Kia ora and thank you for reaching out… You’re clearly facing into a dilemma shared by many of our social enterprises. In the absence of more context, I’m going to attempt to put myself in your position and share how I would approach this situation in the hope it sparks an idea for you to try… Please treat this as food for thought to reflect on as you decide what to do next.
Firstly, I’m assuming that your social enterprise is fully committed to weathering the storm and to continue serving the overarching mandate and purpose. Secondly, I’m assuming you’re in a senior leadership position and able to act in that capacity with the support of your organisation and board.
RESET THE BUDGET TO FIT THE LATEST FORECAST
Start by mapping out all the cash flows coming in over the next 3 to 6 months. Similarly, map out all the expenses for the same forecast period. The task here is to trim the operation and planned activities to fit within your most conservative funding forecast.
TRIM THE OPERATION
Work with your leadership team and stakeholders to form a communication plan. You may need to force-rank your expenses and prioritise only the essentials. Prepare to run the operation lean for a period of time. Revisit your charity mandate and focus everything on serving the core purpose of the charity… you may be surprised by how much the operation is carrying outside of its mandate.
FORM A SCOUT TEAM TO EXPLORE NEW FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES
Funding opportunities tend to take time to come to fruition and it’s likely that funding sources will be coming under increasing pressure in the wake of our first lockdown. The goal here is to buy as much time as you can to keep your operation alive and weather the storm. The scout team can be made up of a mix of internal leadership and external (preferably influential) stakeholders. They will need to be proficient in forming propositions and funding applications to convert opportunities into to solid value exchanges.
Your leadership team will need support the scout team with guidance (and governance 😉 to buy as much time as possible for them to secure your new funding lines.
Please forgive me for guessing what you’re dealing with and probably getting it wholly wrong. My hope is that something here sparks an idea for you to try and keep playing forward!