A Catalyst for Change

danosky august pic

by Sharon Danosky

A crisis or a period of uncertainty affords us this opportunity.  Or as Paul Romer said during the 2008 financial collapse:  A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.

And this particular crisis affords us new opportunities in a way that few other crisis have.  Overnight, most of us were forced to think innovatively just to carry out our day to day activities and services that so many people depend on.  Now, we need to fight against the weariness of this prolonged change and once again pivot to create a different paradigm for the future.

There will be few among us who will ever return to providing services the way we did prior to COVID-19.  That is simply a fact.  However, it is far from a negative.  As I have spoken with many nonprofits in the region and across the country, there are few that want to take that narrow vision.

This pandemic has shown us the under-belly of the nonprofit infrastructure.  It is an infrastructure that is under-resourced, and overstressed with a huge swath of the population being grossly underserved or neglected for decades.  At the same time it has created an awakening of a society that has allowed racial inequities and injustice to simmer below the surface.   There have been huge shifts in the patterns of our daily lives – from spending more time with family and close friends to shifting our spending behavior to that of savings (personal savings rate hit 33% in April).

This is the time to plan for what’s ahead.  And I don’t mean trying to read the tea-leaves and then adjust accordingly.  I mean plan for the organization you want to become.  Plan for how you can deliver your programs most effectively going forward.  What infrastructure will you need?  What staff and training will it require?  Plan to address the racial inequities and injustices by raising the questions; who do you serve, who should you serve andare the people who can address the issues part of the conversation.  Plan by having more meaningful and strategic discussions at your board meetings.  And plan by more aggressively raising funds and engaging your donors instead of fretting about your events.

My next webinar will discuss these topics and more – Manage Change and Maximize Impact.  I invite you to join me.

Danosky & Associates is available for a complementary consultation should your organization be going through a leadership transition. 

Is there another transition in your nonprofit’s future?

danosky pic 6-25

by Sharon Danosky

In the wake of COVID-19, many nonprofits are experiencing a transition of leadership. Some executive directors are retiring; others are pursuing different interests.  Whatever the reason a leader is leaving, these transitions can be tricky, especially at a time when there is so much uncertainty.

They can also offer unique opportunities.  It is so critical to plan for this transition carefully.

What not to do is panic and immediately list the position.

The right way to approach a transition is to take a deep breath and decide what is required to lead the organization through this tumultuous time and emerge with a stronger organization, well prepared to deliver your mission.

With all the changes that have transpired – in the world and in your organization – your organization may have evolved into something different than it was pre COVID-19.  That’s why a leadership transition is the perfect time to take stock. [Read more…]

A Better Way: How to Build a Brave New World of Giving


By Sharon Danosky

For many years and in many presentations (including my own), fundraising experts have talked about the need to pivot to donor-centered fundraising.  However, it wasn’t until COVID-19 hit, and events were eliminated from our fundraising tactics, that nonprofits began to understand what that means.

It means making a real and honest connection with your donors.

The data has continuously shown us that donors want to engage.  They want to know that their contributions are received and being put to good use.  They want to know the difference they and you are making.  Some want to be considered partners; others want to be thought of as long-distance relatives.  None want to be ignored.  That is why the connection that many nonprofits have been making with their donors during this time is resonating.

As nonprofits have successfully used this time to call and reach out to their donors – they have been met with pleasant surprises.  Donors enjoy hearing how their nonprofit is doing.  They appreciate going on a zoom call to learn more about how the organization is faring and innovating.  They are grateful to learn how their money has been used.

So – what comes next? [Read more…]

Do You Need to Pivot Your Mission?


By Sharon Danosky

Mission is probably the most sacrosanct part of any nonprofit organization.   It’s the reason your nonprofit was founded.  It’s been your touchstone for all the years you’ve been operating.  It’s on your business cards, the walls of your organization.  You review it while developing your strategic plan.

In the past few months, many nonprofits have struggled to deliver the services promised by their missions.  And some have found interesting ways to do so.  Groups that traditionally offer mentoring services began providing food to the community.  One Goodwill closed its doors, but not its services; it began locating, gathering, cleaning and delivering scrubs to a visiting nurse association.     Another organization which provides financial literacy courses for students, started leveraging their relationships with school teachers, social workers and administrators to connect them with some of their partners directly so they could help students and families pay for essentials.

Now, more than ever, boards and executive directors must examine their mission and ask the difficult questions.  Why was our organization founded?  What was our purpose then and what is our purpose now?  Are we filling our purpose in the best way possible?

I like to think of mission as a moral compass, the true north for an organization.  As you consider which programs to re-open, which should remain closed and which should be delivered differently, re-visit your mission.   How does this decision re-inforce your mission?  How will it impact the people you were meant to serve?

We know that this pandemic has heightened the gross inequities in our society.  As we begin to emerge from this pandemic; we have the opportunity to create a more just and equitable world – and nonprofits are on the front line of this.  This is the time to ask ourselves whether we are meeting the needs for which we were founded and our missions were written?

An Alternative to the “Virtual Event”


By Sharon Danosky

I have been hearing and seeing questions about holding a “Virtual Event.”

First, I should probably state that I come from a place that believes people want to help when help is needed and that they do not need an event – virtual or otherwise – to give, and given generously.  All you need to do is ask authentically and let them know why you need their help.
In many ways events – including “virtual events” can detract from that.  It puts the focus on your event – and not your organization and its good deeds. [Read more…]