I will let you fill in the blank with whatever word works for you.
For many nonprofit organizations (NPOs), it has been a year of super high and super lows. Society at large truly saw the work and massive efforts that NPOs do in our communities. Newfound respect and more profound understanding are always welcome; however, the cost was also super high. Massive increase demand for services, inability to execute programs, pivoting (yes, I had to use it once) on a dime, daily was the norm. State and local agencies are changing the playing field on a daily basis.
Planned Fundraising/ Events
Then there were the whole budget/funding issues. Throw out whatever your board drew up in 2019 because that was not going to happen. Events began dropping like flies in the early spring due to some states restricting movements, NPOs postponed, hoping for a great fall event. Some pulled off summer events due to them being outside. However, by late summer, the deluge of cancelations and pivots alternative formats (be it virtual or social) was in full swing. Many NPOs were caught off guard.
If your NPO did not move to some virtual fundraising or individual contact campaigns, you might be looking at financial statements that are quite bleak right now. However, there is good news. We, as an industry, learned LOTS over the past nine months. Event producers, fundraisers, and technology vendors have created new offerings and found ways to transition to the new world. Just as we as individuals adapted, so did the industry.
There is a wealth of knowledge out there. Others in the development and events space are more than happy to share what they have learned. All seem to understand the seismic shift that the philanthropic space has undergone and know that the rising tide will raise all ships. I am in a number of groups that have begun to have Zooms on this very topic. Reach out to your community, your peers, and learn all you can, the good and the ugly. If you are looking for groups, contact us. National publications in NPO work are also a good resource.
Now the only downside is that now that we have opened up that door, we cannot close it, we will have to have some kind of virtual component to events moving forward, but this is not a bad thing. We have broken down the barrier for donors to give and support your missions. Geographic location, family commitments, ADA accessibility, and ballroom sizes are no longer things that will limit us. We can have a broader reach and share the mission far and wide.
As we close out 2020, I hope that you are safe, warm, and have had a moment of Joy or two this year. 2021 will not be perfect, but I think we can all agree that many of us are hoping it is a step in the right direction.