April 14, 2020

In Crisis? Resist Cutting Your Ability to Make Income

man reading a newspaper in a crisis

A newsletter this morning announced a nonprofit board’s decision to cease operations, including laying off the staff of a local nonprofit. The blurb stood out because the first part announced the closing and the second the CEO’s response. The CEO outlined steps already underway to keep the organization going, including seeking stimulus funding.

The nonprofit offers a valuable and unique community service. While government guidelines require their temporary closure, it’s a top candidate to resume operations when “the light turns green.”
Reading the article was maddening. Here is a well-loved community operation possibly going out of existence, even though the CEO had a plan to, at the very least, keep operating for now. It was like stepping into a restaurant and having a frantic owner tell you no tables are available while the manager beckons you to sit.
Though sad, the post was chock full of wisdom. Here’s what you can learn:
  • Work together:
    1.) Boards ask your staff for their plan,
    2.) CEOs don’t just do your plan, communicate it, and
    3.) Do what you can to keep going now. This situation is temporary.
  • Resist cutting your ability to make income.
  • Most important, calm down and think.
To reach the success you enjoyed on January 1, 2020, you worked very hard. You solved overwhelming challenges. You exercised refined problem-solving skills. And found silver linings.
To not lose all the ground you gained:
1.) Think,
2.) Innovate,
3.) Create a post-Covid-19 vision, and
4.) Communicate where you’re going.
Take a deep breath, especially now. You have time to do this right.
For more COVID or not crisis resources, visit:

Karen’s Nonprofit CEO Library

Get answers. Check out this collection of resources for nonprofit leaders about the sector’s common leadership challenges, including nonprofit crisis leadership.


Karen Eber Davis

Karen Eber Davis provides customized advising and coaching around nonprofit strategy and board development. People leaders hire her to bring clarity to sticky situations, break through barriers that seem insurmountable, and align people for better futures. She is the author of 7 Nonprofit Income Streams and Let's Raise Nonprofit Millions Together.


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