Purpose & Impact
These days, when referencing the word “normal,” it’s important to delineate if you mean pre-COVID normal or during-COVID normal (which also seems to change from day to day). It goes without saying, however, that our future normal will likely look quite different than anything we’ve experienced up to this point.
As the world turned upside down during the coronavirus pandemic, we witnessed not only the health effects of the virus but the economic effects as well. While many people experienced this by way of their favorite retail stores and restaurants shutting down, many don’t realize the effects that it’s had on the nonprofit community.
Nonprofits that rely on volunteers to participate and donations to fund are struggling right alongside the corporate world and are having to make the same difficult decisions to cut budgets, redefine services, and show up for their constituents in ways that they’ve never had to in the past. But, along with the challenges that have come along, leaders of organizations are in a unique position to revisit their purpose and focus in on the best of the benefits they offer their audiences.
In a time when money is tight and in-person collaboration is hard to come by, here are some tips for connecting your purpose with your audience and continuing to make an impact for your team, your members and your stakeholders:
1. Debrief on your Mission & Purpose
Schedule a discussion with those closest to the day-to-day operations of your organization and dissect your mission and purpose. Dive deep into why your organization exists, who you serve, and what their needs are right now. Getting back to the root of why you’re in business will help you define how others can benefit from the programs and services that you offer.
2. Make a “What We Do” List
Spend some time with your staff to create an extensive list of all the things that you do on a daily, weekly, monthly, and annual basis. List out everything – from checking the post office box daily, to mailing membership invoices monthly, to planning and hosting your annual fundraiser. Your list should be long and extensive. Then, talk together about a plan for the next 6-12 months and which ‘things that you do’ get to go on that list. Are there tasks that you know you won’t be able to do right now that should be taken off your mental radar? Are there underutilized programs that you’ve been looking for the perfect time to ditch? After a discussion – reevaluate your list and consider any time that you’ve freed up to focus on newly created benefits.
3. Get Creative
Think about what your members and stakeholders need right now and then consider new ways to provide those benefits. Do you have event sponsors that have missed out on some opportunities to meet new people? How can you connect those people in a different way that still provides value? If you’re a membership-based organization, think about the top 3 issues that your members are currently facing and consider how you can alleviate those problems in a new way that helps them and also demonstrates the benefit of being part of your organization and your commitment to innovation.
Organizations and companies alike will be forced to reconsider their “normal” business practices moving into the post-COVID world and will be pressed harder than ever to prove the value they provide. Taking some time to evaluate your purpose and benefits and develop new offerings and initiatives that serve your mission will leave a lasting impact on those who benefit from your organization.