2022 which saw a 9.1 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index, and July of 2022 which saw a 8.5 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index according to the New York Times.
Meanwhile a red hot labor market still is keeping unemployment down and an ongoing need for qualified talent as made the employment sector one of the bright spots of the US economy.
Donor Behavior And Preferences Continues To Evolve
The pandemic in the past two years forced many nonprofits to connect with donors virtually or change how their traditional fundraising events were being approached. There are still significant lingering effects and challenges for the sector whose hardware and technology are not as robust as for-profits overall.
New Market Forces Are At Play
We now have new market forces entering the US national landscape and economy such as fear of recession, real supply chain complications, international conflicts, new federal policies, incentives, and interest rate changes that have a very dramatic effect in individual industries and philanthropic behavior.
The capacity of donors, corporate partners, sponsors, members, and volunteers has significantly changed in the past year as their strategic goals have also changed. It is more important than ever before to meet donors and supporters where they are and appeal to how they want to be approached. There is significant increasing competition in the nonprofit sector. As there are more choices of organizations in the current day, virtual events and programming has opened up national major gifts partnership opportunities for savvy nonprofits whose programs appeal to audiences outside of local regions.
Nonprofit Events Are Returning To In-Person But Attendance Is Still Difficult
From 2021 and 2022 much of the U.S. nonprofit sector held online virtual events and fundraising events. Now fast forward to current day the majority of the U.S. nonprofit sector is back to leveraging larger in-person fundraising or trying to get their supporters back out in-person.
Much of the United States is still learning how to co-exist in a Covid heavy society. How these events take place, how successful they are, their regional cultural acceptance and the requirements for such events can vary greatly depending on your location/state. Many organizations are not seeing the same turnout as in prior years as some donors are being highly selective, have been hit by inflation/money is tight, or are not fully ready to return to in-person events. Additionally, many nonprofits are all returning back to large scale events at the same time. This create competition for attendance as so many events are being planned.
With this overall shift brings opportunity for nonprofits to take advantage of market changes to help your organization grow. The following are a list of opportunities to consider that foster organizational growth within the current trend and shifting landscape of changing economies.
Large Corporations Are Continuing To Bring Their Staff Back Onsite + Selective Layoffs:
From Apple to Google to Salesforce and other large employers are starting to require their staff to be in office more. This brings a significant opportunity for nonprofits who are open to hiring fully remote workers. Many workers have been exceptionally effective in a fully remote model and are seeking to work in roles in this model. This brings a competitive advantage for employers open to hiring 100% remote workers. Now is the time to adjust your long-term remote policy to hire the best talent on the market. Corporations are also looking for compelling offerings for their on-site employees. Thus, there could be onsite program and partnership opportunities for organizations to consider pitching depending on your mission. Further some corporations have exercised selective layoffs and taken the recent market changes as a sign to pre-adjust for any potential economic stability to come.
Corporations and All US Sectors Are Looking For In-person Events To Spread Their Message:
The pandemic put a serious hold on industry events, networking conferences, and opportunities for corporate partners to attend in-person events. Corporations and brands have been starved for public in person events. Organizations that move quickly to land these partners for their large scale events while there is such a push to get corporate messages out will gain valuable new partners. Most large corporations and growing brands are very interested in finding new events, markets and sales opportunities to grow their brand awareness.
Mass Employment Shifts:
Major news outlets have shared the statistic that one in five staff members have been looking to change jobs after/at the end of the pandemic. In addition, there has been a huge increase in staff members seeking more meaning in their work and wanting to work for employers who care about their team. Increasingly job seekers are desiring work that holds meaning and connection for them while also at a livable wage. The combination of individuals seeking new opportunities and also seeking meaning in their work presents an opportunity to hire experienced and talented staff. Now is the time to have a hiring strategy to reach this talent.
Economic Viability Adjustments and Calls To Action For Funders:
Operating with a sustainable financial model has never been more important. Many nonprofit organizations have seen an increase in demand for services while also experiencing significant changes and hurdles to their funding. Funders are well educated on the challenges most nonprofit organizations have faced recently. Using the market forces and news which impacts your organization can present significant funding opportunities to have your donors and partners double down to help you become more financially secure. This takes being willing to have personal and individual conversations with donors. Presenting the specific challenges facing your organization can be a significant motivator for major donor giving. Do not underestimate the power of sharing knowledge and truth to help your organization be financially sustainable. Sometimes crisis can be a powerful motivator for change and organizational growth. Significant opportunities exist for organizations to join forces, merge, go virtual, and recreate their business model while also staying true to their mission.
There have been incredible wins and losses realized in the stock market, in crypto currency, and real estate. There is ongoing discussion that significant market decline is ongoing or possible in the near future. This is widely debated and not agreed upon. But what we know for sure is market instability is a driving force to encourage investors to take money off the table. With such asset sales/gains comes significant tax liability that can be offset by making donations. Having an outreach plan that can put your organization in front of investors can make amazing impact. These individuals with newfound wealth are an amazing network to tap into. Also, if you are not set up to accept bitcoin, crypto and PayPal you should be immediate rectifying this. If you wait, you will likely miss your opportunity when a funder is seeking to give through these alternate means. It takes time to set this up and you do not want to miss your window!
The Power of Now:
Allowing your internal organizational structure to limit your success is one of the leading causes of declining organizational mission impact. Now is the time to educate your board on the importance of your organization evolving and capitalizing on the shifting employment and market forces. Organizations that limit their thinking and confine their decisions and operations to past historic process will never grow in scale. Building an impactful, creative, experienced and positive board is extremely important. Also, creating a positive culture for your employees to thrive by removing roadblocks is extremely important. Now is the time to invest in your organization’s future and leverage the new business demands.
About This Nonprofit Blog
This nonprofit blog editorial is provided by Foundation List. The information herein is not legal advice nor specific strategy advice for your organization. This information is provided as a learning tool for the nonprofit sector. Any strategic direction or path should be carefully reviewed to ensure it is viable for your organization or business model. We additional highly suggest hiring a fundraising or organizational development consultant to ensure your organization is set for success!