If there’s anything the world has learned from the pandemic, it’s that things can change in an instant and we need to be flexible. Which is completely opposite of the structured and organized business world (yes, nonprofits are businesses). This can be especially hard on small nonprofits with a single employee (or a handful of employees) that is already struggling to make everything happen and stay in line with your org’s mission, goals, and tight budgets. This blog is here to show you a few ways you can implement flexibility into your nonprofit without bending over backward or breaking the bank.
Offer flexible payment options
Today, roughly half of the population does not carry cash with them and anyone younger than 30 will look at you funny if you ask them to write you a check. Finding a nonprofit software that offers you the ability to collect donations online can easily bring flexibility into your nonprofit operations. Mobile giving using Apple Pay and Google Pay are now the norm and even easier than text-to-give campaigns since donation widgets recognize when you’re on a mobile phone, thus eliminating the need to enter credit card info. (UG Hint – you can still accept cash, checks, and credit/debt cards)
Another flexible payment option is the “buy now, pay later” idea coming from retail. Nonprofits can apply this to a “commit now, pay over time” campaign utilizing recurring, monthly donation tools. This can be a huge win for orgs as they will be able to better predict funding for their programs, incentivize donors to become sustainers and get larger gifts by breaking it out over time. (Bonus – it’s also easier on the donor)
Create flexible participation options
The easiest way to get volunteers to commit to volunteering is by meeting them where they’re at. That means offering the busy finance executive the option to volunteer behind the scenes/remotely and the parent of 5 children the option to help out early in the morning (pre-event) or late at night (post-event) after the kids are asleep. It could also mean making an in-person event hybrid by getting a young volunteer to live stream it and encourage people to donate at the online auction. While this might seem like extra work on your part, it doesn’t have to be! Just being open to the idea of meeting people where they’re at and asking them how they want to participate can create opportunities for volunteers to take things off your plate.
Embrace flexible staffing
Have a small team and not enough budget to hire more people? Consider freelancers, interns, and volunteers! Freelancers are professionals who charge an hourly or project-based rate and can help you with everything from graphic design and marketing to accounting and IT help. Companies like Upwork and Fiverr offer both freelancers and companies to post what they are looking for and handle payments between them so there is a safe middleman. Interns are typically finishing up their education and want on-the-job experience for a small stipend or hourly rate. Some great internship ideas include running the org’s social media accounts, organizing in-person events, and soliciting businesses for in-kind donations. And as you know, your volunteers can be professionals that can assist behind the scenes with administrative duties as well as get hands-on and help in all aspects of your program for free! So put these staffing options to work for you the next time you need another hand.
Make your budget flexible
The ultimate goal of every nonprofit is to make an impact on your mission and we know that sometimes it can be daunting and unknown – especially when starting out. Even if you’re not just starting, you want to create a scalable budget and annual report because you never know when you’ll get an extra large donation that puts you over your goal or a recession hits and people pull back on giving. Having a flexible budget with levels mapped out can also help potential donors and annual supporters so how much more your org can make an impact if they donate.
As you can see, many of these flexible ideas are not hard to implement and you may be doing some of them already! If you aren’t, take the time to see how implementing just one can really make a difference in your organization. Don’t know where to start? Try offering flexible payment options with UncommonGood! We’re the software platform and community that helps you to think like a nonprofit and act like a business. We have mobile-friendly peer-to-peer, crowdfunding, and sweepstakes pages, plus our donation widget accepts Apple & Google Pay!