Sometimes it feels like wishful thinking, but in reality – there will be a post-pandemic world. For nonprofits who manage to survive the crisis, there will be new fundraising and operational challenges. There will also be new opportunities and lots of silver linings from the tough times we are currently experiencing.
The new world of fundraising and nonprofit management will also require different skills and qualities to succeed. It is important that we look beyond our immediate needs to build teams with diverse skill sets and experiences so every organization can be positioned for success beyond the current pandemic.
Here are five emerging skills to consider for your next recruitment campaign:
Data analytics was an area of growth before the pandemic, and it is now become even more critical. In an increasingly more digital world, organizations with deep talent pools in data management and analysis can improve their fundraising results tremendously. Data analysis skills go beyond specialist roles such as database management or prospect research and should permeate every part of an organization. More importantly, an aptitude and appreciation for evidence-based decision making and understanding of the important of data will be a critical skill to look for in emerging leaders. Whether you are looking for a development director or an executive director, their understanding and comfort with data can position your organization for success in a post-pandemic, yet increasingly digital world. Unfortunately, this skillset is hard to find in the nonprofit talent pipeline. As recruiters in the nonprofit sector, we are frequently approached by organizations looking to go beyond traditional specialist skillsets. Moreover, the for-profit sector is advancing this field and lighting speed and offering incredibly attractive compensation to those who have the skills. It will take a proactive recruitment approach and wide outreach to generate interest in such roles.
Strategic partnerships and collaboration
This is another growing area which had been picking up steam before the pandemic and will increasingly do so in the future. Many of the societal problems we look to address are quite complex and require multifaceted solutions. So, donors, government funders and community groups are looking to nonprofit organizations to work together to solve these big challenges. It takes a strong combination of leadership, strategic thinking, and collaboration to create these kinds of partnerships. This could be the most sought-after combination of skills in the next generation of nonprofit leaders. The nonprofit sector is already experiencing a talent shortage for executive leaders and will continue to do so for the next decade or two. These skills need to be honed early in one’s career and emerging leaders would benefit from professional development opportunities in this area.
The past few months have been quite challenging for many charities and their staff. I am confident that the nonprofit sector will bounce back even stronger. Nonetheless, resilience will be a key trait for many staff and leaders in the sector. Resilient staff can maintain a positive attitude in challenging situations and are able to bounce back quicker from personal and professional setbacks. Consider asking situational questions about failure or a time when candidates have dealt with tremendous pressure.
Innovation and entrepreneurship
The nonprofit sector’s relationship with innovation is a bit reluctant and often comes with a scarcity mindset. Many organizations are so focused on being frugal and delivering as much impact as possible, that they are reluctant to try new things and risk failure. However, our sector and society in general is undergoing tremendous changes. The current pandemic has turned some of our fundraising practices on their heads and further changes are due with an intergenerational transfer of wealth, for example. Innovation and entrepreneurship are going to be key to position any organization for success in an ever-changing world.
Emotional intelligence is one of the most important leadership skills and key to look for in a post-pandemic world. The long-term psychological effects of the coronavirus measures are yet to be studied; however, it is safe to say things will not be as before for a long time. Besides the pandemic, there have been numerous other events that have caused great pain and grief in the community. Leaders who can understand others and are able to read team dynamics well will succeed in nurturing a positive work culture and environment, be it virtual or in person.