I’m “Open for Good” – But What Does That Mean?

How you delivered on your mission during the pandemic may have looked different from peer organizations. You’ve worn masks. You’ve stayed 6 feet apart. Maybe you’ve met virtually instead of in person. But you stayed focused on your mission and vision.

We hope you’ve celebrated the important mission moments you’ve experienced even as you’ve needed to encourage the concerned and console those grieving. We need to find moments of light in the darkness.

We’ve endured a tumultuous year of unknowns – and cautiously look forward with hope.

As we transition towards this hope, we ask the question, “What’s next?”

And to that, we say, let’s OPEN for GOOD!

Being OPEN can mean different things for different people and places. As a nonprofit leader, you’re faced with employees, volunteers, program participants, and donors deciding their own comfort level with what it means to be “open.” But whether or not your organization brought in record-breaking donations this year or had to slim down its operations, went fully virtual or held in-person events, organizations show that they are #OpenForGood by following two simple rules:

Keep DOING GOOD

Keep asking yourself:

  • How can we be of service and provide benefit to our community during this transition?
  • How can we fulfill our mission and vision even if this means revisiting and revising our traditional programs, solutions, and practices?
  • How can we help our community adjust to the experiences they’ve had and to understand that not everyone’s experience has been the same?
  • How can we stay true to delivering our mission in a way that respects the various beliefs and comfort levels of those we serve?

Remember the GOOD

If your programs or fundraising efforts were virtual over the last year and a half, you may be eager to return to screen-less engagement. You may be excited to get up and out of the house, shed the sweats, be in the same room with others, see someone smile as you chat over a cup of coffee.

You may also recognize that not everyone is ready for this transition. So, as you’re eager to “return to normal,” remember the GOOD that came from the year lived remotely:

Remote access to program and events is inclusive.

Having the option to attend a program or an event from the safety and convenience of home makes attendance more available for the disabled and chronically ill, those in recovery who avoid events where alcohol is a welcome companion, parents with young children, and introverts.

Not to mention that many organizations saw their program and fundraising participants come from a more expansive geographic area. Folks from near and far could join in and form community around a cause they care about because they could participate remotely.

This past year taught us that we could do things differently, create something new, and pivot on a moment’s notice. Let’s remember the good that came from these changes.

While we may open our doors, remove our masks, and find ourselves in larger groups than we have in some time, let’s continue to invest in the practices that worked to build community and empower engagement.

As you plan for your 2022 programs and events, consider including onsite, at-home viewing and virtual watch parties to accommodate everyone’s comfort level.

And finally, let’s recognize that pre-recorded segments and recorded live events can be used for future marketing and fundraising efforts, and held for posterity…not just remembered as a nod to the year that was COVID.

Approaching the upcoming months may be as daunting for you as the past year was. But nonprofits like the ones we work for, volunteer with, and donate to deserve an extraordinary amount of credit for their innovation over the past year. The continued support of donors, community members, and staff is how we’ll forge ahead, empowered by the past and excited about the future. There’s no denying that there’s some uncertainty ahead. But whether or not we realize it, we’re all showing each other what it means to be #OpenforGood.

Janet Cobb is a Personal Fundraising Coach at Network for Good

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