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How Nonprofits can Build Resilience for the Next Normal

How Nonprofits can Build Resilience for the Next Normal

Keynote Summary from Fundraising, Unpaused — Lori Freeman, VP Nonprofit Industry Solutions and Strategy, Salesforce.org 

In her impactful 20-minute Keynote: How Nonprofits can Build Resilience for the Next Normal, Lori outlines her top “bright lights” and potential opportunities that will propel nonprofit organizations into the next normal.

We’ve outlined some key learnings below. Looking for the full recording? All sessions from Fundraising, Unpaused are now available to download here.

Finding the Bright Lights 

As we transition into the next normal, nonprofit organizations are looking for ways to increase audience engagement, promote online giving and minimize the impact of COVID-19 on their mission. 

“For many of us, this has been the most difficult chapter in your organization’s history. But as we know, with great challenges comes great opportunity.

— LORI FREEMAN

Many organizations are experiencing severe challenges and setbacks during this time including layoffs, cancelled events, changed programs, equity and diversity challenges, technological limitations — the list goes on. Lori discusses how we should be trying to turn these challenges into opportunities.

Some of her top “bright lights” to come out of this difficult time include:

  • Finding ways to reach and engage with new audiences
  • Being forced into a digital-first approach 
  • Remote work flexibility, creating more time to connect with more people 
  • Seeking out new funding opportunities

The Time to Give

Lori goes on to discuss Giving USA’s 2019 Annual Report on Philanthropy which outlines all four contribution sources —  individual, foundation, bequest and corporation —  were on the increase last year. 

Furthermore, in a recent study by Fidelity Charitable, the large majority of surveyed individuals said they would either increase or maintain the same level of giving despite COVID-19. Within this group, Millenials are by far the most open to increasing their giving, with 46% saying they’ll increase donations, compared with just 14% of Baby Boomers.

“One of the sayings in planning giving is that it’s often around a life event  a new mortgage, the birth of a grandchild, retirement where people begin to have these reflection times. What we’re really seeing now is that the entire country is going through a life event, simultaneously.”

— PATRICK SCHMITT, CO-CEO, FREEWILL

So, when presented with all this information the hardest question to answer is, “What should my organization do to make the most of this situation?”. 

Building Resilience in the Next Normal

Everyone has an opinion on how to act, but how can you make sense of all the noise to create a robust response strategy? 

Readiness Assessment

  • How and when do we get supporters and employees back into physical spaces?
  • Do we need to reimagine who we are and how we engage with our supporters?
  • Will I have the right skills for the Next Normal?
  • Is my organization set up to handle any future crisis? 

Planning Your Action Strategy

Start by planning a strategy around each of these four considerations: 

  1. How you make decisions
    • Structure planning and information gathering
    • Use internal and external data to assess if, when and who to safely return to the workplace
    • Establish a data culture with tools, visualizations and KPIs
  1. How you work
    • Develop an internal communications cadence 
    • Prioritize collaboration and increase productivity
    • Consider upskilling and reskilling to align to new ways of working
  1. How you engage stakeholders
    • Focus on stakeholders and constituents 
    • Redesign stakeholder experience based on new needs
    • Deepen personalization through digital engagement
  1. How you involve and serve communities 
    • Engage with businesses and corporate partners to support fundraising and program efforts
    • Facilitate civic leadership and cooperation between your organization, businesses, communities and government
    • Increase advocacy for your mission thought transparent impact measures 

Our favourite Words of Wisdom from Lori for the Next Normal

1. Now is NOT the time to cut fundraising or marketing budgets

2. Stay in touch with your constituents, this is not a time to be silent

3. Work on every level of your donor pyramid

4. Applaud generosity – thank your supporters, connect with your ambassadors

5. Now is the time to try new things – even if they haven’t worked before

6. Learn from the past, don’t be weighed down by it

7. Recommit to collaboration – we’re all in this together

“Above all, be kind to yourself.”

If you’d like to learn more about undertaking a digital transformation of your own, get in touch with a member of our nonprofit team. The full recording of Lori’s How Nonprofits can Build Resilience for the Next Normal is now available to download below.

Fundraising, Unpaused

Looking for the full recording? All sessions from Fundraising Unpaused are now available to download.

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