Pivoting Services: Resilience in the Face of Disruptions in Nonprofit Organizations Caused by COVID-19
Keywords:Nonprofit Programming, COVID-19, Organizational Resilience, Loss of Services
The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global event that has sent shockwaves through every aspect of the economy. The nonprofit sector has been dealt a double hit—relying on donations in a time of economic hardship while being on the frontlines of the response to increased need. Previous studies have shown that COVID-19 has impacted nonprofits in numerous ways; however, the majority of studies have focused on the financial impact. Using a resilience framework, this study adds to the literature by analyzing how nonprofits have dealt with the loss of services, what it has looked like to pivot and adapt to this new environment, and what impact the loss of volunteers has had on organizations. In this qualitative study of 12 nonprofits in the Southeast United States, we find that while the organizations do talk about financial strain, equally as stressful has been the loss of face-to-face services. Nonprofits are used to being on the frontlines of most emergencies, and in this pandemic, many have struggled to keep their workers safe by following health guidelines while also serving their clients. The inability to meet with clients and the stress of pivoting to an online environment is as great or greater of a burden as the financial impact.
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