Nonprofits Prepare for Slowing Economy

A recent article in the Phoenix Business Journal examines the strategic measures nonprofit organizations in Arizona are taking to prepare for an economic downturn.

According to Robert Meza, development director at Phoenix Body Positive, which provides clinical trials to HIV patients, possessing a diversified "portfolio" of gift and income streams will help to even out the inevitable loss of funding in the event of a slowing economy. "That's what's needed in the 21st century to endure, Meza told the Journal. You want to pull from the individual as well as the corporations, small businesses, special events, and long-term endowments.

Nonprofit executives including Meza also advise against relying on corporate gifts. "Corporations have turned 180 degrees in the way they do their giving," commented Susan Walling, editor and publisher of Philanthropy WorksAz. "They want 'mission matches,' so nonprofits must be more strategic in how they approach potential donors."

Although targeting individuals may help organizations to deal with a falloff in corporate support, experts agree that a decrease in individual giving, especially among working individuals, is a distinct possibility. If that should come to pass, smaller nonprofits, especially social service organizations, are likely to feel the pinch the most. As a preventive measure, Walling advises those kinds of groups to step up their marketing and resource development efforts before the downturn occurs.

Anne Robertson. "Charity Woes" Business Journal 01/12/2001.