Thrive or (Just) Survive – What Will Happen With Organizations After the Pandemic?

How will the organization(s) you belong to survive the pandemic? Perhaps you were required to shift your operations to allow staff to work from home. Alternatively, you made the difficult decision to lay off staff to make ends meet during the time of reduced income. Maybe you cancelled fundraisers and other events resulting in lost income and lost momentum. Have your volunteers ‘disappeared’ due to being overwhelmed with more immediate concerns than volunteer commitments?

Organizations are facing these challenges (and more) during this unprecedented turn of events. The pandemic has pushed individuals and organizations into a gamut of changes, feelings and actions…all without a specific playbook to follow. It has been an exercise in patience with: technology, family, daily life changes and most significantly, all the unknowns (income, school, health, etc.). The inspirational messages and memes are everywhere suggesting that this is a time to slow down, to re-evaluate and perhaps make different choices even when life does return to ‘normal’.

What does all of this mean for the organizations that rely on volunteers to make decisions, follow through on plans, and fulfill the mandate? What is the best way back to normal for groups? Here are three positive messages that give organizations hope to thrive following this disruption.

  • The Do More Agriculture Foundation is committed to advocating and educating about mental health in agriculture. Their messaging of: TALK MORE, ASK MORE, LISTEN MORE…are concepts applicable to all of us in maintaining connections and staying healthy.
  • Many organizations have been proactive with regular, timely and positive communication to updates members on issues affecting their industry.
  • Leadercast posted a blog “The Best is Yet to Come” outlining are seven principles that great leaders throughout history have understood about seasons of change and what leaders are doing in the trenches now to innovate through this pandemic. 

How Organizations are Adapting

  • Some organizations have been pushed to do things they had been considering or were on the fence about for months or even years such as new approaches to delivering programs.
  • Some quickly obtained the necessary equipment to host their events on a variety of platforms and have found their following diverse and broader in scope.
  • Agricultural fairs are holding online classes for competitions to allow exhibitors a chance to participate virtually.
  • Fund raising events have evolved into ‘non-event’ fundraisers, sponsorship matching or limited contact such as “curb side pick up” meals as well as requesting continued support from long-term supporters. This helps to keep events and organizations in the public’s awareness.

What will your organization keep from the changed way of doing business? Is there anything that will be left behind with the pandemic? Is there anything new that has proven to be successful that you will hold onto? How will you decide? This could be a great opportunity to ask questions and update strategic plans to match new findings.

For more information and resources on organizational development, visit the Government of Manitoba’s Industry Leadership webpages.

Leanne Sprung, PHEc works with the Province of Manitoba in the Industry Leadership Team, providing education and awareness on governance and leadership to strengthen agriculture organizations. Leanne lives in Brandon with her husband and their son.