The world needs planning now more than ever before

Is this you sitting at home contemplating your organization’s New Normal?

<Yawn> I woke up at an early hour this morning in order to jump into a Zoom meeting with approximately 40 planning consultants and professionals. I think every single continent (except Antarctica) on this planet had representation. It’s hard to impress me, but this group was impressive.

While there were lots of “takeaways” for me over the course of this two hour virtual meeting, this was one of the biggest:

The world needs planning now, more than ever before.

While this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone coming from a group of planners, it was the reasoning that stands behind this statement that I found powerful.

Consider the facts:

  • Right now, the world is on “pause.” Billions of people’s lives have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, and many of us are sheltering-in-place and cocooned in our homes.
  • The BIG RESET is coming. Some states are already lifting their stay-at-home orders. You can hear the drumbeat of more and more policymakers weighing in on how to un-pause the world in our daily news coverage.
  • Once the world is taken off of pause, it’s probably not going to look very pretty. In fact, I think it will look like a crowded theater full of people, who are all trying to simultaneously exit through one fire exit while panicking. Think about it for one moment (e.g. re-hiring or unfurloughing staff; rescheduling events; rebooting fundraising campaigns; retooling strategies to comply with continuing social distancing requirements; working with clients’, volunteers’ and donors’ virus fears and traumas; etc, etc, etc).
  • Therefore, the argument ends with this conclusion . . . those organizations who have a plan will do better than those who don’t.

Think about it for just a second. Before the movie begins, the public service announcer instructs you to locate the fire exits. You are essentially being asked to engage in a moment of thoughtful personal planning in case of an emergency.

So, here we are. Things are on fire. And before you mock me for being too dramatic consider the following:

  • Some donors will have less capacity to engage in charitable giving because of the stock market’s reaction to the pandemic.
  • Some volunteers will be fearful about returning to work with your clients because they might be in a high-risk group (e.g. 65-years-old, diabetes, etc) or maybe they are just virus-phobic now.
  • Some donors don’t have the technology to “go digital” and soliciting them the right way once the “new normal” materializes might be challenging and require flexibility/adaptability on your part.
  • Social distancing and public health best practices will stay with us for years according to some reports, and with these new practices come increased organizational and operational costs.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. I just don’t want to engage in fear mongering. <yawn> It’s literally too easy to do right now.

So, do you know where your fire exits are? Are your board members and staff ready to run once the world comes off of “pause“?

I think the case for “the world needs planning, now more than ever before” is strong. It is the reason why I developed and rolled out two new services at The Healthy Non-Profit last week: “Coronavirus Coaching” and “Evolving Your 2020 Fundraising Plan To Survive Coronavirus“.

But I don’t want to turn this blog post into a sales pitch and commercial for my consulting practice.

What I’m really interested in hearing from you is . . .

  • What have you specifically done to prepare for the “BIG RESET”?
  • How did you engage your board in those planning discussions while practicing social distancing and complying with stay-at-home orders?
  • What’s the biggest thing weighing on your mind as we inch closer and closer to re-opening our communities?

Please use the comment box below to weigh-in with your thoughts. We can all learn from each other.

Erik Anderson

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