The upheaval caused by the coronavirus pandemic resulted in many changes to the nonprofit landscape. While some aspects may return to “business as usual,” other areas will require nonprofits to adjust to a permanent new normal.
In light of this, today we want to offer a look at some of the key new trends in the nonprofit sector. Though many are pandemic-related, some are not. To help your nonprofit remain successful in 2021, you should consider developing greater focus in the following areas:
1. Remote Work
The pandemic prompted a rapid shift to remote work for most organizations. Through this experience, many nonprofits learned that allowing their teams to work virtually was much more feasible than they previously thought. As a result, many organizations will continue to allow some form of remote work moving forward, whether it be completely remote or a hybrid model.
The benefits of moving to a remote work model include an increase in employee satisfaction and the ability to expand hiring beyond a single geographic location. In order to achieve success in a remote work environment, nonprofit managers should be sure to focus on promoting employee engagement and collaboration.
2. Virtual Events
In order to do their part to keep the virus at bay, nonprofits had to think fast when it came to retooling their fundraising events. Many found surprising success holding their fundraisers virtually. As such, many nonprofits will consider continuing on with virtual events, even as in-person events become a possibility again.
What are some of the unique advantages of virtual events? Similar to remote work, holding fundraisers online can reduce geographic barriers, allowing for more donors to attend. Additionally, online events make it much easier to glean data about the demographics of event attendees. Nonprofits can analyze this data and utilize it when making future decisions.
3. Mental Health
The pandemic had a big impact on mental health. From burnout, to dealing with significant life changes, to comprehending the great loss of life, everyone felt the impact in a variety of ways. In response, nonprofit leaders should be sure to devote focus to supporting the mental health of their team members. Two good methods of doing this are building good communications and developing strong leadership within the organization.
4. Digital Experience
Everyone is certainly aware, at this point, of the importance of an online presence to any nonprofit organization. It is simply not optional at this point. We recommend two key areas of focus to consider in 2021.
First, you should make sure that your digital presence is mobile friendly. Much of your target audience likely interacts with your nonprofit via their mobile devices. You should ensure that your website, emails, and fundraising tools are easy to use on a smartphone.
Secondly, video content is key. Online video is an important source in driving donations. If you are not already focused on video marketing, you should be. Consider working to reach new markets through video on the various social media platforms, such as Tik Tok and Facebook.
5. Preparing for Future Upheaval
If the coronavirus pandemic took you and your organization by surprise, you are certainly not alone. That said, the lesson is this: you should spend time preparing for the unknown. Some strategies to help with this include developing cross-sector and/or public-private partnerships and relationships to help sustain your mission; adding new services to meet the new demands stemming from the pandemic; and seeking out ways to get funds more quickly via collaborative grantmaking.
The future always holds much that is unknown. That said, focusing your efforts in the areas listed will help put your organization on a stronger footing as you seek to chart new waters in 2021.