How Non-Profits Are Leveraging LMS To Overcome The Pandemic

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Nonprofit organizations are a safe ground for many. Nonprofits work towards providing basic amenities to the underprivileged or for those who are neglected by society and the government. They help feed the hungry, provide shelter, education, healthcare facilities, and even take initiatives in keeping the world clean and green. Endless nonprofit organizations are fighting for their cause with the world and trying to make a difference.      

The year 2020 was saddening for humankind after the inception of the COVID-19 virus. The need for nonprofit organizations is more than ever. Apart from the virus outbreak, other tragedies like fire in California, hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico have drastically increased the number of people looking for help, food, and shelter. Over 1.6 billion people have either lost their jobs or are on the edge of losing one; we can also witness hospitals with insufficient supplies, PPE kits, test kits, and communities longing for increased support.    

While nonprofit organizations are in demand now, the pandemic outbreak and the lockdowns have affected the nonprofits’ functioning.    

How has the pandemic affected nonprofits?    

As per the Independent sector report, nonprofits witnessed a drop in funding this year; 83 percent of nonprofit organizations experienced a reduction in revenue and contributions because of canceled events and closed operations. Even the organizations saw a significant drop of about half in individual contributions.     

Individuals tend to give away in times of crisis. Still, nonprofits have seen significantly less to almost zero contributions this year with the virus outbreak. According to Amir Pasic, the Eugene R. Tempel Dean at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University, personal giving falls off during the recession. Pasic, who was interviewed by the Stanford Social Innovation Review earlier this year, pointed out that after the recession of 2009, it took many years for individuals to contribute to society. It will be challenging for this year & the upcoming years as 2020 experienced the virus outbreak and several crises, and a recession.    

Reduction in revenue or profits leads to a reduction in employees, operations, and the ability to raise more funds to continue their mission. The nonprofits follow the same policy, but it is the same for the profit organizations as well. Amid the pandemic, salaried employees losing their job has surged to 18.9 million. According to a report by The NonProfit Times, nonprofit staffing has reduced by 7.6 percent since March. As per the report by the Independent Sector, nonprofits have collectively lost 47 percent of their staff. As per the same report, 71 percent of nonprofits reduced their operations, 55 percent have shut down completely, and 30 percent reduced employee pay and benefits.     

How are the nonprofits still helping?    

Even after facing many difficulties, nonprofits successfully set up COVID-19 response funds to stock food banks during the lockdown. They even supported social justice protestors and created wildfire relief funds. According to the Nonprofit Leadership Center, they were considered a driving force to get people out to vote, and nonprofits did all of it with reduced individual contributions.    

This task could be majorly possible because of the private giving foundations stepping in to fill the void. In discussion with Stanford Social Innovation Review, Mary Jovanovich, senior manager for Relationship Management at Schwab Charitable, said that she saw a 50% increase in grants recommended by donors in the early months of the pandemic, many of which were earmarked for Covid relief.    

The money coming in resulted in over $138 million donated to over 7,000 charities supporting COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts between February and March.    

While nonprofits focused on COVID-19 relief have been doing good, the rest are still suffering like the arts nonprofits. The arts and entertainment sector has lost 35 percent of its workforce since March. Educational nonprofits have seen a 13 percent reduction in their staff. Since the pandemic outbreak, the workers working from home are now learning to work and grow differently. While working from home is very new for nonprofit organizations, they are still trying to leverage technology to train their workforce to become more vital than ever.    

 How are nonprofits strengthening their workforce by training their existing employees?    

Nonprofits have seen themselves inundated with volunteers ready to be a part of their mission. While salaried employees are losing their jobs, they are coming forward to help the nonprofit organizations help the ones in need. But the volunteers are not the employees of nonprofit organizations. These organizations have an employee pool that governs the volunteers. At tough times like these, nonprofits have very few employees at hand, thus making the governance of the volunteers a challenging task.    

Fortunately, nonprofits are leveraging the training technology to deliver knowledge to the employees and the volunteers. Take Girl Scouts San Diego (GSSD), a small organization with undersized staff working with thousands of volunteers. Last year, fortunately, the organization implemented E-learning to double the number of volunteers attending the training modules. With over 14000 volunteers, it was challenging to get everybody under the same roof. The online training helped disseminate the knowledge appropriately to all the volunteers, thus enabling them to perform better during the pandemic.    

Online learning can be easily implemented in any nonprofit organization with the help of an LMS.    

 And what are the three benefits of an LMS to look out for?    

  1. LMS shapes learning around a cause   

The shift towards digital learning ensures that the organizations can control their learning process and incline it with their organization’s mission. Nonprofits with a clear purpose need to rally their team members and volunteers to understand their mission continuously; however, with an LMS, the knowledge can be quickly and interestingly disseminated.    

Customization comes in handy with E-learning platforms. There is no rigidity in the learning process, and the lessons are taught to complement the organization’s principal aim.    

  1. Instil consistent information across all teams   

It is challenging for nonprofits to keep all the employees informed with the correct information, especially when the demand is high. Rather than getting stuck and adding to the new challenges, nonprofits can lay the foundation of proper information disbursement to all the employees and the volunteers at the same time.     

  1. Keeps everyone informed   

One of the successful ways that nonprofits function is by keeping their teams together with the correct information. The staff, donors, volunteers are communicated with the necessary information to achieve their tasks. Using an LMS supports everybody on the same page and avoids confusion, and fosters open communication. Nonprofits can ensure that the tasks are not repeated and add value to their future objectives.    

With the openness of using an LMS, nonprofit organizations and the staff can retain the information, modify, and recycle the data as per their mission. As the LMSs are cloud-based and mobile-friendly, the LMS provides flexibility to the workers and helps achieve the organization’s principal objective.    

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