Dominos Stopping Crisis

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Viken Mikaelian

Viken Mikaelian


Leading Your Nonprofit Through a Crisis

We’ve been living with COVID-19 for almost 2 years, and there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. But nonprofits have been facing an unprecedented crisis. This is a watershed moment.

That’s why it’s critical to have strong leadership and a comprehensive plan — not just to survive, but to thrive. Start here:


Keep staff and donors in the loop. They need to know how your organization is continuing to respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Are your programs still facing restrictions or lack of funding because of the pandemic? Have you had to change up your operations and procedures to make sure your staff and beneficiaries are kept safe and healthy? When everyone feels connected, including donors, volunteers, beneficiaries and staff members, it alleviates anxiety.

Circle the financial wagons.

Your budget is stretched, but you must deliver on your mission. Flag spending that can be halted temporarily or permanently.

Invest more in fundraising.

Strengthen donor communications. Focus on stewardship, knowing that donors are humans too and are probably experiencing the same sort of pandemic anxiety you are increase calls, postcards, and prospect visits. Launch — or strengthen — your planned giving program.


The pandemic has changed everything. Stop fighting it.
Can’t hold that gala? Try a telethon (even better, invest in planned giving). Can’t have everyone in the office at once? Develop a rotating schedule.


Ensure your development team works closely with the rest of your staff. Give everyone a chance to brainstorm about fundraising and cost-cutting. Team up with other nonprofits to deliver services, partner on a fundraiser, share resources, or share ideas.

Make staff and volunteers a priority.

Keep them safe with appropriate technology and gear. Let them know you value their wellbeing.

Make planned giving a priority.

This is a no-brainer. You’ll grow your endowment faster, have funds as a hedge against an emergency, and show donors you’re serious about your mission.

It’s easy to get caught up in the uncertainty of the moment and succumb to fear. But the only way out of the woods is by charting a clear path forward.

By the Numbers

Consider the recruitment opportunities for your organization that these stats indicate:

  • About 63 million Americans (25% of the adult population) volunteer their time, talents, and energy to making a difference.
  • These people spend an average of 52 hours/year volunteering.
  • 72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while 18.3% are involved with two.

Random interesting stats presented monthly from various sources.