For better or worse, we are living in a time that requires all of us in the nonprofit sector to build a stable path forward through the many challenges that the last year has presented us with. We must utilize our best instincts to navigate and embrace the complex times we are undeniably entrenched in. But what do we truly need in order to set ourselves up for success in 2021 and beyond?

The best among us are framing laser focused, mission-centric plans that encompass all new levels of innovation. They are applying 24/7 energy geared toward the implementation of their plan, combined with important attention to equity and honest caring for one another.

Everyday, S&W works with nonprofit leaders – Board members, CEO’s, and their inimitable teams – to plan strategically, communicate in new ways and realize resources for their missions that have become more critical than ever. In this singular year, we have seen extraordinary examples of what the nonprofit sector can accomplish. Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Washington immediately built digital programs for their kids and re-deployed program staff to care for the children of front-line health care workers. Chautauqua Institution took its multi-year plans for a full menu of digital programming and implemented that plan over a period of weeks even as they were cancelling their summer season for the first time in its history.  We are seeing the same kind of determination and resourcefulness from so many of our other clients. There are limitless stories to tell.

Now what? As we continue to emerge from the global pandemic, we are witnessing both the aftermath as well as optimism for 2021-22. This is what our nonprofits are seeing:

  • Rapid staff turnover challenging the ability of organizations to operate/re-open in a strong position.
  • Senior management taking on multiple line responsibilities in order to accommodate lack of staff.
  • Budget planning that is showing the full impact of a year of reduced admissions and programming.

Exhaustion is another word we are hearing quite a bit. As organizations push forward, they need to balance their drive to deliver, with attention to the well-being of their teams. Yet as all this is happening, we are also seeing record setting fundraising, underscoring donor generosity and personal wealth.

To counterbalance and navigate all this complexity, our best leaders and institutions are going deep into both strategic visioning and planning, as well as nuts and bolts fundraising assessments combined with capital campaign planning.

At S&W, we are grateful to be working with the optimistic and impactful nonprofit sector at this intricate yet exciting moment, powering missions that matter now more than ever.