Managing Through Tough Times

How nonprofit organizations can navigate challenging economic times


Eight Steps for Managing Through Tough Times

At some point, all nonprofits face their own version of "tough times." Maybe it's a sector-wide challenge, like a recession, a shock distinctive to the fields or locations a nonprofit serves, or an organization-specific hardship, such as the loss of a major funder’s support. No matter the cause, tough times force hard choices. This update to our 2008 article on "Managing Through Tough Times" provides eight steps that can help nonprofits weather economic uncertainty. In truth, these practices can help any organization stay in shape any time. 

Read "Eight Steps for Managing Through Tough Times"

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Case Study: Pressley Ridge

When the Family First Prevention Services Act passed in 2018, it provided momentum for some of Pressley Ridge’s services while squeezing funding for other facets of the nonprofit’s work. Here’s how this child-welfare organization navigated the changing landscape.

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Case Study: Pressley RidgeImage Photo: Pressley Ridge

Case Study: Prosperity Now

Prosperity Now had prepared scenario plans to deploy should “routine” financial stresses emerge. But that mattered little when the political climate changed. Facing a $1 million deficit going into the 2018 fiscal year, and with federal contracts continuing to decline, the nonprofit created a four-pronged approach to financial sustainability.

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Case Study: Prosperity Now Image Photo: Prosperity Now

Related Resources

This collection of evergreen resources shares information and approaches for managing an organization during tough economic times.

From Bridgespan

External resources