Paralysis Isn’t an Option: Nonprofits Must Mobilize to Create Long-Lasting Change
The coronavirus pandemic is heartbreaking on so many levels. It is demonstrating the ways in which our broken system fails the most vulnerable people—especially in times of crisis. As millions lose their jobs, as underpaid service-industry workers risk their lives to keep grocery shelves stocked, and as people of color die in disproportionate numbers, the structural inequities that have long haunted our society are laid bare.
The pandemic is putting the world under a magnifying glass. And in many ways, the view it is offering is dispiriting.
It would be all too easy to be blinded by the carnage of the crisis. Or to feel helpless in the face of the deep injustices that are baked into our present-day systems. Or simply to feel tired of all the bad news and dark projections.
But now is not the time for paralysis. If the pandemic can be said to have a silver lining, it’s this: The cultural norms, barriers, and structures that made up the pre-COVID-19 world are now in a state of rapid flux. At the same time, many people are waking up to the societal inequities that nonprofits have long been working to shed light on.
In this time of rapid change and increased attention, your leadership is needed more than ever before. When it comes to effecting deep and lasting changes, you may never again have an opportunity quite like this.
Just the thought of taking on more than you are already dealing with might seem overwhelming. You're already feeling the pressure. You may be working with a shoestring budget and reduced staff and volunteers. The message isn’t that you must work harder or become superhuman. But you should recognize that the work you do has the potential to be more impactful than ever—if you play your cards right.
It’s up to all of us to ensure that the rapid change taking place works for those who need it most, both in the short and long terms. As Frank Snowden said, "the ideas in people’s heads make an enormous difference. Just because we have these vulnerabilities in a globalized world doesn’t mean we have to succumb to them.”