The Future of Impact | 20 July 2020
The primary goal of this conference was to bring together the social sector community, as well as friends and partners from around the world in an open dialogue. Under one roof, we discussed the issues facing our nation due to the Covid-19 crisis, and developed possible strategies as to how the social sector can become aware and prepared to face challenges during this unprecedented time.
Session 1 - The Covid-19 Crisis: Managing through tough times by Soumitra Pandey and Sudarshan Sampathkumar, The Bridgespan Group
Soumitra and Sudarshan from Bridgespan plunged into possible challenges that NGOs will face during the crisis and the aftermath of it. Their presentation emphasized that we need to shift our focus to what is truly critical, articulated the impact the crisis is likely to have on NGOs, and provided eight steps we can follow to manage efficiently through uncertainty.
Session 2 - How are NGOs responding to the crisis by Ratish Balakrishnan, Sattva Consulting
Rathish from Sattva Consulting guided us through examples of what other NGOs are doing to tackle challenges through three kinds of responses: mitigate, adapt, and pivot. We need to focus on the competencies we bring to solving social issues, collaborate with others in the sector to achieve our vision of impact, and share learnings with the ecosystem. The greatest strength for an organization is going to be agility and the ability to learn from each other.
Session 3 - Managing People by Rahul Balakrishnan, Arthan Careers
Rahul from Arthan guided us in understanding how we should be thinking about team management at this time. By keeping our teams close, mapping capability, and not headcount, we will be able to respond and stay motivated. Rahul quoted Zig Zelgar, “Some people say motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing – that's why we recommend it daily.” This is an important reminder of how we should be managing our teams at this time.
Session 1 - Financial Management for Covid-19 response by Suhel Goel, SGA Advisors, and Ravi Bagaria, Aria CFO Services
Suhel and Ravi presented the backdrop of an economic slowdown and its impact on NGOs, primarily in the form of a liquidity crunch. At this time, it is important to bring together different ingredients of financial planning to weather the storm. The team shared several financial planning tools and guided us to start future-proofing for the year ahead.
Session 2 - How are NGOs responding to the crisis by Abbas Dadla, Acumen
"Everything that we’ve been preparing for, everything that we’ve been doing has been in preparation for a crisis like this," Abbas shared. He believes, although not all of the NGOs have products or services they can provide, they all have assets that they can leverage during this time of crisis. Several attendees in the session participated in a discussion on how they pivoted their own programme to provide relief and support to their beneficiaries amidst this crisis.
Session 3 - Resilience and Funder Management, Anant Bhagwati and Priyanka Anand Chadha, Dasra
The message that Anant and Priyanka conveyed was to speak openly to funders about the crisis at hand, and not take your financial runway for granted. Nonprofits need to realize that new funding is going to be hard to come by. Impact optimization and institutional resilience are key for this new reality - especially relief, restore & re-invent. The speakers provided us with an action plan to improve our chances of survival and emerge stronger on the other side.
This is an additional resource on Approach to Crisis communications that might be useful by the Sahayog Foundation.