Welcome to the Non-Profit Recession Watch blog site

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
The Non-Profit Recession Watch blog has been developed by ReStructure Non-Profit Consulting (www.restructure.ca) as a means to provide leaders of non-profit organizations with a central repository of information on the recession as well as strategies, tips, and resources to manage the impact of the recession on the organizations they lead. Information relating to the recession and its impact on Canada, US and UK will be updated daily in the "Recession Watch Data & Informaiton" sections below, and blogs will be written to provide information on how the recession has impacted the non-profit sector specifically. Please feel free to share information, news and resources with me - Betty Ferreira at blog [at] restructure.ca.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ontario Trillium Foundation releases "Challenges and Opportunities for Ontario's Not-for-Profit Sector During Tough Economic Times"

The Ontario Trillium Foundation released the "Challenges and Opportunities for Ontario's Not-for-Profit Sector During Tough Economic Times" report.

Key findings from this report:
- Non-Profit organizations in Ontario are concerned about the potential impact of the recession on the organizations they lead,
- Approximately one-third of the organizations were already experiencing serious economic impacts and there is fear that the recession will get worse,
- A number of community and social service organizations are realizing an increase in the demand for their services,
- Stock market declines have impacted the value of endowment funds
- A number of corporate donors and sponsors are frequently not renewing sponsorship/grants

However, Ontario's non-profit sector is working to develop survival strategies, says Robin Cardozo, CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

These strategies include:
- sharing best practices,
- looking for new ways to collaborate
- looking for new ways to diversify funding and fundraising
- engaging funders in ways to have greater impact with fewer dollars
- reducing costs

The non-profit sector in Ontario is enriched by this research and as such, I would like to congratulate the Ontario Trillium Foundation for deciding to conduct this research, having this important dialogue with non-profit organizations, and sharing this research with the non-profit sector.

For more details and information on this report please read the full report -"Challenges and Opportunities for Ontario's Not-for-Profit Sector During Tough Economic Times" - on the Ontario Trillium Foundation website.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fundraising in the recession Webinar - The Chronicle of Philanthropy

As the recession deepens, charity executives face growing challenges as they seek to raise money.

Much of the advice that is available to nonprofit leaders is too general to make a difference, so The Chronicle is bringing together three veteran fund-raising experts to talk about what has worked in past downturns — and how to think in new ways about a financial crisis unlike any other in recent history.

The Webinar, to be held on Wednesday, March 25, at 2 p.m. Eastern time, offers a chance for everyone in your office to gather together for one low price to get expert advice. Sign up today to take advantage of special rates for early sign-ups.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stanford Social Innovation Review : Articles : Ten Nonprofit Funding Models (March 4, 2009)

Stanford Social Innovation Review : Articles : Ten Nonprofit Funding Models (March 4, 2009)

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Lessons from a Non-Profit Restructure-er

Thanks, and...
Thank you to those who replied to my earlier message congratulating me for my soap box rant. My general sense from working with funders in Canada on numerous initiatives is that they recognize the need for change and the need to support the sector through this recession. Now we are challenged with the task of “making it so”.

The ReStructure Conference, held this May in Toronto (date tbd), will help non-profits understand the current economic impact on Canadian non-profits, and to provide information and strategies on how to restructure, funders will sit on a panel at lunch to provide their perspective on how we begin the dialogue that has been brought about as a result of this recession. If you haven’t already registered for information on the conference – please go to http://www.therestructureconference.ca/ and register on the site to receive an invitation to the “Forward Together” Conference held in Toronto in May (date TBD).

Information from CompassPoint?
By the way, CompassPoint has not yet uploaded presentations from their Nonprofit Forum to their website. I will provide a link to the conference presentations as soon as CompassPoint uploads the presentations from the sessions to their website.

In the meantime...
Here are some tips and lessons from a Restructure-er

If you are interested in learning more about what you can do to restructure your organization, and if you have not already read my articles on “Strategies to proactively assess the impact of the recession” and “Leaner Times call for Leaner Measures”, please do so as there is a large amount of information in these articles that may support you with your efforts. You can find also find these articles in the "Restructuring" information box below.

Here is a summary from the Strategies to Proactively Assess the Impact of the Recession on Your Organization:

I recommend that leaders of non-profit organizations assess their situation vis-a-vis the economy, do it now, make a plan based on a careful assessment and involve your management team in the discussions, and follow that plan. Proactive steps today will help you manage the impact of any potential decreases in funding caused by the recession.

Steps to take to proactively assess your situation

STEP 1. Assess if, and how, your organization will be impacted by the recession either by a decrease in funding/donations and/or an increased demand for services.

STEP 2. More precisely assess the potential impact of the recession on your organization. How much will funding decrease? How much will the demand for services increase?
After assessing the potential impact of the recession, organizations should more precisely assess the impact of the decreases in funding or increased demand for services in order to adjust their budgets and strategies.
  • Will your organization see an increase in the demand for services?
  • Will it also see a decrease in funding?
  • If you believe that your organization will see an increase in funding and an increase in the demand for services – have you assessed if the increase in funding and donations will cover your increased cost to deliver more services?
  • If your organization will not see an increase in demand for services, will it see a decrease in funding and donations?
See chart 1 and 2 at this link http://www.charityvillage.com/cv/research/rom58.html for more information on how to assess where your organization lands on this funding matrix of “need and loss”.

Questions to ask when assessing the impact
The following list of questions will also assist you to further assess the potential decrease in funding from each source: government, foundations, corporations and individuals.

Re: corporations and foundations

  • Are you expecting to receive sponsorships, donations, or grants from corporations that have been heavily hit by the recession, such as those in the auto industry?
  • Are you expecting to receive a grants from a foundation whose fund invests in and has consequently been heavily hit by the decrease in the stock market?

Re: individual donations

  • Will Canadians feel more or less empathetic to your organization's cause during a recession?
  • Does your organization have brand recognition with the average Canadian?
  • Do you have a close relationship with your donors?
  • Do you know if the pattern in donations from individuals has changed in the last six months?

STEP 3. More tips to come...
For information on how to proactively restructure your budget and operations to prevent the need to cut positions or projects/programs or services in light of a decrease in potential funding, read Leaner times call for leaner measures. Here, you will learn 15 tips that you can use to implement leaner measures and safeguard your organization in a time of recession.

That's all for now. Please feel free to submit any questions that you may have about restruturing non-profits - submit questions to blog@restructure.ca.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

CompassPoint: The Nonprofit Forum information

I attended the CompassPoint Nonprofit Forum: THE NONPROFIT FORUM: Making an Impact In Today’s Realities, held in San Francisco this week so that I could learn more about how the recession was impacting American non-profit organizations, and learn more about the resources, information, tips and strategies being offered to NPOs to assist them during this difficult time.

Also, as ReStructure is developing a similar conference to be held in May in Toronto (see http://www.therestructureconference.com/), I wanted to visit the sessions, see the information presented, and more importantly, assess how the participants responded to the information provided in the workshops. Information about the recession and what funders and leaders have to say about it...

- Non-profits in the Bay area of San Francisco, and across the US, are being hit hard. Unfortunately, the panellists and attendees agreed that as bad as it is currently, that things are likely going to get worse in 2010 for American NPOs, specifically those who are dependent on a limited number of revenue sources.

Although I do not like to provide information that provokes hysteria unnecessarily – this information is not scaremongering, this is why: governments in the US will be drawing on less tax revenue, due to declining property taxes due to the foreclosure crisis and due to declining sales tax revenue as a impact of the layoffs (people are buying less) – this tax revenue finances community programs and other NPO initiatives, and so NPOs should prepare themselves for less government funding.

How much less is still unclear, but NPOs should not ignore this warning sign and start to develop and implement strategies that will stem this tide.

Government representatives openly shared information on how bad the economic situation is, the expected county and state deficits, and warned NPOs that cuts are likely. Their participation in this event is a wonderful sign of collaboration, transparency and accountability. In addition, it is also a good sign of further collaboration between NPOs and funders to work together to brainstorm on effective ways to protect the sector.

My thoughts..
While the situation is Canada is not as dire as that in the states, Canada (as we now know by the number of layoffs already announced), is not immune to the recession. In addition, as Canada has traditionally lagged 12 – 18 months behind the US in realizing the full impact of a recession centered in the US, and as diminished revenue from taxes impact government this year - it is likely that both Canadian and American non-profit organizations will experience difficult times in 2010.

Funders and leaders of non-profit organizations should keep updated on the economic impact on government, foundations and individuals and work with together throughout this journey to collaborate on more resilient funding and operating models that will seek to support and protect non-profit organizations at this time AND use this opportunity to leverage change to fortify the sector in the long-term.

Current program specific funding models, funding requirements and government legislation to limit necessary operating infrastructure need to be given a hard, serious and look, and changes must be made that understand the basic principles of organizational resiliency and enhance the value that the NPO provides this country.

It’s time to look at measures that are based on outcomes and impact – isn’t that what our sector is all about? Yes, it is – so, let’s work on this together to align the sector’s purpose with its reality, and the reality of what it takes to operate a social business. All too often non-profits are assessed against administrative ratios that have nothing to do with effectiveness and that minimize an already fragile and stressed operating model.

True measures of effectiveness as well as funding and operating models that are based on the short and long-term resiliency of the sector are required to protect the NPOs ability to further contribute to a healthy, socially just and democratic society – it’s in all of our best interest.

Funders in the US appear to be responding relatively well to the current economic crisis in the US. Their participation in this forum is one sign as is the research reports highlighted in my blog of March 10th demonstrate that (scroll down).

Stay tuned for my blog update tomorrow where I provide you with some of the tips, strategies and resources provided during the Nonprofit Forum, and some of the strategies and tips that I have used in restructuring organizations as well.

If you are looking for some information and strategies on restructuring, and can’t wait until tomorrow, check out the articles provided in the restructuring sections in the http://www.nonprofitrecessionwatch.com/blog.

As a final note – I just wanted to thank CompassPoint for coordinating this day. The forum was well attended and well coordinated – kudos to all who participated in its development.


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

US Foundations Announce Expectations for Future Giving

US Foundations Provide an Overview of their Plans for Future Giving in Light of the Recession: For more information, please visit the links above or go to the Foundation Center website.


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Research on the Impact of the recession on Non-Profits

We are looking to find and share:
1. research (studies, polls, surveys) on the impact of the recession on the non-profit sector, and
2. research on the perceptions of non-profit leaders regarding the potential impact that the recession will have on the non-profit sector this year.

If you are aware of any research, please share!

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