Shifting Opportunities... Creative Responses
A look at how local nonprofits are dealing with the economic downturn in 2009.

There are opportunities out there.
We all just have to dig a little deeper to find them.
--Dave Hilliard, Wyman

In chaos, there is opportunity. We’re seeing a great groundswell of additional need for our services.We’re being proactive with our existing givers as well as looking at possible new givers and also earned income possibilities to offset some of the declines in charitable giving.
-- Chris Krehmeyer, Beyond Housing

It’s forced us to tighten our belts, but it’s also forced us to step back and look at what we do well and what we need to be doing in the future. I think things will be better tomorrow. I thought that yesterday. I will think that tomorrow and a week from now.
-- Tom Hoerr, New City School

  “All of us are looking for ways to increase our delivery to people
who need our services. At the Scholarship Foundation,
we have increased our draw on reserves
to not only maintain our level of services, but increase them.
-- Faith Sandler, Scholarship Foundation
Tough times make us all re-evaluate what’s important. We decided to be very aggressive. We completed a development audit last year and are working hard to implement our development plan. This is not a time to bury our heads in the sand, We need to be strong and be bold.
-- Kimberly McKinney, Habitat for Humanity
81 percent of the agencies we fund tell us they are reducing expenses. We’re seeing more collaboration. We’re seeing agencies begin to talk about ‘how do we work together?’ It probably takes a new model to work in this environment. You need to focus on your mission, figure out what you have to do, and be innovative.
-- Gary Dollar, United Way of Greater St. Louis
There seems to be a desire among nonprofits to be more efficient and more effective in what they do. It’s never to late to look at your organization to figure out what you can do better.
-- Deborah L. Cooper, Nonprofit Services Center

You have to keep positive. You have to believe in what you are doing. And, you have to be realistic as well.”
-- Laura Rossmann, The Wellness Center

We have not cut our artistic product. We are very strict about
not cutting back on our mission. Collaboration is also key.
We are co-producing with opera theaters around the country.
We produce the sets and costumes and they pay us a fee for their use.
-- Timothy O’Leary, Opera Theatre

We are trying to take a long-term view. We are staying close to our donors and having lots of conversations with them. I really think it’s important to stay positive.
-- Fred Bronstein, Saint Louis Symphony
I think there’s always a silver lining. It’s forcing a discussion on the reasons why we exist and some really deep reflection about the missions we are here to meet, the constituencies we are here to serve, and how we can organize and focus the resources that are becoming more limited. In that way, I think this is a very energizing time.
-- Katy Kaufman, Metro Theater Company

We’re looking at how can we become more creative, with smaller fundraisers
and happy hours that engage the younger donor community.
The challenges of the economy have not been as severe for the younger generation of donors as it has been with other generations.
-- Reena Hajat, Diversity Awareness Partnership

I believe St. Louis is a giving town and I just can’t see people not giving to not-for-profits knowing what we all are going through. At the same time, a lot of funders are asking: ‘Are you partnering?’”
-- Sandra Norman, Northside Community Center

We are concentrating much more on individual donors right now.
We have hired someone to help us with that piece.
We’re calling on people, putting our name in front of people,
also expressing our appreciation for what they are doing for us.
-- Pam Kortum, St. Louis Learning Disabilities Association

We have to find new ways to be creative in raising funds. The not for profit community is absolutely an essential part of our society and we need to find creative ways to support it.
--Ron Jackson, St. Louis for Kids

Our grantmaker members are saying that their giving will be down in 2009 and again in 2010. Many of them are looking at other ways to leverage their talents and resources to help nonprofits, through consulting, volunteerism or in-kind donations. That’s an avenue that nonprofits should consider exploring, reaching out to funders and explaining what other needs they have. You never know when they may say, ‘we can do that.’”
– Mary McMurtrey, Gateway Center for Giving

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