Conquering Your Communication Challenges – Dealing with Limited Resources

This is the second post in my series about how to conquer some of your communication challenges.  Many nonprofit organizations have limited resources, and one thing to remember is that planning and prioritizing can help.

Have you ever found yourself saying the following?

We feel like we have no time to get anything done
If you have plans and strategies in place, you probably won’t feel as strapped for time.  I covered that in my last post.  Conquering Your Communication Challenges – Planning, Strategy, and Measurement

Find ways to help you get organized. For example, use an editorial calendar to plan your content  How to Create an Editorial Calendar and a style guide to help keep your messages and look consistent. Create a Style Guide for Your Organization
Figure out what is most important and do the best you can with the resources you have.  Fundraisng is always a priority.  So is making your supporters happy.  That includes current donors and potential donors (email subscribers, website visitors, etc.). Thank your donors, keep your supporters engaged with newsletters and other updates, and be sure your website is up-to-date.

Look at how you are spending your time.  Are you doing work that may not be that important?  Meetings can be a huge time sink.  Evaluate whether you need to have so many meetings, and make the ones you have efficient.  Use measurement to make sure you are taking on initiatives that are beneficial to your organization.  

You may feel so overwhelmed that you think you need to chain yourself to your desk in order to get your work done.  Not true.  In fact getting away from your desk and out of the office can make you more productive.

Our budget is tiny
If you have a small budget, again figure out what’s most important. Printing and mailing are two of the biggest expenses.  Perhaps you will forgo a printed newsletter and send out a high-quality electronic one instead.

You don’t need fancy materials, but you do need to look professional.  You can often get printed materials such as an event invitation or annual report donated.  Ask a print shop to do it pro bono or find a foundation to sponsor it. 

Speaking of funding, reach out to granting agencies that will cover general operating support.

Spend wisely.  You should mail out an annual appeal letter, but you don’t need to mail out an annual report to ALL your donors.  

We have don’t have enough staff
Many nonprofits are understaffed, and some organizations turn to interns and volunteers to fill in the gaps.  This can be a mixed bag.  Interns and volunteers may not be that experienced and often don’t stay around very long.   If you do take them on, make sure they are well-trained and supported. If you can find good people, it might work in your favor.  How To Ensure Effective and Engaged Volunteers 

It’s not uncommon for board members to be more involved at a small nonprofit.  This doesn’t mean they should be running the day-to-day operations, but they can share their expertise in an advisory role. Your board should have a fundraising committee, and preferably a marketing committee.  Find board members who are willing and able to give you a little boost as you try to grow.

Having limited resources, whether it’s time, budget, staff, or a combination of the three, is a challenge.  Planning and prioritizing can help you conquer these challenges. 

How do you deal with limited resources? 
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