The ability to adapt to change

2020 – The Year of the Pivot for Nonprofits

To lighten the current mood just a little, do you remember the Friends episode when Ross yells “Pivot!” – if you aren’t familiar, you can see part of it here.

Where am I going with this? Most likely, you had a clear vision, a strategy in place, and were marching along with clarity and confidence. Then comes the Coronavirus to humble you. You’ve realized you need to pivot some of your marketing and fundraising strategies and change direction quickly to adapt to what’s going on.

Everything changed in the blink of an eye.

Much of what made sense just a few weeks ago, no longer makes sense today. Your annual gala is now going to be a virtual event. Your 5K Run/Walk is now going to be a Peer-to-Peer social-driven campaign. Your direct mail appeal is currently on hold because, in most states, non-essential businesses aren’t open – which include print shops and mail houses.

Everything changed, including how to pivot.

It’s not all doom and gloom. On the bright side, it’s forcing you to try new things. You have been made to step outside of the good ole “tried and true” methods. And on top of trying something new, this is also making you take a good look at how quickly your organization can respond to change. Have you been impressed, or have you been less than wowed?

There are some things still in your control.

Part of what makes this entire experience so stressful is the fact that life feels out of control. You can’t control when things go back to “normal,” but what you can control is how your organization can pivot when needed.

While that need to be nimble is especially important during times of crisis, it’s also a good strategy in general – when you notice that a campaign needs tweaking, or when you need to send a message or respond to your supporters quickly.

Without question, volatility and uncertainty are the new normal, and if your organization is going to survive and thrive, you need to be able to adapt – quickly.

So, how do you improve your organization’s ability to pivot?

Below are a few steps you can take to help your organization be more agile and ready to take on change.

1. Assess your data’s condition.

For starters, being able to pivot successfully is hard to do well, if you don’t have the right data in place. So, you need to first assess your data’s condition. Think about it: throughout this entire experience, you’ve probably now got a good idea of the health of your data. How has it been working out so far? Have you been able to make good decisions quickly? Is it a mess of duplicates? How often is your data updated? Are you able to make strategic decisions on-the-fly? Has it been easy to shift your fundraising strategies, or have you been hitting roadblocks? Take note of any obstacles you have experienced over the last several weeks, and this will help you determine where your data could use some improvement.

2. Be part of the change.

Say goodbye to the days of collecting historical data, storing it in disparate systems, waiting weeks or longer to collect the data as a whole, so you can then analyze it to best come up with a game-plan. Now is the time to get everyone on board: development, finance, marketing, etc. Think about the advantages to be gained from being able to shift and move quickly and in real-time. After all, shouldn’t you always be prepared?

3. Leverage all your data.

It today’s world, when technology is constantly swirling around us, isn’t it surprising how often organizations are limited in being able to respond to the market nimbly and as supporters’ behaviors shift? It seems so backward; technology is supposed to make our lives easier. I’m sure when you acquired your solutions, you didn’t think that you would have to hop, skip, and jump through hoops to make good use of the data that you are collecting. You are collecting data for a reason, so shouldn’t you be leveraging it?

4. Think in real-time.

The current crisis has everyone thinking in real-time and preparing for later times. You must be able to respond to what’s happening – when it’s happening. Just imagine how much more of an impact a campaign could have made if you weren’t weighed down by problems like data duplication, inaccuracy, and incompleteness. Thinking in real-time means you need to let go of thinking, “we’ve been doing this way” to one that is more fluid and can adapt to change. You don’t have the luxury to waste time combing over data to help drive decisions. Your data should be waiting for you – already current, clean, and complete!

The ability to adapt to change

The ability to change direction is essential to scaling your mission, responding to economic turbulence, and being able to react much faster. By bringing together data from disparate sources and making it available in real-time, integration can aid in the rapid delivery of key information and help you quickly adapt to change – even on a day-to-day basis.

As this virus continues to spark concern for many nonprofits, you must find innovative ways to engage your supporters. You must be confident in your data and trust that your data is available and ready for you at any given moment. Your mission can’t afford to get bogged down and tangled up with messy and disparate data, now or in the future.

Contact us to learn more about how we work across the leading CRM platforms to streamline data processes, allowing you to send the right message to the right listener, at the right moment.

 

 

 

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