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Episode 39: How to Deal With a Crisis


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How are you holding up with all this COVID-19 stuff going on? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Anxious? Scared? Somewhere in between?

How has coronavirus affected your nonprofit? Is it business as usual? Have you had to change the way your organization serves people? Have you shut down operations for the time being?

A pandemic is not something many of us spend a lot of time thinking about or preparing for, so these times of cancelations, closures, social distancing, and toilet paper shortages can be difficult to navigate.

That’s what we’re talking about in this candid and impromptu episode of Unlocking Your Nonprofit Potential – how to deal with a crisis.

Let’s look at how we can handle things personally first, then ideas for how to cope with things on the nonprofit level.

Five ideas came to mind for a start on how to live through this crisis personally -

  1. Rely on the old-fashioned Serenity Prayer.  It goes like this: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Trust God, use common sense and an abundance of caution.
  2. Alleviate anxiety.  You know how there are birds in a tree and one of them starts chirping, say, at a cat strolling beneath the tree?  Then a couple more start chirping and in just a few minutes the whole tree of birds and more are making a racket of noise at the cat.  That’s what fear does – it spreads and sometimes it gets loud. We can eliminate anxiety by limiting our exposure to so much noise. Instead of “feeding” on fear, try increasing the amount of peace you take in by doing something positive, making a household “bucket list” of things you’ve been wanting to change, do puzzles with your kids or try a new recipe.  Reduce things that bring you anxiety.
  3. Remember that a lot can change in a week or even in a day and the we human beings are resilient.
  4. God’s got this – you know the saying about letting God take the steering wheel?  That’s good, but don’t throw the steering wheel out the window. Use common sense and keep your faith in God too.
  5. Count your blessings – yes, make that gratitude list!  Start with making a list of 10 things you’re grateful for.  Turn your eyes away from your angst and put your mind on how many things we have to be grateful for.

When we’re at peace inside, then we can function so much better in our nonprofit and how we help others.

Let’s look at how to reach the people in your audience - 

Is it business as usual where you are?  You’re still serving people? Then use Facebook, Instagram and all your social media as usual.  Post twice a week but make especially sure that you’re using a strong Call to Action. People like you to tell them exactly what they should do.

If you have had to close some or are open limited hours, tell people.  Post all the details often. Use a Call to Action to tell people where to find more details about what is helpful and then update the details. 

Keep posting – it connects your audience to you.  It’s something familiar. Don’t overload people with bits of news.  Stay steady and consistent by serving.

What lies behind your posts is this:  you’re thinking about the people you serve.  What would specifically benefit them?  

Are they people with kids at home for a few weeks?  Give them ideas for activities, games and crafts.

Are they elderly and in need of cheering up?  Post helpful hints or ideas for people to use in this time, like writing letters, listening to music, read and do crossword puzzles.  Sometimes we just need to be reminded. 

Send anyone a card, deliver a healthy snack, share a feel-good movie or CD. The point is – think of the people you serve and if you were in their shoes, what would help you? Make them feel loved and remembered. 

Above all, remember this is TEMPORARY and if we all help one another, we’ll come through it well.  Human beings ARE resilient.

If you have any questions – I’m right here for you! Ask away! Send me a message on Facebook or Instagram or send me an email through NonprofitPotential.com and I’ll happily write you back with an answer!

Remember to subscribe to this podcast so you never miss an episode on Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app, or get episodes delivered straight to your email by subscribing at NonprofitPotential.com.

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