Things are getting a bit hairy out there, eh?
With all the uncertainty of what the coming months will bring, many nonprofit consultants are understandably worried about the future of their business.
While we’re all in the same boat, here are two things to consider going forward:
Steady All Ships
If you remember the 2008 recession, you recall the sense of panic many nonprofit CEO’s felt. Budgets were slashed, employees let go. Simultaneously, the number of people needing nonprofit services rose.
The COVID-19 crisis is different but has many similarities. Many NPO’s are feeling that sense of anxiety all over again. Even if you, the consultant, feel the same, your job is to keep your clients as calm and steady as possible.
Talk with your clients. Hear them out. Empathize with their current situation. Demonstrate compassion. Have an open and honest conversation with them. But make sure to emphasize long-term growth over short-term cost cutting where appropriate.
There will ALWAYS be fires to put out. Your job is to work with organizational leaders and ensure their fundraising, marketing and communications apparatus isn’t dismantled and strategies abandoned.
Even if an organization has to terminate a contract with you, keep in contact. Every now and then check in and offer to answer questions. Time does equal money but long-term business thinking is the order of the day. Clients will need you again when this is over.
A friend of mine posted that all her business suddenly dried up. Scary.
But down time provides an opportunity for consultants to be productive. Remember your website? Your window to the world and the one thing you never have time to update? Now’s a good time to analyze your Analytics, review your copy and refresh/update.
I have some free time and have decided to use it to educate myself and expand my horizons. I’m taking a deep dive into “customer journey maps,” I’m starting a podcast to learn from sector experts and I’m sharpening my online ads skills.
I was taught to “always be learning.” If you have some free time now, learn a new skill that you can apply to your work down the road. It’s “biz dev” time.
Most important: I believe there are and will be many consulting gigs opening up. Nonprofits will need to navigate the “new normal.” They’ll
- have to improve their digital game
- need assistance managing virtual events
- consider increasing grant writing and
- certainly need help with copywriting.
A lack of face-to-face events and meetings means relying even more on direct mail and effective digital communications, such as e-newsletters.
I know that right now things don’t look great. I won’t sugarcoat it. It’s a time of great uncertainty and turbulence in our personal lives and for the entire sector.
But I truly believe there are many opportunities we can take advantage of to weather the storm.
In the meantime, my contact info is below. I’m happy to jump on a call/video chat and schmooze, share thoughts and advice. Additionally, for the foreseeable future, I’ll be hosting a Zoom conference chat for nonprofit consultants every Monday around noontime EST. If you’d like to join, message me on Twitter and I’ll send you the link.
Wishing you and your family continued good health and business success!
Ephraim Gopin is the founder of 1832 Communications, an agency which helps your nonprofit raise more money through strategic and smart marketing and communications. He is always happy to connect with nonprofit pros via Twitter, LinkedIn, on the phone/video chat or via his daily nonprofit newsletter.
Photo credit: Photo by Patrick Case on Pexels