In the summer of 2020, we surveyed nonprofits on how the COVID-19 pandemic was affecting their work. Organizations across mission areas and budget sizes told us that the pandemic had done more than impact their day-to-day programmatic work, it was putting a real strain on their operations and fundraising efforts. We break down high-level insights from that survey in our downloadable 2020 Nonprofit Resiliency Survey: Key Takeaways resource.
One thing the survey made clear? Strategy pro bono could be a useful tool for recovering nonprofits as they build the business development plans or systems geared towards long-term resiliency.
What we learned from Taproot’s 2020 Nonprofit Resiliency Survey:
- 56% of nonprofits reported a decrease in work with hands-on volunteers due to COVID-19.
- 45% of those surveyed shared that their organizations had launched new programs or services due to the pandemic.
- 72% of respondents indicated a shift in program or service delivery due to the COVID-19 crisis.
- 56% of nonprofits shared that to achieve long-term stability, they’d need to utilize strategy and business development support in the next 12 months.
Source: Taproot Foundation’s 2020 Nonprofit Resiliency Survey
How strategy pro bono can help tackle these challenges:
Whether your nonprofit is grappling with how to fill in gaps in support or you’re creating a new strategic plan from scratch—strategy and business development pro bono can help. We’ve outlined projects that can make a real, measurable difference for organizations shaping or reevaluating their strategies:
- Conduct a competitor and collaborator analysis. This 24-to-32-hour pro bono project provides benchmarking data for program impact and marketing efforts. An analysis like this can also be a resource when looking for peers in the field to pool resources with while serving community members in times of crisis.
- Hold stakeholder interviews. If your organization has made major programmatic changes, now could be a good time to check in with staff, supporters, and program participants to gauge reactions. Having a skilled volunteer lead these conversations as a neutral third-party helps interviewees feel comfortable sharing candid feedback.
- Analyze your organization’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT). A SWOT analysis is a core building block for the strategic planning process. This pro bono project takes roughly 24-to-36 hours to complete and can make creating a strategy for the year or revamping plans in light of the pandemic much more effective.
Tips for managing strategy pro bono:
- Get the board involved! For strategy pro bono projects to be successfully implemented, getting early buy-in from your board of directors will be key. Keep board members engaged and excited about the strategy project by keeping them in the loop while working with your volunteer and providing regular opportunities for them to share feedback.
- Use a quick consultation to plan and prepare. Volunteers need access to documents, stats, and historical information from your team to successfully work through a pro bono strategy project. Get prepared to make this knowledge transfer possible by jumping onto a Taproot Plus consultation call with a strategy expert. They’ll be able to talk you through getting your ducks in a row for an in-depth project.
“Take the time to work with your volunteers. Invest in developing a relationship with them, and give them opportunities to get to know your organization, your team, or even the founder or leader.”
-Joseph Duggan, Founder, Postcolonial Networks and Borderless Press