After a year-and-a-half of adjusting to life with COVID-19, it’s safe to say things have permanently changed. What does reintegration look like as we return to the workplace? Is there such thing as “best practices” or should we simply focus on “winning strategies”?

Our weekly Wednesday 9am MT/11am ET Clubhouse chats are full of robust conversation about topics within nonprofit fundraising. As always, please feel free to add and reflect on your learnings and experiences! Here’s some key takeaways from our chat about Workplace (and Program) Reintegration— helping one another navigate to the ambiguous reality of adapting to our next normal.

1. Meetings: As a strategic fundraising consultant, I am meeting new clients, board members, and potential supporters. As I enter a feasibilty study, our team is talking about what is safe, comfortable and appropriate with consideration to in-person vs virtual meets and study interviews. My preference in a non-pandemic year is always in-person. However, with the varient and variables, I think virtual is better than masked in-person meetings. What do you think?

2. Events: As we forge forward into the later-half of 2021 and beyond, one major topic is events. Do we attempt to go back to in-person? Do we stay virtual? Why not both? As Mallory Erickson, host of the What the Fundraising podcast, pointed out, the answer relies on the group of people and your goal for the event. I argued that events should serve as cultivation, stewardship, community building, and mission connections — not fundraisers. Lisa Greer questioned the value of stale ballgown events over zoom. In the end, while longtime donors may prefer a quick zoom update, in-person networking events still play a vital role as “light” entries to a nonprofit for new potential supporters. Many new friends and faces will prefer this to a confrontational 1-on-1 right out of the gate. Furthermore, connecting to peole and the mission are usually strongest in person. For ideas about creating a hybrid model— an event that is both in-person and virtual, check out Becky Endicott and Jonathon McCoy’s podcast We Are For Good episode #70 “How to Level-Up Your Nonprofit’s Online Marketing – Dana Snyder”.

3. Operational Flexibility: Bill Tortorici reminded us not to: “Let a crisis go to waste.” If your organization had to get creative and pivot your approach because of COVID-19, hold on to those skills, lessons, and tools that you’ve developed during crisis. Creativity is key in expanding your reach! Refresh. Your. Strategic. Plan. Ask yourself what works and what doesn’t. What are your highest priorities in mission delievery and supporting the community that makes it all possible (donors, volunteers, staffing…) Consider a survey to inquire what was the most effective, suprising, and useful; and what was not. Is it time to do a SWOT analysis? LSC is a recource that can help your team. Contact me (Lindsay Simonds) for more information. (Lindsay@lindsaysimondsconsulting.com)

4. Mental Health: The topic is trending, for sure. What does it really mean? Generationally there are various interpretations of the movement. Consider what is best for you and what is best for the function of your unique team. Humans are intrinsically communal in one way or another. Self-care and team connection are important. Time to rejuvenate is vital. Be cautious about over-scheduling and be intentional about taking time to process in between the chaos. If you’re able to, try “bundling” your days — client meetings one day, internal meetings another day, and working through emails on the next. Consider starting meetings 15 min after the hour, or ending 15 min before. Space is good. Think about what works for you and honor that. We need all the support we can get, and that starts with ourselves.

Patience and loving kindness will get us through as a community.  

Did we miss anything? Keep your eyes peeled for our next Wednesday conversation on Clubhouse by following me HERE.