CNLP 344: Scott Harrison on How to Lead Through a Long Economic Slump, How to Approach High and Low Net Worth Donors, and Finding Opportunities in the Chaos

How long will the economic slump and uncertainty last? Scott Harrison of charity: water thinks leaders should brace for a long disruption, and shares why that is. Whether you agree or not, preparing for the worst positions you to flourish no matter what the outcome.

Scott also talks about multiple pivots charity: water has done, how to approach high and low net worth donors in a down economy, and how to find opportunities in the chaos.

Welcome to Episode 344 of the podcastListen and access the show notes below or search for the Carey Nieuwhof Leadership Podcast on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts and listen for free.

Plus, in this episode’s What I’m Thinking About segment, Carey talks about talk about why so many leaders are so anxious to open up their churches and what some of the worst practices for that are.

Guest Links

Headshot of Scott Harrison from charity: water

Scott on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter
charity: water on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Episode Links

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Despite what many church leaders believe, the economy is NOT the main driver of your financial health. Economic cycles simply reveal what was already happening below the surface. If your planning and processes were effective before March, the current crisis is probably not rocking your world. Your giving may actually be up right now.

Our friends at Generis just released a new resource that we are super excited about called Your 2020 Budget Just Blew Up….Now What? This eBook covers the planning and processes you need to strengthen right away in order to weather the current storm and thrive in the months ahead.

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Check out this free resource by visiting or by texting CAREY to 33222


Text willithrive to 33777 to get access to Carey’s Will I Thrive quiz

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The Idiot’s Guide to Reopening Your Church by Carey Nieuwhof


1. In the future, you might only need a quarter of the office space you used pre-pandemic

One of charity: water’s biggest fundraising tools was its amazing office space which featured a gallery of wells that they’ve built all around the world. The downtown Manhattan office housed 120 employees and always had a positive energy that made touring donors feel like they were a part of something big. But, Scott might change all of that.

When the Coronavirus pandemic hit, charity: water closed their offices and half of their team fled the chaos in New York City. They became a remote organization overnight, and as a result, Scott’s team is even more productive at home than they are in the office. In the future, he will likely downsize the office, keep the gallery and let his team stay home.

2. Many top business and tech leaders believe the economic disruption could last 3-4 years

Many people are talking like we are through the worst of the financial hardships coming from the pandemic, but Scott isn’t so sure. After watching a few experts, like Warren Buffet, he thinks that we haven’t found the bottom of the financial crisis just yet, and that non-profits will likely get hit hard over the next couple of years.

The best case scenario that Scott’s heard from any leader is a two-year recovery. And he’s even hearing a three to four-year recovery from most CEOs. If it does go for that long, Scott sees a lot of non-profits running out of cash and declaring bankruptcy simply because they didn’t initially cut deep enough into their budgets.

3.  You aren’t the only one calling your major donors. Have a plan. 

Every non-profit has a few high net worth donors who they know have the capital to keep the organization afloat. And, if they are ever going to ask them for more money, now is the time. The problem with this is that every single charity that those high net worth individuals are supporting is coming to them with the same request.

That approach is typically not what Scott has found high net worth donors want to donate to. They want organizations that have planned ahead, are strategic, and are willing to make sacrifices to navigate through this time and not just keep asking for money when they need it.

Quotes from Episode 344

This is going to be kind of the great re-imagination or reinvention for a lot of groups. @scottharrison Click To Tweet

Clean water is literally the first line of defense against the virus. @scottharrison Click To Tweet

It's inaction that then leads to a paralyzing fear @scottharrison Click To Tweet

Explosive, high growth companies are...finding that their industries are not interrupted, their industries are disrupted. @scottharrison Click To Tweet

There's a real preservation moment or message that I'm hoping people get because I'm seeing the agile tech companies make these quick moves. @scottharrison Click To Tweet

There's going to be a macro shift to local giving, which is seriously not a bad thing. @scottharrison Click To Tweet

Cut hard and fast. Don't do death by 1,000 cuts. @scottharrison Click To Tweet

Read or Download the Transcript for Episode 344

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Last 24 Hours To Save on The 30 Day Pivot


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I’ve led teams through multiple pivots, and in the 30 Day Pivot, I show you the strategy and framework you need to make quick, accurate and responsive moves that can position your organization for growth, even in the midst of deep uncertainty and change.

Some organizations and churches will thrive in the new normal.

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While the future is uncertain, yours doesn’t have to be.

You can learn more and gain instant access to the 30 Day Pivot here.

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Next Episode: Paula Faris

Paula Faris got to the very top of broadcast journalism—hosting Good Morning America and co-hosting The View and then walked away. She talks about how calling and identity get unheathily fused, how to de-couple your identity from your calling, what journalism has taught her about leadership, and how she thinks journalists have handled the COVID crisis.

Subscribe for free now so you won’t miss Episode 345.

CNLP 344: Scott Harrison on How to Lead Through a Long Economic Slump, How to Approach High and Low Net Worth Donors, and Finding Opportunities in the Chaos

1 Comment

  1. Deezer Free on October 4, 2020 at 2:35 am

    I think that Deezer music is trending nowadays.

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