In this new, weird time, IPaintMyMind like most smaller nonprofits is thinking critically about how to best navigate a year that has quickly gone pear-shaped. While all of us have had to adapt on every level as individuals and families, businesses and nonprofits are also feeling the squeeze of an economy that has been halted by Covid-19.
As an Executive at a small nonprofit, I can speak from personal experience as to what we’ve implemented in an effort to ensure our sustainability and survival, throughout this year and beyond.
As the public health crisis is addressed, we’ve attempted to stay in touch with clients and partners while understanding everyone is worried about their basic needs & bottom lines. But we’ve also noticed a lot of reactivity exhibited by companies and organizations, as if needing to beat others to the punch.
To make sure our energy was focused on the highest value items, we’ve come up with a plan that has helped us put things in perspective. All we can do is our best with the things we can actually control. The following points address how small nonprofits can avoid spinning their wheels in a time of uncertainty.
Just, Stop. Everything.
At least for a little bit. Nonprofits are notorious for having staff working in multiple areas, operating on a shoestring budget, and doing more with less. Your scrappiness and grit is to be admired, but for right now, just stop, everything. The last 4-8 weeks has seen a lot of nonprofits pivoting quickly, moving fast to launch new things, all while people are more concerned with primal, baseline concerns.
At IPMM, we also struggled with the balance between support & noise, finding that it felt right to stop, reflect, and think more about real-time solutions for our partners and clients, not positioning a new offering in a communication habitat that is increasingly crowded.
Stopping to listen and beginning to understand what your constituents need right now is an important first step. Note: what you need to do might not be what you had planned on doing – but it might be! Be open to that discernment.
Communicate Openly With Your Team
Employees are getting bad news daily, unemployment claims are through the roof, and everyone is living with a little bit of a cloud over their heads. Whether you need to let everyone go now or are in a really good place to weather the coronavirus storm, your team needs to know that.
They need to know how they might be affected and waiting to tell them isn’t doing them any favors. In the age of social media and the 46,000 ways to get in touch with someone, silence is deafening. Giving your team a realistic chance of pivoting with success if this means your organization is done, is the least you can do.
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