Silver Linings for Nonprofit Boards in 2020

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It is no secret that 2020 disrupted the nonprofit sector in significant ways. With so many organizations relying on person-to-person delivery models and highly interactive workplaces, social distancing and work-from-home mandates were often difficult to embrace. On the bright side, many organizations adapted and, in the process, found new—and sometimes cheaper and more effective—ways to positively impact their communities.

COVID-19 had a similar impact on nonprofit governance, with most boards shifting to videoconference meetings. Let’s be honest: Those first Zoom get-togethers were often a mess, with many people still uncomfortable with the technology. Yet, as many people found themselves working from home and spending time in videoconferences every day, the effectiveness of the technology emerged and board members were soon meeting, putting together budgets and planning virtual galas like it was the most normal thing to do.

Though we are looking forward to a much different 2021 (at least in the second half of the year), some things might just stay the same—and that is good news for nonprofit leaders. Most workplace experts say Zoom and other videoconference services are here to stay. The convenience and cost savings of virtual meetings are undeniable. With no travel required, it’s simple to jump on a Zoom-based meeting that you might have skipped if driving, parking and other hassles were involved. I saw the benefits in my own nonprofit board service, where Zoom calls this fall were better attended than in-person meetings just a year ago.

In 2020, I helped several organizations employ virtual search and the results were exciting.

Don Gulbrandsen

In my executive transition consulting work with nonprofit boards, one of the biggest challenges has been convening search committees for planning meetings and interviews. In 2020, I helped several organizations employ virtual search and the results were exciting. Scheduling was improved, the quality of videoconference interviews was high and boards were able to match the right candidate to the opportunity with as much confidence as for fully in-person search.

As 2021 dawns, I am putting the lessons learned last year to work, confident that nonprofit organizations will thank me for the new approach. Empower Nonprofit Executive Search offers the option of a fully virtual search process, utilizing Zoom and other online tools that have emerged in recent years and been proven effective during our most challenging year ever.

Contact Empower Nonprofit Executive Search if you would like to learn more about affordable and convenient options for hiring your nonprofit organization’s next leader. We are confident that someday you will wonder how we ever managed to get things done the old way—how things were done before 2020.

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