Ladies and Gentlemen, may I direct your attention to the gallery? We are joined today by a phenomenal group of nonprofit leaders, staff, and volunteers. You may not recognize all the faces, but I’m sure many are familiar. I assure you that they have all been working very hard during these difficult times. They deserve our appreciation and hardy applause…
Nonprofit organizations have been under tremendous stress these last months. That’s no surprise – we’ve all been under more pressure than usual as COVID-19 impacts our families, work, churches, our communities — our lives.
As a result, change is everywhere. It is no less evident for every nonprofit organization you support. Unlike business, driven by sales and consumer demand, nonprofit organizations are mission-driven.
Businesses, unlike nonprofit organizations, change as consumers change. Nonprofit organizations start with a focus and a target – a specific group, community, or a type of service. The organization aims to make a difference, to have an impact.
How they choose to implement the mission is an entirely different matter. Slowly, over time, the how is etched in stone. Services are provided day after day, year after year – in much the same way – with little change.
Then a virus arrives and stops everything. There are no services as usual, in many cases they grind to a complete halt. To continue requires out of the box thinking.
Change is required…right now!
Has a New Normal Arrived? Is a new normal another way of describing the white water of change? Or is it facing the aftermath of a tsunami?
New Normal or Change by Tsunami
I’ve reflected a lot on the phrase, “this is the new normal.” I’ve even written that what we’re experiencing now is not a “new normal,” completely resisting the term. Have I been resisting change?
The term, new normal, bubbled up from economists describing the impact of the financial crisis of 2007-2008. It defined significant shifts in economic conditions. Economists will soon use it again to explain how things have changed financially for the long term after COVID-19.
Today the term has slid into everyday talk, used to describe the relentless change triggered by a relentless virus. What it meant before, financial abnormalities that become commonplace, now describes all things abnormal becoming commonplace.
Reckoning with the abnormal doesn’t always result in long-term change. I think my nonprofit friends would say many of these changes are here to stay.
The Power to Change is the Power to Grow
John F. Kennedy once said, “Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”
The virus changed our present. Virtually every nonprofit organization you know and support is doing a phenomenal job of surviving the present and reckoning with an uncharted future.
Remember the nonprofit folks sitting in the gallery? You can see them in your mind’s eye, right? The executive director at your favorite nonprofit, your friend who is a member of the board of directors of a small nonprofit serving a tiny and targeted audience, your neighbor who volunteers or works at – well, you pick the organization.
They face an incredible task. They deserve our applause!
Would everyone in the gallery please stand?
Ladies and gentlemen, join me one more time in a round of applause for the nonprofit leaders, staff, and volunteers in the gallery.
Send a virtual round of applause. Pat someone on the back. Leave a comment about someone at a nonprofit doing an awesome job.
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