By Mary Moss.
For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today. African Proverb
The past six weeks have tested all of our abilities – personally, professionally, and societally. By almost any measure, the blow of this virus has been mitigated by the selfless response of people and nonprofits that have stepped up in ways unthinkable two months ago.
What have we learned? While we and our society have changed forever, we can be ready when the cloud lifts, as it surely will. Before you miss the moment, stop, think, document, and act on what you have learned. This new knowledge will make us stronger.
Review the following five …abilities to assess what has happened and how you can be stronger in the future.
- Capability – You have now seen what you are capable of accomplishing when put to the test. Use this newfound knowledge to take inventory on mission delivery. Can your organization look at scalability and accessibility in new and creative ways? One local nonprofit altered its mission to meet the evolving needs of its clients and to support partner agencies that were without means. What changes did you make? Hold onto the ones that positively affect your organization’s stability.
- Adaptability – You have not been able to accomplish your work as you did in the past. You have had to be creative and adapt. What program adaptations are temporary, and what should become permanent? One client opened a testing clinic within its facility, and this new strategic partnership may mean other medical tests will be performed there in the future. Another client is re-thinking the number of events it was having, realizing the frequency is not as critical as once thought. Many nonprofits found new partners to meet a temporary deficit; going forward, can those nonprofits become better strategic partners? Many nonprofit collaborations and compatibilities would not have been discovered but for this crisis.
- Flexibility – Can you offer a more flexible work environment because you now understand the technology? Will you look at your hiring pool differently? Many clients have learned that much can be accomplished on video calls. Although we miss the personal touch, we have adapted to the need, and we have the option for using these platforms in the future. Boards, staffs, volunteers, committees, clubs, and families have embraced the new tools. People have even had fun doing it – creativity is at a high point.
- Sustainability – Generous donors in the Triangle have jumped in with millions to support nonprofits and for-profits caught in the COVID web. Clear and consistent communications have helped our nonprofit clients build new relationships and strengthen existing ones, what we have called “extreme stewardship.” Sustain these relationships going forward to increase your probability of raising more money in the long run.
- Vulnerability – Almost everyone has learned where they are most vulnerable: a lack of funding or technology or IT training; having no crisis management or communications plan in place; or having no back-up plan for service delivery. Focus now, before you forget, on your liabilities. Let today’s lessons prepare you for tomorrow’s crisis.
If you have an action plan, amend it now, and incorporate the good that has emerged from this crisis. If you need help putting what you have learned into an actionable fundraising plan, or you need expert advice on crisis planning and communications, please contact us. If you have had to implement layoffs, we can also help with interim staffing. We look forward to a future full of abilities, and would welcome the opportunity to help get you there.