I just returned from a conference for nonprofit financial executives. There were a number of issues discussed during the sessions, but the overall theme was not unexpected – how nonprofits can continue doing their good and necessary work with less. Revenues from governments and donors are unreliable. Many factors remain uncertain. Who will win the election? What will happen to the economy? Where is job growth going to come from? How do we create sustainability in the face of so much uncertainty?
There are as many answers to the questions as there are nonprofits. Many have already done strategic planning and cut costs where they are able, while still providing services. Now some are looking at programs to determine whether and how they can be self-sustaining. Others are looking at new opportunities, drawing on skill sets developed with the operation of current programs and expanding those skills to create new revenue-generating activities. There is a lot of conversation around collaboration – sharing ideas, resources, and opportunities. Many creative ideas and solutions are being suggested and implemented.
In spite of the challenges that nonprofits still face, the sector is addressing them head on, reimagining business models, and ultimately becoming stronger and more vital.