Non-profit Organizations: Building Resilience in the Time of COVID

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Non-profit organizations have become more important now that the global pandemic has swept across the globe bringing about job losses and home insecurity. It has become a challenge for many non-government organizations (NGOs) to cover their expenses because donors prioritize projects for the COVID-19 pandemic response. Charities, especially the smaller ones, face different challenges during the time of the pandemic. Often they rely on donations and funding from companies and individuals to provide the help and support they offer to many communities.

Bassam Kassoumeh, Grants Management Professional of says that despite NGOs’ key role in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many are still struggling with funding. Many of these non-profit NGOs are trying to explore other ways to stay resilient in difficult times, and many of them have used the following strategies.

1. Reflect and learn

Being part of a charity is already challenging work. This is why charity leaders need time to reflect on their organization and what they work for. They need to examine their leadership style and think up new ways to receive support and funding.

Such challenges can take its toll on one’s focus and ability to rise above the odds. Through the GSK Impact Awards, the King’s Fund said that charity leaders who were given a chance to focus on their leadership managed to gain so much and have managed to form new partnerships and collaborations to raise awareness of their work.

Time is essential, and it will have huge impacts on their organization.

2. Know the risks of some partnerships

NGOs need partnerships to fund projects and cover costs. However, it is also crucial that charities choose the right partners to maintain a harmonious relationship. Failure to do so can be challenging and will often result in a clash of organizational cultures.

Charities are encouraged to be assertive when negotiating terms with potential partners and being firm in insitive areas such as budget, quality, responsibility and risk.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice

CEOs carry a brunt of the burden when it comes to growing and developing the organization. Not knowing all the answers to solve the organization’s problems can take its toll on you and give you bouts of anxiety. Remember that you are only human, and you may need help when it comes to making decisions. As a CEO, you might have the burden of managing people and making decisions outside your field of specialization. As such, you might need to seek advice with experts in their field.

For instance, if there is a medical emergency, you need to seek a physician, for financial matters, go to a licensed accountant, a licensed broker for stocks, and a licensed general contractor if you plan to expand your headquarters. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Doing so will take a load off your mind and will reduce the pressures of leadership as well.

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4. Cost plan

Kassoumeh says that one of the most effective strategies that non-profit organizations can adapt is to utilize rolling forecasting to ensure continuous planning and assessment based on frequent spending habits.

5. Keep diversifying income

Finding funds to keep the organization afloat is what keeps many CEOs up at night. Many charities face uncertainties when it comes to funding, and it has become a hand-to-mouth existence to the point that there is little room for error when it comes to allocating their funds.

It’s important to have a solid strategy on managing the organization’s income and responding to any fluctuations in the income flow. Charities will have a better chance of solving their funding dilemmas by predicting them in advance and exploring their options.

You need to diversify your organization’s income and tell your donors that you are having trouble with funds to renegotiate with you.

6. Strategize Fund-raising

In these uncertain times, it is always best to develop a good strategy to ensure that things will take off smoothly. Researching your donor market is always a good way to identify new funding opportunities. It’s also a good way to explore areas to expand and which donors you will need to approach.

Building resilience during these uncertain times is essential for many to survive. Kassoumeh adds that the pandemic, “is a good opportunity for NGOs to improve their program frameworks and financial management systems to reflect these funding and operational challenges.”

The pandemic is both a challenge and an opportunity for many of us. It all comes right down to making the right adaptations to improve resilience in a rapidly changing environment.

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