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Sticking Together, While Staying Apart

People walking together down a street but separated by a few feet

By: Carrie Fox, Mission Partners CEO

Is it just me or is 2020 turning out to be much more complicated than any one of us could have imagined?

It’s Tuesday, March 17. Our kids should be in school. Our employees should be in the conference room. Our restaurants and retailers should be open for business. Instead, we’re doing everything in our power to make our daily routines as uninterrupted as possible in a world where nothing is normal anymore.

COVID-19 will challenge us on many levels in the coming months. It will challenge us as parents, as business owners, as foundation and nonprofit executives, and as individuals who need to keep work going even when everything around us feels like it’s come to a screeching halt.

What I know for sure is that our community is a profoundly kind one and that each of you have the grit, perseverance, and resilience to guide your organization, your colleagues, and your community through this time of unknown.

The reality is it’s hard to know what to do, and how to stay focused when the situation is still unfolding.  So, while you’ve had no shortage of coronavirus messages in your inbox, I wanted to share a few of the most impactful tools I’ve seen come through, should they be helpful to you as well:

  1. On shifting your team to remote work. Last week, I made the decision to move Mission Partners to a remote working policy through at least March 27th. For those considering the same, I’ve offered a link to our announcement, as well as our health and safety best practices should you find the resource helpful.  I also wanted to pass along the amazing crowdsourced resource that Amira El-Gawly of Manifesta shared in her newsletter, which really helped my team develop the above health and safety best practices document.

  2. On managing well while remote. It’s one thing to make the decision to go remote, and another to manage well in a remote working environment. I loved this article from our friends at the Management Center with excellent tips for staying connected even while apart. Read their tips.

  3. On communicating through crisis. The awesome team at CommNet has started a Coronavirus Crisis Comms Triage Kit — an Open Google Doc to share and crowdsource best practices, resources, and examples of effective crisis comms covering many of the tasks you’re attending to. Access the kit.

  4. On helping where it’s needed most. There will be no shortage of community nonprofits who can benefit from support, but if you’re looking for a group to help now, we hope you’ll donate to Manna Food. For the estimated 63,000 people who regularly experience hunger and food insecurity in Montgomery County, COVID-19 presents unique challenges. Families with limited means, particularly seniors on fixed incomes, often don’t have the resources to stockpile groceries and supplies, and they don’t have the ability to weather the self-quarantine that the CDC recommends as a crucial step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the community. And the 3,000+ kids who rely on free and reduced-price meals are in danger of not having that food resource over the weekends with schools now closed. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to help someone else through this public health crisis, I invite you to donate to Manna, and contribute to #foodforall.

  5. On pro bono support. And finally, if there’s anything you need through this crisis, related to communications, crisis, or fundraising strategy, including the virtual facilitation of meetings and media trainings, I hope you’ll turn our way. We are offering our services at significant discount through May, including up to 5 pro bono engagements to help nonprofits, foundations and associations with messages, materials development, donor communications, and crisis strategies related to COVID-19. Schedule a call with me here to discuss your immediate communications needs.  And if you’re in need of a service beyond what we can provide, turn to this terrific DC-area small business list first- a collection of small businesses who greatly benefit from your business in these trying times.

I’ve built my business on a commitment to using business as a force for good, and I don’t intend to stop now.  Sending you strength, health, and good things to come.

ETA: Since the original publication of this article, our business is now remote until at least 2021. We have also already reached capacity on our pro bono engagements. If this message resonated with you and you would like to learn more about how we can help with your own messaging to push your organization through these unprecedented times, please contact us today.