As the world settles into the “new normal” of life with COVID-19, new patterns emerge in people’s business and personal lives. What was important in 2019 now seems unimportant. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to rethink and reprioritize what gives their lives meaning and purpose.
We also see significant effects ripple throughout the business community. These effects are likely to impact the nonprofit business community just as much, if not more, than the for-profit world. The following three are the most likely COVID-19 changes that will continue well beyond the current crisis.
Celebrating the Average Citizen
People still enjoy sports and mourn the loss of baseball, football, and other national sporting events. Glamorous Hollywood stars still vie for Instagram attention. Celebrities remain in the news.
Yet fewer people look to them as role models. Instead, many recognize that the true heroes in our midst aren’t the athletes, the movie and television stars, or the musicians. The true heroes are the doctors, nurses, and other healthcare workers clocking in for their shifts on the front line during the pandemic…the first responders, like our police and fire departments, who are essential workers and must respond no matter what the danger to themselves.
It’s the return of the ordinary citizen as a hero, and we couldn’t be more delighted with this change.
Expected impact: Nonprofits who work with celebrities for endorsements may find that choosing a local hero for a spokesperson resonates better with their constituents. Celebrating the heroes at your nonprofit and the role they played in the COVID-19 outbreak (if any) may also be a story worth telling.
Telecommuting Gains Wider Acceptance
COVID-19 forced everyone to work from home. Some transitioned smoothly, especially those using cloud-based systems. Other struggled. But most are finding that there’s little if any, loss of productivity once their employees get used to working from home.
Businesses everywhere are now part of the most massive telecommuting experiment in history. And it’s working to everyone’s benefit. Pollution is down, thanks to fewer cars on the road. Even insurance companies are giving rebates to drivers for a portion of their insurance premiums because there are fewer accidents.
Expected impact: Workers will continue to request remote work options. Technology will respond by providing better equipment to stay in touch and collaborate over distances. The days of large office spaces may be over. Instead, only core workers will gather in an office, or workers will spend part of the week in the office and part working remotely. Remote work is here to stay.
Move Over, MacGyver
In the 1980s, a television hero name MacGyver used everyday items – duct tape, a Swiss army knife – to get out of trouble rapidly. To “MacGyver” something became code for figuring out an ingenious solution to an emergency.
Today, we see “MacGyver” solutions to many COVID-19 problems. Citizens and students designed masks for healthcare workers and began printing them on 3D printers. Town Councils began live-streaming meetings they never imagined could be live-streamed before. Churches discovered Facebook live for worship services.
There’s an upsurge in resources for nonprofits among accountants and other consulting professionals to help them understand the ramifications of the changing business world and how it may impact them financially. Relief and financial survival tactics are being shared with clients, and accountants are finding new ways to work with clients via telecommuting methods. It’s all part of the creative, MacGyver-like response to the emergency.
Expected impact: Nonprofits must continue to respond creatively to the challenges at hand. Some solutions thought of as temporary may become permanent, such as changing costly in-person meetings to videoconferencing.
Consultants Rise to the Occasion
Lastly, we’re seeing the demand for consultants to rise to the occasion and develop innovative suggestions for their clients to continue working. Figuring out a solution to the problem of stay-at-home and social distancing for restaurants, retail stores, and other nonessential businesses forced to shut down has been challenging, but they’re doing it.
So too, in the nonprofit world, many consultants are finding creative ways to help their clients keep the doors open and meet their mission objectives. It’s not easy, but in this pandemic-driven world, nothing is easy.
Expected impact: Like many consulting firms, our team is doing its best to provide information, resources, and support to our clients. Look at our website and articles such as this one for the latest resources to help your organization during the COVID-19 pandemic.
We hope that this message gives you some hope and inspiration. The world is changing, and nonprofits must change alongside it. Change, difficult as it can sometimes be, is inevitable. And it can be for the best.
Welter Consulting bridges people and technology together for effective solutions for nonprofit organizations. We offer software and services that can help you with your accounting needs. Please at 206-605-3113 for more information.