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Nonprofit Resiliency and Innovation Toolbox

This toolbox helps nonprofit organizations focus on the future by developing resilience and capacity for innovation.

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The product proposed here is a Nonprofit Resiliency and Innovation toolbox that would include the key resources needed to help nonprofits develop resiliency and capacity for innovation. This product would be designed with input from foundations and key organizations serving nonprofits (the Independent Sector, Foundation Center, local centers for nonprofits, such as Georgia Center for Nonprofits, to name a few).

The alpha version of this toolbox (in a form of a website) would ideally be tested by major foundations with their grantees and would include the following tools: 1) Priming your organization for accepting change playbook (understanding major phases in the change process, revising employee/stakeholder psychological contracts, helping employees with transition) 2) Scenario planning playbook would help leaders, board members, and staff of nonprofit organizations to brainstorm through different future scenarios 3) Design thinking playbook. This part of the toolbox will include a brief “How To” videos for each step in the Design Thinking process along with links to tools that can be used during each phase of the process – Inspiration, Ideation, Implementation. It could be used along with a Scenario Planning playbook or by itself to create new or pivot existing products/services/processes, 4) Culture change playbook would detail the process of embedding Design Thinking into organizational culture and provide tools for starting the process, continuing the process, and maintaining the implemented changes. Each part of the toolbox would have videos and accompanying ready to use worksheets that nonprofit leaders/board members/staff could use immediately.

After testing this version and making needed modifications, the final solution would be built out and made available to foundations, organizations serving nonprofits, and nonprofits themselves.

What is the need are you focusing on?

COVID-19 is having a far-reaching impact on nonprofit organizations across the world. The disruptive effects from this crisis are more far-reaching, severe, and unpredictable than anything nonprofits have faced in the past. While the current support efforts for the sector are centered on meeting their immediate survival needs, the focus on preparing for the future is lacking. In order to come out viable on the other side of this crisis, nonprofit organizations have to be able to develop resiliency, which would allow them to absorb the shock and respond effectively to newly emerging needs. Furthermore, the nonprofit sector should use this crisis as an opportunity for creating new perspectives, priorities, and mindsets, which will allow the sector to imagine and prepare for future scenarios that are not yet clear or visible. 

Which type of submission are you sharing?

  • Identifying a gap that needs to be addressed

Describe the business pivot or adaptation in 3-4 sentences.

All these questions were addressed in previous sections.

Do you plan to implement this solution?

  • Yes

Describe the impact that this solution will create in the world.

If resiliency and capacity to innovate are what is needed for nonprofits to survive and thrive during and after this crisis, this toolbox would equip nonprofits in the US and around the world to develop those capacities. This, in turn, would allow nonprofit organizations to create and provide relevant, timely, and needed services to the most vulnerable populations.

What is the name of your business or organization?

I am a professor at the University of Georgia, School of Social Work, and the Institute for Nonprofit Organizations.

What does your business/company do? Whose needs does your business/company address? Who do you serve?

School of Social Work at the University of Georgia prepares undergraduate and graduate students for micro and macro social work practice. Our mission states, “We prepare culturally responsive social work practitioners, organizational leaders and scholars to address social problems and promote social justice through teaching, research and service.”

What is your profession?

I am a pracademic (I am a professor and practitioner)

Where are you located (country)?


Where are you located (region)?

  • North America

What industry is your business/company in?

  • Education

How many people does your business/company employ?

  • 50-249

How old is your business/company?

  • 10 or more years old

Which classification describes your organization/business?

  • Government

What kind of stakeholders and partnerships are needed to pursue this solution?

  • Funding- Grants
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- NGOs
  • Stakeholders/Partnerships- Private Sector

Do you need help building partnerships and finding partners?

  • Yes

If Yes to the above, please share 1-2 sentences describing the specific help you desire.

I would like to partner with foundations that would be interested in using this toolbox with their grantees.

What do you think are the main barriers to implementing this solution?

The only barrier is the lack of manpower to get the toolbox developed. I can develop the content, but my tech capabilities to build this out are limited.

Are you aware of any open source efforts, hackathons or other collaborative efforts related to your solution? Are you participating in these efforts?

I am not aware of such efforts. There are numerous hackathons and design sprints around different issues, but none that I know of that focus on helping nonprofits build their resiliency and develop innovative capacity.


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