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The COVID-19 crisis is disrupting the world and creating trying times for nonprofits everywhere.  On this page we provide a synopsis of promising practices for leading in trying times based on insights from leaders and researchers.  We invite you to scan this resource and apply the practices that are most relevant for your leadership situation. We will be adding to the list over time, and we welcome your recommendations for helpful resources we can add to the list.

  • View this resource
  • Recommended practices:
    1. Get sufficient sleep. 
    2. Get sufficient exercise. 
    3. Take time for mental recovery.
    4. Take time for social recovery. 
    5. Practice gratitude.
  • View this resource
  • Recommended practices:
    1. Be honest with yourself.
    2. Challenge anxiety-driven, distressing thoughts.
    3. Look on the bright side.
    4. Focus on what you can control.
    5. Practice mindfulness by being aware and intentional.
    6. Take action through-value-driven behaviors.
    7. Start a gratitude journal.
    8. Find new ways to connect with others.
    9. Infuse your day with physical activity.
  • View this resource
  • Recommended practices:
    1. Remember this is an opportunity for connection.
    2. Accept that we’re all coping differently.
    3. Be generous in your interpretations.
    4. Acknowledge how you’re feeling.
    5. Accept that your coworkers’ home lives are now relevant to you.
    6. Don’t compare suffering.
    1. Be proactive (take initiative to solve challenges and create opportunities).
    2. Begin with the end in mind (develop a shared vision of success).
    3. Put first things first (identify and manage priorities).
    4. Think win/win (look for ways to help people accomplish their goals).
    5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood (listen and learn to understand the aims, values, and constraints of others).
    6. Synergize (look for oppportunities to collaborate for greater impact).
    7. Sharpen the saw (refresh and renew your energy and skills).
    1. Model the way by aligning actions with shared values.
    2. Inspire a shared vision by enlisting others in defining aspirations.
    3. Challenge the process by looking for opportunities to streamline decisions and processes.
    4. Enable others to act by promoting cooperative goals and empowering them to take action.
    5. Encourage the heart by showing appreciation for people who contribute their best efforts and demonstrate positive values.
  • View this resource
  • Recommended practices:
    1. Be humble: Don’t highlight your solutions without asking for input. 
    2. Be open: Don’t obfuscate complex realities; be explainer-in-chief. 
    3. Be committed: Don’t focus-group ideas and Photoshop yourself; stand up for who you are. 
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  • Recommended practices:
    1. Trust and empower people.
    2. Share common goals.
    3. Make decisions in service of the common good.
    4. Foster a sense of belonging.
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  • Recommended practices:
    1. Design from the heart … and the head.
    2. Put the mission first.
    3. Aim for speed over elegance.
    4. Own the narrative.
    5. Embrace the long view.
    1. Seek credible information.
    2. Use appropriate communication channels.
    3. Explain what your organization is doing about the crisis.
    4. Be present, visible, and available.
    5. Dedicate organizational resources to future crisis.
  • View this resource
  • Recommended practices:
    1. Act quickly, but not reflexively, and plan contingencies.
    2. Protect the core.
    3. Identify the people who matter most and keep that group strong.
    4. Stay very close to your key funders.
    5. Shape up your organization.
    6. Collaborate to reduce costs and expand impact.
    7. Involve your board.
    8. Communicate openly and often.
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  • Recommended practices:
    1. Create a team for centralized communication,
    2. Communicate with employees.
    3. Communicate regularly with customers.
    4. Reassure shareholders (stakeholders for nonprofits).
    5. Be proactive with communities.
  • View this resource
  • Recommended practice:
    • Identify your strengths based on 15 qualities that can enable you to lead effectively in a crisis — and beyond.