When you either own or run a not-for-profit organization, you can generally tell the economic trends that are prevailing even better than a well-paid economist can. After all, when times get tough, one of the first places that most people cut back on is in the realm of charitable giving. As painful as this is, the burden you bear is still the same, no matter what the economy might be doing. After all, you are involved in this thing for a reason that goes well beyond making a living, or even putting together an impressive P&L statement. You want to make a difference in this world! And it’s great if you can do it in the same free-wheeling style that you use when times are great.
But how can you tighten the belt, and still accomplish the mission of your organization? By being creative, good reader. First off, you can use online collaboration software such as Google Documents to keep everybody working on the same page and can get plenty of things done. For another thing, you can use company credit cards, or even supply each employee with a prepaid credit card for when they need to purchase something. The prepaid option might actually be better, because you can exercise a lot more control over how much an individual employee spends with it.
Another couple of things you can do to keep your expenses down are to merge with a similar non-profit organization (assuming that your goals are very similar and your teams can work well together), and to use social media to promote your organization. While social media is not nearly everything that some folks think it is, you can get your name and your mission out to the right people, if you think through it carefully. Just be sure that you don’t hire someone expensive to design your offering for you, or the savings won’t be that substantial.