Donations are down for everyone across the board. Nevertheless, nonprofits need to be able to see it through and survive. While there's light at the end of the tunnel, COVID-19 is likely to impact nonprofit organizations until mid-2021 — at minimum. The time to start stretching the budget is now.
Now is the time for networking. Reach out to other nonprofit organizations. You may have resources that they need and they may have resources that you need. By working closely with other nonprofit organizations, you may be able to find more opportunities within the community, and more ideas for how to stretch what budget you do have.
Take a Look at Grants
There are many new grants that aren't being publicized and which have been released in response to COVID-19. As many nonprofit organizations are now slimming down on their activity, there's time to invest in looking for grants and other offerings.
As much as possible, nonprofit organizations need to go digital. Not only is it smart because of COVID-19, but running digital events and fundraisers are far less costly. Silent auctions can be held online without risk to participants and with limited expenses.
Non-essential programs will likely need to be dropped or suspended by many nonprofits, simply because it isn't feasible to operate to scale during the pandemic. Have a plan both for scaling back these programs and for reinstating them when the time is right. Take the time to prioritize programs based on their amount of community impact.
Invest in Outreach
While it may be counterintuitive, now is actually a great time for businesses to invest; they get better tax benefits for investing now. Reach out to businesses that are currently successful and ask them for donations. Now could be the time to get new sponsorships.
Leverage Social Media
We already knew that social media was the most affordable marketing channel. Your nonprofit likely already invested money and time into building your social media out; use your social media now to create impact, plan events, organize initiatives, and raise additional funds.
Don't forget to ask your community what they need. During the pandemic, a lot is changing. Your organization's mission may need to shift focus during the pandemic, as your community may need different things from you. It may be that you need to shift your budget around entirely — and you may need to stop spending on programs that aren't useful during this time.
Nonprofit organizations have the unique ability to reach out to their communities — and that is something that should not be underestimated. It's likely that many organizations, nonprofit or otherwise, are going to find themselves scaling back or shutting down entirely. But with the right passion, creativity, and drive, it's possible for the organizations that the community needs the most to still thrive.