I am currently working with two colleagues from the cultural and heritage fields to think and write about organizational resiliency in times of upheaval and ambiguity. We believe resiliency in this crucible moment requires, first and foremost, nonprofit organizations activate equity and inclusion by embracing it as central to all their internal and external work. It begins when organizations commit the time to examine their own historical roots and practices as a critical step to ensure they “live” their most meaningful missions, visions, and values.
Resiliency requires many organizations also renegotiate what it means to be valuable to their communities. The traditional idea of “value” has changed and is changing, and recognizing the extent to what our communities really value is key to being wanted, needed, and, thus relevant.
All organizations must retool their financial mindsets, taking a hard look at their current financial realities and realigning the costs of doing business with greatest community impact. And finally, resiliency is gained by advancing agile leadership – and by that we mean creating equitable and inclusive organizational cultures, recasting structures for greatest impact, and maintaining learning cultures within organizations that foster agile, resilient mindsets among staff, board, and volunteers.
Chaos and uncertainty aren’t going to go away. In fact, it’s quite likely they will accelerate. Working toward the goals of activating equity and inclusion, renegotiating community value, reimagining impactful role, retooling financial mindset, and advancing agile leadership will expand every organization’s capacity to not only survive chaos and uncertainty, but emerge more centered in its place in its community ecosystem.