COVID-19 Finances: Getting Your Nonprofit Back on its Feet

Guest Author: Jon Osterburg has spent the last nine years helping more than 100 nonprofits around the world with their finances as a leader at JitasaAs a nonprofit and resource provider to nonprofits, we understand the need for dependable and affordable services to help us power our mission. That’s why we’re proud to partner with Jitasa, longtime Mission Capital business member and the largest national accounting and bookkeeping services provider focused exclusively on nonprofits.

COVID-19 has thrown all sectors of the economy for a loop. Nonprofits, especially, have struggled to restrategize to ensure they have the resources to keep the doors open during these trying times. 

While the beginning of the pandemic was met with confusion, many nonprofits are now accustomed to researching pandemic updates and have taken advantage of the first round of government aid with CARES Act benefits for nonprofits.

Now, it’s time to start strategizing to get your nonprofit back on its feet. Here are our recommendations:

Re-analyze your annual strategy and budget. 

Before the pandemic, your nonprofit had ambitious plans for fundraising and programming. Instead of pushing forward as if nothing changed, we recommend using data from the last few months to re-analyze these strategies. 

As you re-evaluate, consider the following: 

⦁ How (and by how much) you’ve strayed from your budgeted anticipated revenue
⦁ How (and by how much) you’ve strayed from your budgeted expenses
⦁ What aspects of your program strategy have been delayed
⦁ What changes have been made to your capital budget and how that impacts anticipated timelines

As you re-evaluate, consider aspects that have strayed from original plans so far and if those are subject to continuous change. Then, create a new plan based on these anticipations.

Reviewing accounts and compiling budgets are in the wheelhouse of a nonprofit accountant according to Jitasa’s guide on the subject. Therefore, as you consider your strategic changes moving forward, we recommend consulting a nonprofit accountant to lead you in the right direction. 

Offer several opportunities for supporters to get involved. 

While many nonprofit supporters have faced difficulties contributing during the economic downturn, it’s imperative to engage them throughout the remainder of the year. 

In short, this will help sustain donor retention rates so you have a strong fundraising strategy after the pandemic ends. Here are some involvement opportunities we recommend offering:

⦁ Virtual events. Virtual events help you engage supporters and continue your fundraising, stewardship, and other aspects of your original plans. If you’re pivoting to virtual events for the first time, we recommend researching with guides like this one

⦁ Program wish list. Show supporters their immediate impact on your programs by developing a “wish list” of items for them to purchase in lieu of monetary donations. 

⦁ Asking for input. Supporters enjoy knowing you’re listening to their feedback. When considering offering new opportunities, ask supporters where their interests lie to hone your strategies with a collaborative approach that boosts engagement. 

By offering several opportunities, your nonprofit can engage donors now to keep your mission at the forefront of their minds. Then, in the future, they’ll be more likely to continue contributing.

While COVID-19 has changed everyone’s daily lives in one way or another, it’s time for your nonprofit to get back on its feet. Restrategizing and continuing audience engagement are just the beginning.

If you’re still worried about sustainable financial planning in these tough times, we recommend having a conversation with a finance professional, like those at Jitasa. Good luck!

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