Nonprofit Leadership…. COMING OUT OF THE PANDEMIC…

Tired of feeling the need to hold back coming out of the pandemic? Many in nonprofit leadership are just trying to make do. Others are waiting for things to get better on their own. While a few are waiting for that magic moment when someone on your team steps up with a great strategy on how to move ahead. 

Don’t hold your breath… 

As the CEO, it’s up to you to lead the charge on your agency’s return to normalcy. Of course you’ll need to check in with key people to gather info, but ultimately it’s your job to set the direction and inspire your team. 

Like it or not, you need to be the trailblazer you’ve been waiting for. Chances are, some of your board members are as tired of the waiting game as you are. So let’s get moving! But in what direction, and how?

Here are a few thoughts on how you can break out of the rut and move forward.


Conduct a one day board/staff retreat. 

  1. Invite the heavy hitters. You’ll want those who can help generate a lot of ideas. Don’t limit your group to just top level leaders and your board. Consider key volunteers and subject matter experts, not just formal members of your agency.
  2. Have a set person in mind to lead an early morning session. Discuss the “lessons learned” by your agency with regards to the pandemic. Maintain these notes for future reference.
  3. Analyze your organization’s current strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. They could be much different now, going forward.
  4. Review and recommit to your Mission Statement. Make sure everyone is in agreement on what it means and how it looks in action. Has it changed during the pandemic? Should it change now?
  5. Vote on which issues need to be tackled first. Nonprofit leadership is tough. But it’s easier when you make it a team sport.
  6. Assign breakout groups for the top five issues. Ask each group to create a desired end result for the task at hand and the steps to get there.
  7. Capture all of these ideas and let everyone know when their first report on progress is due.

If done well, your team will feel more comfortable with the current operations moving forward. This should help get your staff back on track after being inactive for so long and allow them to get back to focusing on your clients. 

Before you know it, your “new normal” will have been created and everyone should start feeling much better generally.


Discuss top priorities with your board chair and executive committee.

  1. Are there board members that need to be replaced or who were a bit Missing in Action during the pandemic?
  2. Which board members stepped up, and should be given more responsibility?
  3. Ask yourself the same questions about staff and any key partners.
  4. Do you have cash issues? Do you need to focus entirely on raising support? If so, who else can work with you on this full time for the next 30-60-90 days?
  5. Did working remotely for the past year cause you to develop some new work-processes? Can you keep them, or will you need to revert to your old ways of working?


Never let a crisis go to waste. 

This is the time to take on the issues at hand in full force. Remember, you generally only have 90-120 days from when things calm down to install any major changes. Don’t wait, in your heart you know (and probably always knew) what needs changing. Now’s your chance. Nonprofit leadership pre-pandemic was hard. Leading during Covid may have pushed you to the max. But leading post-Covid can show you who you really are.


Are you struggling to provide the leadership necessary to handle a smooth transition moving out of the pandemic? I can help. I’ve worked with many nonprofit leaders during tough times. If you need a little insight, or someone to help get your board and team back on track, please reach out.

Ready to Lead Your Nonprofit Better?

Check out Calibrate! The new virtual Executive Director coaching program coming soon.