Building Resilient Organizations: Lessons From The Field

In 2020, organizations have had to develop resilience; the ability to anticipate potential threats, to cope effectively with unexpected events, and to learn from these events in order to produce a dynamic capability that is directed toward facilitating organizational change.

Noting this, Philanthropy Circuit and Chris Ogunbanjo Foundation focused its November Social Sector Networking Event for civil society leaders on ‘Building Resilient Organizations: Lessons From The Field’. Panelists at the networking session, Michael Sunbola of The Lagos Food Bank and Raquel Daniel of Beyond The Classroom Foundation, brought a wealth of experience to share as dynamic leaders of organizations that have made a strong impact in Lagos State – the epicenter of the pandemic in Nigeria.

The panel discussion focused on how nonprofits must face tough situations with drive, flexibility, and a willingness to adapt. The need to place a priority on mental health, key into existing networks, and improve volunteer management were also explored.

A cross-section of attendees from the social sector networking event

Each speaker conceded to facing challenges during the pandemic lockdown in Nigeria, but in  Beyond The Classroom’s experience,  this led them to liaise with community leaders and the educated (students and workers available due to the lockdown) presenting an opportunity to pivot,  grow their reach and volunteer base. Lagos Food Bank’s silver lining was the ability to adapt, be innovative,  and make quick decisions. With Michael listing courage, fearlessness, resilience, speed, and flexibility as key learnings, he advised nonprofits to be flexible and react fast, or lose out on opportunities as they come. 

In preparing for the future, and taking steps towards pivoting, the panelists encouraged nonprofits to take time to put up transparent and sustainable organizational structures. The importance of maintaining a vibrant partner, board, and volunteer engagement plan, were also identified as factors for sustainability.

These insights provided clarity in navigating what’s been uncertain times for nonprofits, and we look forward to the next edition of the #SSNE coming up in the first quarter of 2021.

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