As the world changes rapidly around us, we are reaching out today to provide another update and encourage you to keep moving forward. In our last communication, we likened this time to an uphill bike ride – it’s important to keep pedaling, even if at a slower pace!
At Kennari Consulting, we continue to closely monitor the COVID-19 outbreak and follow Kent County Health Department and Ottawa County Health Department guidelines (visit accesskent.com for more information). They are working with the State of Michigan and the CDC and are updating the local guidelines as state and national guidelines change. We are following the CDC’s Guidance for Businesses and Employers. As such, we moved all client and internal team meetings to video or phone. While some of us are learning how to use it, we are thankful for the technology that allows us to continue supporting our nonprofit clients in their important work.
As we work together to adjust to rapidly changing conditions, we offer you a few pieces of practical advice to make sure you keep pedaling up that hill.
TIP #1: Working remote can be daunting. Create a “work from home” plan.
A few ways to help you stay productive while working remotely include creating a dedicated work space in your home, with all your supplies; creating as much of a structured schedule as possible, making sure to include breaks for yourself; and getting creative with communication and going beyond email – chat apps and videoconferencing can help you feel more connected. Remember to communicate regularly with staff on priorities and expectations, so they have direction on how to handle this unusual situation – and provide supports and resources when needed to help staff manage this unique work environment.
TIP #2: It seems counter-intuitive right now but stay in touch with your donors.
In this time of great uncertainty, your donors do want to hear from you. They want to know what you are doing to address this crisis and how your constituents will continue to receive services– and they will also be thankful for the connection. While we are all doing the right thing by keeping to ourselves to contain this outbreak, there is no doubt that many individuals will be alone and will welcome the opportunity to hear from one of their favorite organizations. We suggest you create a list of your donors or major donors (whichever number is more manageable) and personally call each one to 1.) ask how they are doing during this difficult time, and 2.) provide a brief update on how your organization is handling the outbreak. This may not be the right time to make an ask – but also do not be surprised if donors ask how they can help.
TIP #3: Figure out how to maintain the impact of your upcoming events so you don’t lose ground.
We know that, for the near future, events cannot be conducted in person. However, there is likely a better option than simply canceling your event. There are many ways to mobilize supporters virtually, and it’s likely your major donors and sponsors are looking for ways to help organizations provide the services needed by so many in our community during this time. Put together a plan that can continue to move your mission forward.
TIP #4: Pursue those grant opportunities, even if it feels hard to plan for the future right now.
In times of need, funders step up to the plate, and we know grant opportunities are still there, though priorities will likely shift. Funders may be interested in supporting your organization’s efforts to respond to this complex situation, and these resources may be enormously helpful to you as you adapt to these new circumstances.
And finally, take a moment during the chaos of our current reality to reflect on the value of your work. Each and every one of you makes an impact, and this community needs you. We are here to help you continue your incredibly important services and programs. While no one is sure how long we will have to pedal uphill, what we do know is that, at some point, there will certainly be an end.