If you’re a charity or non profit, there are two things you should be preparing for right now, the upcoming recesssion and how you will remain relevant when people have less money to pay for your services, less to donate to your cause, and less time to help you campaign.

A storm is coming. The question is how will you prepare. How might you prepare?

Here are ten research and leadership ideas to explore:

1) Move to a fully remote model. Get staff co-working alongside your services’ colleagues / helpline colleagues / so when they are together the information flow is a jet hydrant. The rest of the time you’re saving money.

2) Interview and understand NOW the choices that commissioners (of your services) are facing. War-game alongside them as to how the chips may fall and tell them how you’ll react too. This will save time.

3) Ask your beneficiaries about their lives and the choices they are facing. Research ideas for helping them to live better, more fulfilled lives. The answers from research may be very surprising! Yes your charity may go in a different way but it will retain relevancy and support.

4) Get your teams to listen to and decode changes in supporters and campaigners through research. Your teams are your charity’s early warning system for how the recession will impact them.

5) Don’t panic.

6) Do proactively listen to all your staff, to get their ideas. Research with them. They will have ideas you’ve never thought of.

7) Paul Mellor mentioned a presentation a while back where a client only wanted ideas in two sentences. Do this. If the ideas are strong, implement them asap. Eschew board papers and lengthy PowerPoint. No one needs this.

8) Acknowledge that research is scary for people to do. For staff to do. Train them rapidly. And well. Alongside their colleagues. Notice a trend here?

9) When you do research, pay participants cash. Not vouchers. Not a wing and a prayer.

10) Don’t bury your head. You need to listen hard. Now. You need to train hard. At this moment. You’ll shine brighter when the express comes through the station.