Stressful times such as the Great Recession have forced nonprofit managers to look closely at what they do and how they do it. Dealing with a crisis can often be helpful in the long run, and some managers have gained from the experience.
One thing that some, but not all, have learned is that preparation can be a huge help when a crisis comes along.
John Davidoff, founder and managing director of Davidoff Communications in Chicago, Ill., maintains that there are several key steps nonprofits can take, in both crisis and non-crisis situations to help them fulfill their missions. He uses Night Ministry as an example.
- See opportunity in everything. Failure to see opportunity in challenges leads to a death grip on the status quo.
- Bank on the board. Key members helped leadership at Night Ministry see that no one person in the organization was at fault for the economic downturn and that they could work together to deal with the situation.
- Plan, plan, plan. An effective, comprehensive strategic plan that covers multiple contingencies is more valuable than gold when a crisis hits.
- Stretch yourself and the organization. Being willing to go beyond a narrow job description can be invigorating for an individual and the organization.
- Trust and empower your people. People can accomplish a lot when they are given support by their supervisors.
- Share your story. This can stimulate empathy and enhance giving.
- Be a mission-driver. Mission-driven organizations rarely exist without a mission-driver at the helm.