Last week, I served as a panelist as part of a weekly Zoom series that Philanthropy Miami is offering as a service to the nonprofit community in Miami.  We had nearly 30 professionals from a wide variety of organizations such as those providing social services assistance within the Haitian community to those providing comfort to families with sick children to those focused on education and the arts.

This is the third in a three-part series exploring the most pressing questions we received from our participants.

“How do you think Q 3 and 4 of 2020 and the first two quarters of 2021 will unfold?”

We are in unprecedented times. I’ve commented on more than one occasion recently, that it feels like we are in a movie.  That our day-to-day routines are surreal and that the villain in our collective story is largely unseen. There are heroes amongst us and together we will prevail.

Beyond research on how giving has been impacted in previous economic downturns and anecdotal observations about large scale individual, corporate, and foundation giving, we are all forecasting blind. We can look to scientists and health experts and get predictions ranging from the optimistic view of life going back to a “new normal” this summer to the more dire estimation that our new “normal” only returns once there is a coronavirus vaccine.

We cannot control the COVID-19 endgame, but we can control how we spend our time today, tomorrow and next week.  We can choose to be strategic in the face of this challenge.

I would recommend that you go through scenario planning to identify your worst-case outcome.  Ask yourself and your team the questions that take you down the path of the worst case.  Addressing that “elephant in the room” in a proactive and hopeful way can generate a lot of creativity.

  • What is your worst-case?
    • Revenue falling by 75%?
    • Retaining only 25% of your current membership?
    • Furloughing 50% percentage of your staff?


  • How creative can you be in determining what you would do in that worst case?


  • Would you change how you deliver your services?


  • Would you focus your attention on a more niche population?


  • Would you merge with another non-profit to maintain the continuum of services you offer?  Is there a “competitor” serving the same population that could now be your collaborator?


  • Could you embed your operations within a larger organization?

It will probably never be that bad…but if it is, you will have an idea on how to pivot to ensure your community is served and your organization thrives.

As a founding partner of Social Venture Partners in Miami, we have been going through this effort.  And these conversations have informed our behavior over the past few weeks.  We have been in touch with a dozen potential partners, funders and collaborators to ask questions, to gather information, and to make a revised vision of our future possible.   It will probably be messy, but chaos requires action.

Given that our collective future probably includes more partnerships and a greater support from large corporations and foundations, get your research done now, be in touch with your potential collaborators, and default to massive action.

If I can be of help to you as you navigate scenario plans for your organization, contact me at or 305-338-1735.  Wishing you all the best.