Saturday, February 28, 2009

There are no rules!

After two weeks of training nonprofits on managing in critical times, I have decided that there are no rules for how to really manage through this economic situation. This crisis is more than a mere recession. We seem to be in for surprises with twists and turns every week. My interaction with so many different types of nonprofits in such a short time has given me some insights into what is happening out there. It seems many are already experiencing a cut in funding, events are not raising as much as expected, donors are donating but dollars overall are down and demand for many services in basis needs is up. Foundations are being more cautious and there is a general feeling that we have too many nonprofits and something has to give.

My no rules has to do with many of the side conversations. Directors are trying to determine if they should make more cuts and what they can use to predict what the rest of the year holds for funding. Most everyone is worried about their jobs. Most nonprofit organizations are not giving raises this year, many have eliminated retirement co-pays and increased co-pays for health insurance. Discussions indicate people are worried as to whether these cuts will be enough or if more are needed.

There are many bright spots with some events producing revenue, new donors signing on and creative social marketing techniques to link people. Some nonprofits have healthy reserves and others are carefully managing their cashflow.

There is general agreement that we are writing the rules as we go. This will mean more meanings, careful planning and much more communication to share what we know and are learning.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Critical Times

Nonprofits face critical times is a topic throughout this sector. Want to know more here is a link to a workshop and several tools for managing financial information, scenario planning and developing critical skills for this uncertain times.

The Northland Foundation in Duluth Mn hosted a workshop for over 150 people to learn about Charting your Course during these times. Speakers included an economist, a nonprofit sector expert and myself with the Management Tips. The Foundation graciously offered to post some of the more important tools for managing in these times.

Check it out!