At the risk of adding one more to your inbox today, we asked our Valtas Group colleagues for their guidance and advice on what our nonprofit clients and consulting team are doing to stay focused, positive and constructive.
Many of our Valtas Group team are on the front lines - caring for our communities most vulnerable in securing housing, healthcare, food, and childcare to name a few and others are doing their best to master Zoom, MS Teams and other virtual workplace tools to keep as much forward momentum as possible.
We asked the team for their insights and suggestions, and they all fit well into these categories:
Stay Connected to Create Community
Whether by email, text, or phone – proactively connect with employees, colleagues, board members, and partners to let them know you are there! For our nonprofit clients, many have created staff “town halls,” virtual meetings and trainings, connections and check-ins with partners, and other means of staying connected and informed.
Others are working to create fun opportunities, sharing their work from home workspaces, hosting virtual happy hours, and other team breakouts that maintain connections using technology. Our consulting team is also volunteering where they can at shelters and food banks, and those with the most acute needs in our community!
Build Contingency Plans for Fundraising Shortfalls
Nearly all of the spring fundraising season has been canceled or postponed, leaving many clients with significant budget shortfalls. Online Auctions have taken over, and dedicated philanthropy partners are stepping up to help fund the gap. We’ve been so impressed with our foundation clients and how hard they are working to push out emergency response funds more quickly. Even with significant proactive work, there will likely be difficult decisions to make when we come out on the other side of this crisis.
Proactive planning with your top finance and HR resources, in partnership with board expertise and community partners is vital to get ahead of ways to trim and manage expenses, while still delivering quality service and programming. Ideally, forecasting out beyond the end of 2020, knowing that the current epidemic and likely financial outlook will have a lasting impact far beyond this spring and this fiscal year.
Getting Creative about Program Delivery
It’s incredible what can be done virtually. Valtas client Komen Puget Sound is planning to live-stream its annual conference on Metastatic Breast Cancer. The Seattle Chamber is taking as many events as possible online as they work to support our local business through this unprecedented time. Childcare programs across the city are being reopened at Seattle Public Schools, many by Valtas Client Launch, to support the families of first responders and those whose work is essential in our community.
Communication is Key
Whether keeping updated information in the hands of worried staff members, finding new ways to reach our communities' most vulnerable clients to connect them with services, or working collaboratively with partner agencies or funders, proactive and consistent communication is the way to go.
Crisis Communication planning has long been a best practice for nonprofits, but now more than ever, it’s critically important for nonprofit leaders to reach all stakeholders with a high degree of frequency, with thoughtful information about what is happening (and what is not) in your organization, and what you NEED from them. Donors are ready, willing, and able to step up. There has never been a more critical time to be an active and contributing member of a nonprofit board.
We are all in this together. As one of the first states to identify a case of COVID-19 in our community, the positive message of government, business, nonprofit, and community all working together to help keep Washington safe and healthy is clear. #WeGotThisWa.
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