How Nonprofits Can Pivot to Earned Income
Many thanks to C’pher Gresham, CEO of SEED SPOT, for sharing his expertise with us.
The coronavirus pandemic has forced nonprofits across the country to pivot in minor and significant ways, from changing how we deliver our services to how we engage our stakeholders.
And what about revenue? During economic instability and volatility, donor behavior can be worrisome and sometimes evaporate (especially if your primary donors are corporate). The good news: Individual donors tend to stick with the groups they regularly fund, even through economic downturns.
But there’s another major opportunity besides philanthropy that nonprofits don’t consider or tend to ignore: Earned income. Many nonprofits can earn important income from a product, service, or technology that they may not have thought about selling yet.
70 percent of nonprofits use a funding model heavily dependent on philanthropy
Earned income accounts for:
- 74 percent of total revenue for nonprofit health care providers
- 61 percent of total revenue for housing organizations
- 40 percent of total revenue for arts organizations
- 16 percent of total revenue for advocacy nonprofits
- 11 percent of total revenue for philanthropy organizations
So there’s a big opportunity for nonprofits to think about earned income in a new way. Times of upheaval can compel you to shift or create a new paradigm. Old models might close, but that also opens new doors for your organization. Embrace it! Here’s an example of one organization that discovered a new earned revenue strategy just from the leftover “crap” lying around: