• Nonprofit Profit Reserves: The Real Deal – Reflection

    Posted by ElizabethAppel on October 19, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    What did your organization do with its reserves during 2020/2021 when the pandemic was raging? If it had no reserves, what did it do to get flexible and sustainable in real time?

     

    kara replied 1 year, 7 months ago 9 Members · 11 Replies
  • 11 Replies
  • Ruth.McCambridge

    Moderator
    October 25, 2022 at 9:27 am

    This is Ruth McCambridge again introducing this area where we ask you to tell us your story about how you did or did not use reserves during the pandemic to help your nonprofit negotiate through that crisis and all the attendant social and economic tremors of that era. This collection of the real dynamic data of decisions made and strategies taken is where many of us live. It is what makes nonprofit financial leadership such a rich field. Please make sure to tell us what kind of organization you are and what kinds of problems you were faced with to help the rest of us understand the context. Please feel free also to pose questions or comments to eachother if someone else’s story strikes you as important, intriguing or instructive.

  • nancy-d

    Member
    October 25, 2022 at 3:48 pm

    I am CEO of VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. We serve people who are blind and their families at three center locations and in home and community training. Many of our offerings are also now virtual and in person including older adult center classes, work readiness training and youth services. Our budget is $12.5 million annually and we have over 100 staff (both part time and full time. We have used our reserves to cover Covid related costs that are not originally budgeted and were not covered by any other source. This included masks for all our staff and blind participants, talking thermometers, rolling bags for staff to use when doing home visits for training, computers and printers for use when working at home. We increased the office cleaning schedule .We have been mailing supplies to staff and the mailing costs are not covered by any other source. We also used our reserves for costs exacerbated by Covid. We increased the hourly rate for our lowest paid staff to a minimum $21 per hour at the time a new report was published by the Human Services Council on the $21 per hour “living wage’ for New York City. This definitely helped reduce turnover. We also used our reserves to pay an incentive to all staff that got vaccinated ($100 for proof of each Covid vaccination or booster) and we increased the reimbursement for mileage mid year when the federal government increased the mileage reimbursement rate. We provide an additional monetary incentive for staff that must drive their own vehicle for work purposes as long as the average cost of a gallon of gas in New York City is above $3.50. Some of the costs were initially covered by foundation grants that have now ended. Many of these costs are now incorporated into our most recent agency budget for the fiscal year starting October 1, 2022. we are continuing to require and provide masks for all staff and participants. We have been able to access some mask donations and recently received a donation from the city for Covid test kits that are more accessible for blind users however we need to mail them our which is an expense.

  • elisabeth

    Member
    October 26, 2022 at 12:20 pm

    I’m the ED of a 20-yr old land trust with an annual budget of $510k and 16 months of operating reserves We were fortunate and did not need to use any of our reserves during the height of the pandemic (2020 ans 2021). We conservatively estimated that our individual donations would decrease 25% but that fortunately did not happen. We secured a $53,000 PPP loan in 2021 that we used 100% for staff salaries. We did not apply for a PPP in 2021.

  • rkatzcpehn

    Member
    October 26, 2022 at 6:59 pm

    I’m the Finance Director of a health equity advocacy nonprofit. We did not use our reserve to weather the pandemic. Our operations continued similarly to before, we had a reduction of costs for all of our events pivoting to virtual, and our funding stream increased because of expanded interest in our area of work.

  • Ruth.McCambridge

    Moderator
    October 27, 2022 at 8:45 am

    what I find interesting about these and other stories we have heard on this topic, is 1. the incredible value of the PPP program and how little its successes have been discussed as opposed to some of the abuses (not necessarily by nonprofits), and 2, the creative nimbleness of so many nonprofits faced with an operating environment that was chock full of unknowns and cascading problems. We’d love to hear more stories here so chime in!

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