Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Benefits of a Harsh Economy? Challenging Non-Profits

Words from the founder of "Ladies Who Launch"

Ladies Who Launch founder Victoria Colligan, wrote about doing business in tough economic times. It is not the time to pack up and quit, but a stimulus to rethink what & how you are doing business. As a non-profit we too must think of new ways of doing things, ways to provide a benefit for our sponsors & donors and changes to our events that will attract attendees.

FSHD research is currently being done on a shoestring budget, Friends of FSH Research can't quit and hope that someone else will fill this funding need. So we are in great need of new ideas - new connections - new donors who want to join with us in impacting the future of those with FSH Muscular Dystrophy. According to Victoria Colligan tough economic times can be great times for creative thinking -

Did you know that Fed Ex began during the oil crisis of 1973 and Proctor & Gamble began selling their products during the Panic of 1837? In fact many of the world’s greatest companies were started during economic downturns either out of necessity or creativity. The great thing about a tough economy is that it paves the way for people to think differently, because they have to. Operating “as is” is no longer effective and the world, in financial terms, is suddenly uncharted territory. Here are ways that you can think differently and take advantage of some unexpected benefits of a harsh economy:

1. Structure relationships as partnerships. Since many people have fewer choices available to them right now, they may be willing to take more risk. Instead of paying outright for services, consider creative barter arrangements or revenue share arrangements based on results and actual success of joint sales.

2. Look for talent at lower prices. Due to lay-offs and job scarcity, there is a lot of high level talent and expertise available at less expensive rates. Find and hire these people. Think long term and think big. Seek out the highest level of expertise that your budget allows and find ways to leverage the talent that’s out there through a reward-based structure that has a long-term win-win built in for everyone.

I'll try to "rethink" our events, or "think outside the box" as many say, but I do worry about how we will conduct future fundraising events. I wonder if we will be able to be successful? How can I rearrange & restructure so that will attract more interest & donations?

A celebrity can impact a non-profit organization's success exponentially. Around the time of the Oscars there was alot in the news about Jerry Lewis - both positive and negative. Although Mr. Lewis has been quoted as saying some very inappropriate things, it is hard to deny his incredible impact on the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He is the face of the MDA! Jerry Lewis has been so closely associated with the Muscular Dystrophy Association that many people mistakenly believe he started the organization!! With the few negatives aside, I would do cartwheels if the Friends of FSH Research had a "Jerry Lewis" to help us!

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