3 Ways High Interest Rates Affect Your Nonprofit (And How a Consultant Can Help)

Jun 29, 2022 | Nonprofits

If you run a 501(c)(3) organization, you are well aware of the fact that your operation is more than a regular business. You’re on a mission.

But you’re also under a microscope…from your board, your donors, and the community in general. Then, there’s the IRS and no shortage of regulations!

It can get overwhelming very quickly! Add in the fact that, as Marketplace.org points out, “bear markets are anxious times for many nonprofits.

That’s why taking advantage of good nonprofit consulting is a smart idea…no matter what your organization does to make the world a better place. If you’re struggling to keep your head above water, this post could be a life preserver arriving just in time! Keep reading to learn more.

Nonprofit Consulting

strategic planning for nonprofits

Just like any ordinary business, you need to realize more revenue than your expenses in order to keep operating. But as we’ve pointed out in a previous post on “Best Accounting Practices for Your Nonprofit,” “when it comes to accounting, nonprofits have an additional burden on top of profitability…accountability.”

Whether your nonprofit makes money by providing goods or services or simply relies on the donations of people who believe in what you do, you have to manage that money at a much higher level than business owners who simply exchange dollars for products.

You have a responsibility to the people who put their trust in you. You have to be absolutely sure about where each and every dollar you receive goes!

Nonprofit consultants can help you do that…and more. They are typically business and accounting professionals who have several years of experience in their field. They are able to apply their knowledge to help nonprofits create financial goals, improve fundraising efforts, plan for expansion, or overcome other obstacles they may be facing.

At CRS, we’ve been working alongside nonprofit managers and operating boards for years. We regularly work as consultants in the areas of:

  • 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Application Status
  • Nonprofit Tax Returns
  • Nonprofit Financial Accounting
  • Audited, Reviewed, and Compiled Financial Statements (See also a post we did on “Audit vs Review”)
  • Board of Directors Consulting

Strategic Planning for Nonprofits

One area that we enjoy seeing the most fruit from, though, is when we get to help guide nonprofits through the process of strategic planning.

Strategic planning is far more than simply putting together information needed to obtain grants or financing. It helps organizations clarify their mission and direction. Then it enables them to begin setting goals that are “smart”…specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.

Having a clear strategic plan is essential for keeping your key leadership on the same page. It’s important in any business, but it is absolutely crucial when you’re a nonprofit! Without a unified gameplan, blueprint, script, or whatever metaphor you prefer, your management, staff, and volunteers will have a difficult time staying on task and on target.

Having a good strategic plan (and reviewing it regularly) helps you better understand your organization, take advantage of opportunities, avoid unnecessary risks and mistakes, and keep your nonprofit in good financial health.

How Inflation and Interest Rates Affect Small Businesses

You may have noticed that the current economic climate is less than ideal. Rising costs, supply chain issues, staffing shortages, and rising interest rates are causing it to be more difficult than ever to run a business or nonprofit.

Much of the new coverage tends to focus on how inflation and rising interest rates affect small businesses. But we also understand how it is having a tremendous impact on those who operate nonprofits.

It’s tough enough on good days to do what you need to do financially. It can seem nearly impossible when literally everything is more expensive and people have to tighten their household budgets!

One of the first places people are forced to cut back is their charitable giving. Unless your nonprofit happens to provide a product or service that people deem essential, you can quickly find yourself with less and less revenue coming in.

As interest rates go up, they affect our day-to-day lives in several ways:

  1. They change how people make large purchasing decisions. In business, people tend to be much more cautious. They’ll wait on making large purchases and investments. With nonprofits, people tend to be less generous.
  2. They impact people’s ability to pay of debt. When more of their money is needed to pay down existing obligations, people are far less likely to have any to spare for their favorite causes.
  3. They force people to stretch their dollar further. Since people’s pay isn’t likely to be going up at the same rate as interest rates, they’re effectively taking a pay “cut” during times like these. As a result, people apply less of their budget to nonessential expenditures (like charitable giving).

The good news is that there are things you can do about it!

We recently did a post on “How Inflation Impacts Your Business (And 7 Things You Can Do About It)” that was written for “traditional” business owners. However, it’s valuable information for those who run nonprofits as well since a bad economy affects us all.

Partner With A Nonprofit Consultant Who Gets It

nonprofit strategic plan

We’ve worked as nonprofit strategic planning consultants with several organizations throughout Tennessee and across the U.S. over the 40+ years that we’ve been in business. It has been our pleasure to help grow these organizations by providing a wide variety of nonprofit accounting and tax preparation services for them.

If you’re ready to partner with a nonprofit consultant who understands the importance of what you do, schedule a call with our team today!

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