Maybe this is due to concerns over other timely threats (the economy, foreign military conflicts, the rising cost of living) or sheer fatigue from being on guard for so long. Or maybe it’s because respected health organizations like the WHO have announced that the end of the pandemic is near. It’s hard to pinpoint the cause.
But regardless of what’s driving it, most of society seems to be largely ignoring COVID at this point. People are gathering with friends and loved ones, traveling again for leisure and for business, and expecting that in-person events are going to be held like they were before. Office work may continue to be remote or hybrid, but in all other areas we are back to a face-to-face culture.
This perspective shift is important for nonprofit organizations to understand if they are going to continue to be effective, and here's why:
The Time to be Reactive is Over
In March of 2020 everything paused. That pause was intended to be a short-term change to ensure a better future outcome for everyone. But that pause lingered well beyond the expected two weeks. And, in time, companies and nonprofits realized a need to pivot their strategies. How people worked changed. What kind of work they did changed. And for nonprofit organizations, who they served and how they served them changed as well.
We saw health organizations go entirely virtual, facing new barriers of how they would affect positive change in their communities’ most underserved populations when many of the people they were serving didn’t have access to the same technologies that they were relying on to keep the organization going. We saw activist groups tackle new challenges as they advocated for the rights of those that were being disproportionately affected by the virus. And we saw community service organizations try to overcome the challenges of finding volunteers to further their important missions when social distancing was of paramount importance.
Organizations pivoted every time state and local mandates changed and public sentiment shifted. Many had no other option than to wait and see what was going to happen and respond in the best way that they could given their available personnel and assets. Strategy became an entirely reactive game.
And now? Now that people are heralding that “COVID has come to an end” whether that is true or not, it is time for nonprofit organizations to look at strategic planning like they used to before the pandemic – with a proactive optimism and determination to look forward at the opportunities that lie ahead.
It’s Time to Re-Plan
Even if you’re not convinced that COVID is going to come to an end any time soon, there is one other big reason why it’s time to change your strategic plan now: it’s time!
Nonprofits typically make 3-year plans, so if your organization is still using the same plan that it implemented in 2020, it is time to revisit it as we head into 2023. Regardless of what else is going on externally, your plan has run its course and it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
Your new strategic plan must include the following:
Nonprofit strategic planning requires strong executive leadership because without the right people at the helm, the organization will not be poised to grow and continue doing the good work that they do in their community. Whether you need nonprofit consulting to overcome organizational challenges, strategic support in the way of board advisory services, or executive search services when your leader is planning an exit, we have the experienced team in place to assist your organization through anything it may face!
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