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How Local Nonprofits Can Weather the Economic Storm and Thrive

How Local Nonprofits Can Weather the Economic Storm and Thrive

Written by Network for Victim Recovery of DC

Nonprofit work has never been for the faint of heart — but these days, it can feel downright Sisyphean.

Throughout a grueling pandemic, we continued to work hard for our DC community. Last year at Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC), we helped more than 500 victims of sexual assault access legal services and medical care, and responded 327 times to local hospitals.

A volatile economic landscape threatens to undercut the progress we and so many others have made, jeopardizing the crucial donations that make our work possible at a moment of maximum vulnerability and burnout.

So, how can nonprofits innovate and thrive in the face of such stiff economic headwinds, while continuing to provide important services to our community? After 10 years on the ground in D.C. helping victims of sexual assault, we have a few ideas.

First, seek out unexpected opportunities to collaborate. Through an innovative partnership with Uber, we offered rides to 130 victims in 2022 alone, helping them reach vital medical and supportive care. We can do so much more for our community when we work together.

Second, invest in your staff. NVRDC has followed through on a campaign launched in 2019 to make sure each person on our team could earn a living wage, investing $400,000 back into the people who make our work possible — because our staff cannot help look after members of our community if we do not first look after them.

Finally, develop a support network. Over the past year, our team at NVRDC has convened a series of conversations among nonprofit peers to promote knowledge-sharing and discuss best practices, including strategies to improve pay transparency for nonprofit employees, as well as conversations on Equity and Inclusion and Innovation. From the Markle Foundation to D.C. Justice Lab and more, we have been inspired by our peers’ stories of resilience, creativity, and commitment to doing good.

But nonprofits cannot do this alone. Now more than ever, our survival and success depend on the collective efforts of partner corporations, law firms, local governments, and individual donors to prioritize the services that groups like ours can uniquely provide.

Earlier this month, NVRDC hosted our 11th annual benefit with many of our friends and family in the D.C. community. The theme was “Rise and Reimagine,” and we can’t think of a more fitting message for this moment. As we enter 2023 amid historic economic uncertainty, nonprofits will have to rise to the occasion to ensure no need goes unmet, and reimagine our role in the community as collaborators and innovators who make a difference.

We have done it before, and we will do it again. That’s what nonprofits do.

Network for Victim Recovery of DC has been empowering survivors of all crimes since 2012 by offering them a continuum of advocacy, case management, and legal services. Their work is community-driven and guided by the belief that survivors deserve respect for their dignity in the aftermath of a crime. Visit their website to view their other programs and offer your support. You can also stay updated on their work through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and over email.

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