Keys to Nonprofit Success in Complex Times

Creativity and resilience are critical to achieving your goals


Throughout times of challenge and emerging social trends, charitable organizations are called upon to adapt in order to provide much-needed support, including innovations in health care, access to basic needs, and advancing racial justice with compassion and courage.

Unrelenting focus on mission, dedication to serving communities, and adaptive planning can help leaders prepare for unknown future disruptions, as well as enhancing their ability to advance their missions even in complex times.


The learnings and best practices below have been gleaned from organizations who not only survived but thrived in 2020, with a focus on operations, communications, fundraising, finances, and leadership.

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Times of uncertainty are unnerving, but organizations with existing plans in place are better positioned to weather them. These times may also present opportunities for new ideas, collaborations, and innovative funding models.  Nonprofits must act in a measured, thoughtful way. Making extreme changes to organizational structure, your endowment model or your staffing can result in potentially unnecessary or unintended future consequences. Organizations caught off-guard by a disruption can take immediate steps to adjust, reduce expenses, leverage partnerships and continue fundraising efforts. Thinking carefully and leveraging your board’s and financial advisor’s expertise can provide continuity in a complex time.

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1 Fleming Glennon, Margie. “Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak: Resources to Help Nonprofits.” Published March 12, 2020.

2 Gibson, Sara. “Coronavirus Advice for Nonprofit Leaders.” Published March 9, 2020.

2021 Bank of America Study of Philanthropy

4 Streiff, Justin. “Coronavirus and fundraising: don’t change anything.” Published March 11, 2020.

5 Gibson, Sara. “Coronavirus Advice for Nonprofit Leaders.” Published March 9, 2020.

Institutional Investments & Philanthropic Solutions (also referred to as “Philanthropic Solutions” or “II&PS”) is part of Bank of America Private Bank, a division of Bank of America, N.A., Member FDIC and a wholly owned subsidiary of Bank of America Corporation (“BofA Corp.”). Trust, fiduciary, and investment management services are provided by wholly owned banking affiliates of BofA Corp., including Bank of America, N.A. and its agents.