Roadmap to Success in 2021

Recently, Small Shop Fundraising, a podcast hosted by GF&M’s Liz Hack, spoke with the Associate Director at Kentucky Nonprofit Network (KNN), Laura Whitaker. In December of 2020, KNN collected survey responses from nonprofits in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. You can find the survey report and slide links at the bottom of this post.

Admittedly, there were some very dismal numbers from the respondents. For example, 46% of the respondents reported current or expected reduction in services impacting over 900,000 Kentuckians due to lack of funding. 54% of nonprofits reported current or expected increase in the demand for services, resulting in a $13.6 million increase in expenses to date due to Covid-19. So while the need is increasing, the ability to provide services is stagnant or decreasing. How is a nonprofit to survive this environment? Some Kentucky nonprofits haven’t, KNN reported from their survey that 7% of nonprofits have closed their doors for good.

Nonprofits Find Hope

Even in uncertain times, nonprofits find hope through flexibility and partnership. That’s our analysis of how nonprofits will be successful in 2021. Below are four ways to find success:

  1. Willingness to Collaborate with Others
    The saying, “It takes a village” has never been more real for nonprofits than in 2021. In 2020, nearly half the respondents from the survey said they started new collaborations that will be permanent partnerships. My analysis is collaborations were initially formed to help keep costs low but perhaps nonprofits found a new way of providing much needed services. Collaborations, the partnership, can take many forms but there needs to be an openness by staff and board members to allow for partnerships to form. Change is hard especially when being forced to by a world wide pandemic. But an open mind to the partnership possibilities can ease the anxiety of change. How can your nonprofit benefit from collaborations?
  2. Deliberately Find and Recruit Board and Committee Members to Help Build Collaborative Relationships
    Does your nonprofit want to provide services in public schools? Are you interested in partnering with artists, the county jail, homeless shelters, addiction clinics, etc.? My suggestion to you is to then work with your board and volunteers to find ways to connect to those entities and their leadership. Share with them your mission, your goals and make the case for partnering as a win-win for all. And then ask them to join you in bettering the community. They can then champion the idea of the strategic alliance within their organization. What organizations/business entities would your nonprofit find success in partnering with and who can help you get connected to them?
  3. Stay Relevant With Needs In Your Community
    The KNN survey asked respondents what were the top areas of increased need from clients. Out of the 18 areas, the top five in order were:
    – Food Insecurity
    – Housing
    – Mental Health
    – Utilities
    – Employment
    How can your nonprofit support the top needs of your community? Is there a business or nonprofit you can collaborate with to support the increased needs? Collaboration can again provide opportunities for nonprofits to impact growing areas of need in communities. I’m not suggesting to change your mission to try and meet the needs of the now. Rather, creatively consider how your mission can support the growing needs of our communities right now.
  4. Look for Fee for Service Revenue Streams
    As traditional revenue streams, like special events, fail to meet their goals in years past, innovative nonprofits start to build other opportunities. One of them is fee for service or earned revenue opportunity. From the KNN survey many nonprofits are hoping to build or strengthen this income stream as a means to stay open and thrive in 2021.
    How can your nonprofit monetize a program, service or product to diversify your income stream?

These four ways are not silver bullets to success. Merely, four initiatives to consider adding to the mix of other partnerships and other fundraising strategies. With these and other strategies nonprofits can continue to lead communities to better days and creating hope where it was once lost.

A BIG thank you to Kentucky Nonprofit Network for their continued support of nonprofits in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

KNN Website
KNN Survey Slides
KNN Summary Report

Here’s the link to the podcast episode with Laura Whitaker on Small Shop Fundraising! You can now listen on Apple Podcast!

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