How to Recession-Proof Your Nonprofit in 7 Steps

Staying afloat as a nonprofit can be tough during these times of economic uncertainty. is here to help though! Today, we will be sharing seven tips to “recession-proof” your nonprofit.

1. Determine program needs and goals for the next 24 months 

The first step your nonprofit needs to take is to plan out its needs and goals for the upcoming year. You need to budget for these needs and allocate funds for these budget items. Without accepting that a recession is a very real possibility and acting accordingly, your nonprofit will not be prepared for the recession. 

You need to prioritize program goals. This means determining which program(s) you find most valuable and want to fund first. Make a draft budget and assign a monetary value to the activities you have planned.  

For example, if you run a youth-centered organization and are forming a new program for after-school basketball, you would have to consider the cost of time on a school’s basketball court, uniforms, basketballs, refreshments, etc. After you have assigned monetary values, review their importance to your mission. Discuss how the budget meets organizational goals. Adjust based on goals, income, and expenses. Then, review the final draft.  

2. Apply for Grants Now 

One of the best ways to make sure your nonprofit will be financially stable is to apply for grants now. Do not wait and put it off for later, or you might find yourself lacking funds when you need them the most. If you start applying for as many grants as you can immediately, you will be better off overall.  

Just remember to only apply for grants your nonprofit is eligible for to avoid wasting your organization’s time. You can also ensure that your organization is grant-ready by having the following: 

  • A website 
  • Unique Entity Identifier (UEI number replacing DUNS) 
  • Employer/Tax Identification Number (EIN) 
  • Bylaws and other governing documents  
  • Diverse Board of Directors 
  • The annual budget for the organization 
  • Business plan for the organization 
  • Organization mission and goals, population served 
  • Organizational history & measured outcomes for impact on your community 
  • The organizational chart and description of management structure, size of staff, number of volunteers 
  • Tax and financial data. (For example, the most recent annual and quarterly financial/audit statements) 
  • Sufficient, skilled resources to devote to grant development (either in-house, contracted, or a combination of these) 
 3. Crowdfund in the Background 

Just as it is essential to start applying for grants now, it is also important to go ahead and start a crowdfunding campaign for your nonprofit. By getting a campaign up and running, you can guarantee that your nonprofit will have a way to secure some additional funding prior to a recession.  

Crowdfunding campaigns are also cost-efficient because most crowdfunding platforms are free to use. Once your page is live, all you must do is share your campaign on social media and with friends, coworkers, and family. The rest will follow.  

4. Boost Socials  

Another way to recession-proof your nonprofit is to take advantage of social media. By boosting your socials, you can ensure your nonprofit will get the attention it deserves. This is half the battle. Once your nonprofit gains traffic online, the donations will follow.  

Also, social media is free to use unless you pay extra for ads. Even then, it is relatively inexpensive, which makes it a great resource for when a recession does hit. Get into the habit of posting daily and boost the posts that get the most organic likes and comments.  

5. Find In-Kind Support 

In-kind support can also be a great way to protect your nonprofit from a recession. Unlike grants that provide cash money, in-kind grants offer donations of goods, services, or time. Many organizations don’t realize that operational resources, expenditures, and programs could be funded with an in-kind grant.  

Apply for in-kind support now when it is available before the recession hits. This additional support might be just what your organization needs to stay financially secure.  

6. Beat the Price Hike  

Your organization also needs to consider a possible recession when deciding when to order marketing products and incentives. Your nonprofit should order these items as soon as possible before prices rise and it becomes too costly. Regardless of the items — flyers, t-shirts, pens, etc. — it will be cheaper to buy them before a recession hits.  

7. Focus on Donor Relations 

Reach out to your current donors, as well as potential donors that share your nonprofit’s mission.  

During a recession, it is common for people to cut back on donations to charities, as charity really begins at home. For this reason, you want to make sure they are aware of your nonprofit and that your nonprofit is on their shortlist to continue funding.  

It is important that you take the time now to build your donor relations. You want your nonprofit to be the only one they choose to continue to donate to during a recession. 

We hope these tips are helpful. In the nonprofit sector or business world, there is always some financial risk to starting operations. We want to make sure your nonprofit is safe from future financial problems so that it can continue its important work. Follow these seven steps carefully and your nonprofit will no doubt be recession-proof. 

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