Many nonprofit leaders are currently focusing all of their thoughts and attention on the uncertainty of the current pandemic, and how their organization will be impacted in the immediate and long-term. While mandates vary from state to state, overall we have seen mass stay-at-home orders and closures nationwide forcing organizations to make quick – and often tough – decisions about what can or should be done now, and what happens next. Generally, these organizations have fallen into one of three categories: Hibernators, Responders, or Hybrids.
So, where does your organization fall on this continuum, and as a result, what should you be doing now?
Take this time to really build a solid foundation for your organization. Think about things like program development, strategic planning, fund development strategies and research, and a plan to restaff and open your organization when the time comes. Spend some time coming up with a continuity plan so you’re prepared if this happens again. With it, create a special fund for when you reopen to give yourself some leeway as your organization gets back on its feet.
Keep doing what you are doing! And a sincere, heartfelt thank you from the rest of us who are sitting at home writing blog posts about business continuity and innovation while you and your staff are out there on the front lines risking your lives. When you have time – tell your story and the stories of those you are serving. Ask your network and donor base to step up and support your work. But more importantly, if you can dedicate someone on your team to researching emergency response grants, apply for every single one that you can.
Instead of just adapting your programming to suit a virtual, socially distanced world, think about ways to truly innovate. Swallow this fact: Taking what you are currently doing and putting it online, with the idea that you will just transition it back to the way it was in the future and resume business as usual, isn’t a sustainable plan. See an example to learn why not here.
No matter which of these categories you fall under, your organization exists because it plays a vital role in the community and for your stakeholders, and we know that your ability to provide services or meet the needs of your community is important to you. Figuring out which of these categories you fall under is a critical first step before making decisions and taking action, all while giving your organization its best shot at survival so you can continue to bring social good to your community.
If you’re unsure where your organization lands, or what you should do next, let’s talk!