8 Steps Nonprofits Should Take Now to Survive the Pandemic Fallout

Weeks into the coronavirus pandemic, the carnage in the nonprofit world continues to pile up. For many groups, the goal has shifted from preserving programs and staffing to just surviving, according to a recent survey of more than 400 nonprofit leaders.

Some fear the crisis will put them out of business, while at least one organization is effectively already there, having cut all staff and programs.

Specifically, almost all of the 433 nonprofit executives surveyed by La Piana Consulting have been forced to modify or outright cut services. They have laid off, on average, 19 percent of their staffs, moved 83 percent of their operations to work from home (requiring unbudgeted IT investments), and shifted 79 percent of their programs and services online. Seventy percent have lost revenue, often more than 50 percent and a few up to 100 percent.

Most believe the worst is yet to come. Fifty-six percent expect additional reductions in staff, while 66 percent expect more cuts in services.

Complicating matters further, many nonprofits’ reliance on self-funded unemployment insurance — seen as a good bet when only limited layoffs might be necessary from time to time — has become a dead weight for those facing massive employee layoffs. Many nonprofits can afford neither to pay their staff nor to lay them off.

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