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It's Time to Be Thinking Past the Pandemic Featured

It's Time to Be Thinking Past the Pandemic Levi Jones

It is now over seven months since the coronavirus pandemic led to the lockdown. This has impacted the economy significantly. With the pandemic, almost every industry has been adversely affected and losses incurred due to the closure of businesses. Nonprofits are among the organizations that have been affected the most by the pandemic. The industry is filled with uncertainty and unforeseen challenges that include cancellation of events and trying to find out how to navigate the tough terrain. They are seeing donations drop, operations halted and cash reserves dwindle.

With all these challenges occasioned, reimagining an organization is difficult. Organizational leaders are often faced with hard day-to-day challenges, changing demands, and uncertainty, not only among the leaders of the organization but among the donors as well. Regardless of these issues, it is always possible to redesign your organization to meet the changing landscape. 

Transitioning from a crisis such as the one we are facing now is different for every nonprofit. It is not all about looking at what someone else is doing out there to remedy itself from a crisis and copy-pasting it. You need to know that you are not them because you are different in many aspects including strengths and weaknesses, and uniqueness. Although it can be hard to find the best way forward by yourself, it also presents a great opportunity to discover your nonprofit and use the knowledge to your own advantage. Copying others will always make you lag a few steps behind and you will be less successful than they are. You can of course adapt things that work but that should not come at the expense of trying things yourself.

Another step is to be the definition of what you want to achieve. Collect input as much as possible from everyone within the organization such as the staff, board. Do the same from outside such as the donors and other stakeholders. Hearing from these groups at the beginning of the process allows you to draw concrete conclusions going forward. Ask critical questions that will get you answers that you need to move a step further and develop alternative approaches to fundraising. Ensure that the answers guide your strategy and determine the priorities that you should be dealing with as you move forward. Always strive to go beyond your organization and involve candid and data-driven engagements about the existing programs and how they will be impacted by the new environment. 

Evaluate your initiative and programs, focus groups, and reports. As it has emerged from the pandemic, organizations must think creatively on better methods to engage donors and stakeholders in a face of any pandemic if they are to survive tough times. Ask yourself if the existing strategies can solve new problems. If not, what are the other methods that can be used to engage them? Will the temporary programs and delivery approaches be adequate to meet the target of your organization? By asking yourself these questions, you generate an understanding of the goals of your organization, what will work, what might not work, and the possible solutions to the existing problems. 

Include as many people as you possibly would in your re-imagination process. Think about whom will be involved, how staff will have a voice, and how you will invite them in the process. Allowing everyone to participate will give you a more inclusive and diverse organization, which in itself is the beginning of success. Ask yourself if you will be capable of maintaining the personnel structure as the environment change. 

In the process also, think of how much it will cost you because finances are the main driver of almost every activity. Know the cost of any program and consider both the direct and indirect costs. Knowing all the costs will allow you to develop a sound and accurate budget. Generally, although reimagining your organization is not easy, it mainly requires focus on all aspects of your operating environment and designing programs that suit the new one. 

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for PMG360. He is a technology writer and editor with 20+ years experience delivering high value content to readers and publishers. 

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