Coronavirus has thrown all Canadian nonprofits for a loop. Fundraising takes a hit, office life is upended and our ability to maintain normal communication with donors has been interrupted.
Given this new temporary reality, your team will have to make many decisions in the coming months which will affect the organization’s long-term health. Let’s look at three issues your nonprofit may be facing:
No boss I ever worked for allowed me to work remotely. The belief was: You get more done in the office and would just goof off at home. Clearly my bosses never spent time in the break room.
There are many ways coronavirus can be passed from one person to the next. Coming to the office may pose a health risk to fellow workers. Sick employees means a reduction in work production. You may have no choice but to allow staff to work from home.
Thankfully, technology provides everything needed to keep your operations running smoothly. From email to video chats to file sharing platforms, people can take the office home with them and not miss a beat.
Embrace remote work. In fact, you might find it creates more cohesion within your staff.
Working With Consultants
Your organization may be working with one or several consultants. It is important to note that the virus is probably affecting their business. Speaking opportunities are being cancelled, they can’t meet face-to-face with clients and some of them are trying to complete their work while stuck at home with their kids.
So even if they usually come into the office once a week, remote work is now the new normal. Consultants will work with you to determine the best tools and platforms to utilize to keep the lines of communications open.
As this pandemic causes havoc with everyone’s daily routine, consultants may have to change their hours of work. They will continue to provide you with top-notch work and help you steer your ship through turbulent waters. But allow them a little leeway to figure it all out with you.
Keeping In Touch With Stakeholders
Your staff, volunteers, online followers, donors, funders and partners need to hear from you! There is a lot of uncertainty out there and your team needs to be transparent, up front and convey that everything is under control.
This means communicating with all your stakeholders. Lay out for them the difficulties the virus is causing but also your strategy for continuing to provide services for your beneficiaries. ALL of your stakeholders are affected and now is a time to empathize with them and see how you can be of help.
That includes donors: Fundraising should be a two-way street. Offer assistance to donors. As strange as that might sound, they will appreciate you reaching out via a personal phone call or email to see how they’re doing. Your job now is to keep the lines of communications open, even if you can’t conduct face-to-face meetings or see them at events.
There are many unknowns right now. Strong leadership, a firm strategy and clear communications with everyone in and out of the office will help your nonprofit not just survive but thrive.
Next week, in part two, I’ll discuss how consultants can work with nonprofits who may be in crisis mode.
Ephraim Gopin is the founder of 1832 Communications, an agency which helps your nonprofit raise more money through strategic and smart marketing and communications. He is always happy to connect with nonprofit pros via Twitter, LinkedIn, on the phone/video chat or via his daily nonprofit newsletter.
Photo credit: Photo by Melinda Gimpel on Unsplash