Whether you are focused on civic improvement, social causes or health and wellness, you started your nonprofit small business to make a positive difference. If you run one of these organizations that makes up 10 percent of the U.S. business landscape, you understand your need for consistent funds is every bit as important as for-profit businesses.
Like many small businesses, you may be feeling the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) economy. Maybe even more so as your financial donors may be stretched trying to make ends meet, while the people and communities you serve may have a greater need for your services as the U.S. unemployment rate continues to climb to record levels.
In these difficult times, what can you do to continue your mission of service while keeping your organization running strong?
With more of your customers staying home and spending a greater amount of time online, it’s important to build or expand your website. This gives customers a point of reference for updates about your latest community efforts and helps them stay connected with your mission.
There has been a dramatic increase in online sales during the coronavirus crisis. Leverage this trend by adding an eCommerce page to your website that will encourage contributions and make it easy for people to donate. Having your own eCommerce page ensures a safe, secure environment for your followers’ personal and financial information and also protects your organization. SSL certificates protects your followers’ private data and lets them know your website is trustworthy. Posting donation pages on social channels like Facebook and Twitter does not provide donors and your business with this same level of high security.
During this time of social distancing, there are additional things you can do to stay in close contact with your supporters. Be consistent with social media posts to keep your nonprofit top of mind with donors and those who need your services. Email previous contributors and contact new ones to remind them of the importance of your services to the community. A prominent online presence is critical to your ability to help others in need in times like these.
Take a fresh look at your approach. You should call your most valuable and loyal donors and check in on their health and well being. It’s not always about fundraising – it’s also about keeping the bonds strong and networking as much as you can. Your actions may or may not yield immediate donations but they will help build relationships that solidify financial contributions over the long term.
Make it easier for new and repeat donors to support your cause. Encourage them to sign up for monthly debits which can automatically be withdrawn from their bank accounts. Giving a small amount each month rather than one large contribution is more budget friendly to most people, especially in times like these. As an added benefit, this approach will provide your organization with a steady stream of funding.
Blog about current events and your role in serving others to position yourself as a thought leader and your organization as a valuable and essential part of the community. One way to boost your public relations efforts is by keeping the media informed about your latest efforts. Share press releases to create interest and newsworthiness about your nonprofit. Volunteering is also a great option when things are challenging and contributions slow down. This will help your community, build morale among team members and demonstrate your organization’s selflessness and dedication to others.
The coronavirus crisis has presented challenges for almost everyone. If you are struggling to continue operations, there are a number of options to explore for aid or temporary relief.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is providing loans and grant opportunities to nonprofit organizations; you can find more details on this through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Check with state and local municipalities to see what other options may be available. For example, the city of New York recently created a $78 million coronavirus rescue fund for NYC nonprofits. Additionally, find out if you can defer or delay rent payments and other expenses for your operation. Many landlords and businesses will be empathetic to your mission and situation, especially now.
As a last resort, you may have to reduce your workforce. If possible, explore furloughing your personnel which allows them to collect unemployment, potentially keep their health insurance benefits and may help them to reclaim their position when things improve.
During times of crisis, looking back at your goals and motivation for starting your nonprofit will restore your spirit and give you the energy to navigate the path forward. Trust your mission and use your cause of helping communities as a motivating factor to continue onward. Remember, tough times never last but resilient people and organizations do.
Others in your organization may be feeling the stress and burden of these times even if they don’t vocalize it. Meet with your team regularly. Especially when many people are working from home, a daily video conference can help you keep your employees engaged and updated. Use this slower time to plan your revitalization, organize and get ready for better times ahead. Make a point of sharing your strategy and mindset with all team members to keep everyone engaged.
A crisis can challenge even the best organizations and yours is no exception. By following these tips and staying true to your mission, you’ll continue to help those in need while inspiring contributions that will lead to brighter days. Web.com is here to assist you every step of the way.