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Is There an Upside to a Pandemic?

It is a difficult time for non-profits in America and around the world. According to a survey posted by Philanthropy News Digest of nearly five hundred and fifty nonprofits in ninety-three countries conducted between March 24 and 26, 96.5 percent of respondents reported negative impacts related to the virus, including a drop in contributions (67.9 percent); travel restrictions disrupting contact with clients, donors, and recipients (63 percent); issues with client relations (56.4 percent); disruptions to staffing (48.6 percent) or operations (37.6 percent); increased costs (34 percent); and disrupted supply chains (31.1 percent).

Many organizations that work directly with communities have had to adjust their service delivery - from contact-less food distribution, to holding online parenting education classes, to providing tutoring to youth on platforms like Zoom.

Still other organizations have been at a standstill. Youth sports, so essential for many at-risk groups have been unable to hold sessions for months, and those that have restarted in some form have had to cope with new CDC health guidelines.

Despite these difficulties, there is hope. Following the initial downturn in giving in March donations have actually been maintaining or even increasing nationally, as communities rally together to meet the needs of those most hard-hit by the economic downturn following mandated shutdowns. This generosity is led by younger generations, according to Fidelity Charitable, 46 percent of Millennials say they will give more in response to the pandemic, compared to 14 percent of Baby Boomers and 25 percent of Gen X.

The unreserved creativity in serving communities, people and issues is a trait of determination which nonprofit organizations continue to exemplify. And it is also, unbelievably at times, a rare opportunity. Pivot is a word we have heard many clients use in describing the past few months. This great American pivot gives us a chance unlike any other of our generation. To redefine success, to push ourselves to use new resources, technologies and strategies, to develop partnerships where otherwise we might have gone at it alone. There are community assets to discover, new priorities to set, and new ways of reimagining a bold new frontier of nonprofit work. Let us use this time, this national reset button, to realign our missions, assess what is working and what isn’t, and discover, together, new ways of making our communities thrive again, for even as we are apart, as everyone has been saying, we are together.

We would be honored to act as a guide to your organization in developing this new roadmap. We offer services in strength-based strategic planning that serve as a way to reimagine, renew, and redevelop your mission, vision, strategies, and goals in this new frontier. If you haven’t visited our Strategic Planning page, we encourage you to do so for a glimpse into our process.

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