From the Field

15 Sep 2020

We asked some industry leaders, what will the sector need to do, post COVID, to remain relevant and strong going forward?

I think the sector will need to evaluate their operations in terms of staffing, fundraising, communications, public relations and disaster response if certain organizations will want to remain strong and effective. I believe that we will see some considerable movement to reduce our workforce, consider a broader approach to fundraising, and invest in our infrastructures in order to remain strong moving forward. I’m not sure that many nonprofits will be able to sustain their operations through virtual programming or counting on the corporate sector to increase their fiscal support. I believe that between 30-40% of all the people that have been furloughed or laid-off will not be returning to work any time soon, and this will include the nonprofit workforce as well.

Paule Pachter, ACSW, LMSW, Chief Executive Officer

Long Island Cares, Inc., The Harry Chapin regional Food Bank


A recommitment to the core values and mission driven leadership that created our field is essential. My personal belief is that we need to collaborate within our field in a more extensive manner than we have historically and we need to collaborate outside of our field in an unprecedented manner in order to be part of true inclusive solutions for all members of our community. Without partnerships outside of our field I fear we will not succeed in providing innovative connections and new opportunities for integrated services. Collectively we must partner to be part of the social needs and solutions our localities seek.

FREE logo

Robert Budd, Chief Executive Officer

Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE)


Nonprofits will have less staff and fewer physical facilities than they have traditionally had. Organizations will need to invest more heavily in technology and create higher levels of automation within their processes as telecommuting will become routine. Organizations will have a more difficult time complying with regulations and raising needed fundraising, which could significantly impact the ability for smaller organizations to survive. Finally, organizations will need to be more proactive and flexible going forward to prepare themselves for whatever crisis comes along next.

Adrian Fassett, President/CEO

Economic Opportunity Council of Suffolk, Inc.


I believe our sector needs to do a few things to remain relevant and strong going forward. First, we must focus on making sure that we are serving the core mission for which we exist because that’s of the utmost importance. While managing business as usual we need to be keenly aware of the changing needs of the people we service so that we can respond accordingly. In this we have to be open minded and innovative in case the methods we have used are no longer effective or unable to be carried out as before. We must be ready to adjust. We also must remain business-minded and agile to strategically and effectively navigate the changing landscape with the individuals, foundations and corporations who support the work that we do. And, we need to plan for the future taking into consideration various potential scenarios to best prepare for success beyond these trying times.

Renee Flagler, Executive Director

Girls Inc of Long Island


The largest issue non-profits are facing now and will be in the coming year(s) is the lack of funding. Getting people to support what we are doing, the new programs we are providing, is the challenge that lays ahead of us. The LIM wants to still be standing when COVID is behind us, to be whole and to continue to service the many different populations that come to us.

Non-profits are very much in the middle of an important and meaningful evolution. For us, and for other museums, being accessible and having our educational, curatorial and public programs available online is critical. As we remain temporarily closed to the public and they can’t tour our nine acre property or museum and historic buildings, we know we have to rely on our website, our social media pages and our electronic communications to keep our community connected. But this also presents a really great opportunity for us to increase the number of offerings that are accessible to visitors of all ages and abilities. Even when we reopen, those who may find it too challenging to visit in person can explore our Museum and have a meaningful experience.

Ours is such a visual business, so we have felt quite comfortable translating that to different visual expressions- videos about our collections or of at home educational lessons. While it’s not the same as an in-person visit, it’s pretty great in its own way.

Neil Watson, Executive Director

Long Island Museum

This article was also featured in our newsletter NFP Advisor Vol. 22