Financial sustainability is on a lot of minds right now – even more than usual, as the world shifts in response to COVID-19 and as economists predict a recession as early as this year. Yet many nonprofits may not be ready for a recession. According to a November 2019 Center for Effective Philanthropy survey, nearly two-thirds of nonprofit CEO respondents said a recession would increase need or demand for their programs and services. Yet only one-third of respondents said their organization had a plan for how it would handle a recession.
Earned revenue is one strategy that can give organizations more financial stability and help strengthen an organization’s impact. Of course, it’s not for every organization, and it’s not a quick fix. It can take years to implement. Though nonprofits must focus on immediate needs now, there’s also an opportunity to think differently about how to sustain the work long-term.
We developed a field guide for nonprofits considering earned-revenue opportunities and funders looking to support grantees in doing so. The field guide includes a set of four case studies about how nonprofits have developed and implemented earned-revenue strategies. We hope this field guide will help you:
- Ask the right questions to understand if an earned-revenue strategy is the right approach for your organization right now,
- Get a glimpse into the process of developing an earned-revenue strategy that helps your organization achieve greater impact, and
- Learn from other nonprofits that have gone through this process in different contexts.