Last time, in What To Do Now Part II, we looked at strategic questions to financial (or other) crisis, and in this post, we'll look at some strategic responses. In Part IV, we'll deal with tactics.
To refresh our discussion--you have to start with strategy in any crisis. Stop, breath, think. Then, and only then, do. And in doing, start with the big issues, the big questions. I know you want to get down in the weeds and fix stuff....but strategy first. Here are some actions to begin with:
1. Review your mission and organizational values. What do these core guiding documents have to tell you about your path from here? Going back to mission, reminding everyone of what the point is, that's the place to start.
2. Review your strategic plan. What does it say about priorities, SWOT, etc.? Use the tools you've already developed. It will help you avoid knee-jerk responses.
3. Review your marketing plan. Who are your priority service recipients, your most important funders, your key donors? Again, this tool should tell you.
4. Talk to peer organizations. Are there group responses to your cuts that are appropriate or useful at this point? And, what are other groups doing to cope?
5. Talk to your state trade association or association of nonprofits if you have one. Again, what are other organizations trying to weather this storm.
6. Big question once those are answered: Given what you know, and what you predict, is there a need for long-term, strategic restructuring? This might mean casting off services (hopefully to another organization), or partnerships, or sub-contracting certain functions (payroll, HR) out, or even partial or full merger. Now is the time to start thinking about this, or to revisit it if you've considered it before. A crisis motivates boards and staff to do things that have been put on hold in the past.
Remember, mission, mission, mission. The point of any actions to take has to be to do as much high quality mission for as many people for as long as you can.
In Part IV, we'll talk tactics, and then in Part V look at a leadership checklist.
Hang in there.