The more we share…

At this point in time during the pandemic, do you feel your organization is:

  1. Surviving (Barely getting by; all energy and the organization and teams are focused on extremely short-term goals.)
  2. Striving (the organization and teams have space and energy to start thinking about medium-term goals),
  3. Thriving (You’ve really hit your stride; the organization and teams are clear on their mission, and you’re all working towards ambitious, long-term goals). (source of this scale – The Moment’s Disruption Canvas)

Many agencies I’ve interacted with are Striving. A few are Thriving. And there are some that are still Surviving. How are you doing?

It’s never been more important to share how we’re doing. Share successes, new models of service delivery, but also the struggle. I’ve been enjoying seeing how immigrant and refugee-serving agencies have been successfully pivoting to online services. I’ve been enjoying even more how some are sharing their experiences. There is so much to learn from each other.

I wanted to share a few examples.

But first, a word from our sponsor (that’s me, by the way). Recently Maytree, which is running a Five Good Ideas: Home Office Series asked me to contribute. I offered Five good ideas for remote client service work. The last 2 ideas are relevant for this post: 4. Experiment, 5. Share what you’re doing, what’s working, and your struggles.

North York Community House (NYCH) recently ran a couple of webinars sharing their experiences (full disclosure, I worked with them on the sessions) and I think there is much for you to learn from. Not just the content, but the model of sharing.

Inside Innovation: Co-designing with Newcomers
Through testing & using client-centric research, idea generation, and prototyping tools the Innovation and Experimentation team at North York Community House co-developed program and service concepts to better serve newcomers.

In this webinar they share:

  • NYCH’s approach to innovation and relationship to the innovation sector
  • How NYCH operates and how innovation fits into our organization
  • The research project & funding that allowed us to do this work
  • The program they prototyped
  • The 4 program and service concepts they designed as an outcome

On the Frontlines: Settlement Sector Edition
After two months of working remotely, the staff at NYCH shared their experience, highlighting what they have done and how they got to online service delivery including:

  • how it’s going now that they’ve implemented their online service
  • things they have tried and learned and then moved to their final tech decision
  • the technology they are using and how they ramped it up
  • and the capacity they needed to do it

Looking Back Planning Ahead: A Strategic Discussion for Senior Non-Profit Leaders
North York Community House invited senior leaders at non-profit organizations to join their senior management team in a conversation about leadership, strategy, culture, and capacity for non-profits during these challenging times.

Shelley Zuckerman, Bonnie Hunter, and Jin Huh shared some of their learnings, successes and challenges from the past couple of months around planning and implementing programs remotely and online, building capacities, creating/re-imagining systems and processes, and re-iterating organizational culture and values. Like you, they are still learning and experimenting.

They also have a treasure trove of FB videos where they’ve been running live information sessions for clients and their community. Similarly, Mennonite New Life Centre has been running sessions and created a repository of recordings.

And, NewCanadiansTV has been running a series of online information sessions during COVID across a wide variety of topics. You can see their “Cafe New Canadians” recordings. Lots of useful information and content for you to share with newcomers.

If you were looking for ongoing inspiration, here’s a list of interesting digital projects in the sector that I’ve been compiling since last year. Pre-COVID, it’s up to about 115 projects, pre-arrival sites, apps, information hubs, service portals, and more. There’s a form there to add yours! Come to think of it, I really need to add all of these post-COVID examples I’m mentioning…

The sector is, as always, resilient and inspiring. Share and share often; and if you start sharing, don’t stop when this is all over. When we all come out from the other side of this pandemic let’s keep sharing, learning, collaborating together. Wouldn’t that be a great new normal?

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