Post-Covid Not-for-Profit Best Practices
The past 15 months or so have been a challenging time for not-for-profits. In addition to pivoting to a virtual workplace, not-for-profits had to deal with changes to their fundraising efforts as well as changes in societal perceptions about diversity and social responsibility. Some of these changes will stay with us even as we edge back to in-person work and events.
Virtual engagement is not going away, either for employees or for donors. In some ways this is a good thing: organizations can reach a wider audience and attract talent from a broader market. With a presence on the internet, even small not-for-profits have a global presence. But that presence also ties organizations to societal norms and mores in a way that makes branding and messaging more important than ever.
To help ensure the organization’s efforts are consistent and on message, the organization’s board of directors and executive director need to work together. Investing in the right technology, such as financial and project management software, coupled with appropriate training, will help create new opportunities for the organization. Everyone involved needs be committed to these efforts.
Reassess Your Current Situation
This also is a good time to reassess the organization’s ongoing programs and messaging to determine whether they are still effective: Will a gala that has been on hiatus for two years be as big a draw as it was prior to the pandemic? Can the organization’s raise its profile because its mission is on the social radar? Are new skills and talents needed for an open position or has the job description stayed the same? Can the organization’s website be more interactive? Has the donor base expanded or contracted?
Another area that needs to be reviewed is whether the public’s perception of the organization changed during the pandemic. Positive changes can be a springboard to growth while negative perceptions must be handled as crisis situations.
Once the answers to these questions are clear, the organization will have a good idea of what needs to be accomplished to better fulfill the organization’s mission. Then, the items on the list can be prioritized in order of importance and aligned with the organization’s budget.
The answers also provide a basis for the board to meet and discuss whether the organization’s strategies need to change. The board should also discuss the organization’s messaging. Usually, the executive director is the organization’s designated spokesperson, while the chairman of the board speaks for the board and its policies. Having everyone on the same page helps ensure that everyone is delivering the same message to the public.
Taking the time now to talk about these things can provide a path toward more targeted fundraising efforts and a more engaged board, staff and volunteer community.
Contact us to help you evaluate your organization’s needs.