The global pandemic has upended the philanthropic sector. While nonprofits across the country are slashing budgets and shuttering doors, others are turning to creative solutions like the Cramer & Associates’ Pivot Plan™ to reevaluate and push forward.
Nonprofits need real solutions right now, and the Pivot Plan™ is a swift strike designed to be executed in less than one week. The plan revolves around the 5 “pivot gears” at the heart of every nonprofit – leadership, mission fulfillment, finance, fundraising and marketing – and understanding that the gears must work together.
Babette Wofter, Director of the Licking County Library, was introduced to the Pivot Plan through a recent webinar.
“As an administrator, I was really struggling to plan and provide answers to my staff. They needed direction, and I was feeling paralyzed to provide it.”
Therefore, she turned to the Cramer Team to facilitate the Pivot Plan™ and guide her staff.
We recently connected with Babette to see how the Pivot Plan™ has repositioned the library and reenergized staff.
Why did the Licking County Library team decide to participate in the Pivot Plan™ process?
We had a 3-year strategic plan but much of it simply isn’t relevant right now. The Pivot Plan™ webinar gave me the reassurance that I didn’t have to have all the answers but that it was possible to create a short-term plan that was on mission.
Our focus always needs to be on our patrons and how we can best serve them. Our plan helps us zero in on several ways we can continue to do that, in spite of all the challenges.
What did you learn through the process?
The Pivot Plan™ provided confirmation of some things that have nagged us for some time. It was evident that the team wanted to take this as an opportunity to really drilldown and make tough decisions and improve our programs and services.
There are several things we cannot do right now, such as in-person programming. Therefore, the time we would have spent on that can be used to evaluate our programming, our branch library service models and overall customer service strategy. We’ve given it a lot of lip service in the past, but we were so caught up in the day-to-day tasks that we never prioritized it as we should have.
The pandemic is giving us the opportunity to hit the reset button. I believe it will make us even better as a team and more relevant to our customers on the other side of all this. Additionally, the process brought a lot of little things to the surface that needed attention. Although they didn’t merit space in our written plan, it has given me the opportunity to host small breakouts with groups of staff to come up with solutions to those issues as well.
How is your team implementing the Licking County Library Pivot Plan? What’s working?
The plan has been communicated to the entire staff and Board of Trustees. The Management and Administrative Team meets at least twice per month in a Pivot “Huddle” to update each other on progress and discuss how we are going to tackle the next topic in the plan.
There are small groups of managers, supervisors and other front-line staff working together on different aspects of it. Managers provide monthly reports that include Pivot Plan™ progress and we discuss in greater detail when we meet on-one-one.
It is working best for us to do mini meetings more frequently rather than marathon meetings. I am very pleased with the progress we have made in such a short period of time. As a list-maker, every time I can check something off our plan that is complete or at least in progress, it’s a good day!
How did the plan help pivot your team, board and organization during this time of disruption?
The Pivot Plan™ has helped us focus on what is most important for the here and now. It has given us the permission to be okay with some uncertainty and to continue to be flexible but know that we are still providing an important service to our community and educating our lifelong learners.
All the while, we are learning, too. We are finding new efficiencies and creative solutions that we would likely not have explored if things had stayed the same in 2020.
What was the best outcome from the Pivot Plan™ process?
The best outcome from the Pivot Plan™ for the Library Management and Administrative Team has been having a short-term plan that we have all worked together to create. The plan provides focus and direction for our next steps forward. It provides talking points to engage the staff and Board of Trustees so that they too can assist in implementing this plan.
“The last several months have been so out of the ordinary for all of us. The Pivot Plan™ was the life raft we needed to hang in there and keep moving the Library forward”
Our priorities are providing resources, programs and services in a safe, convenient and patron focused way that coincides with the current situation.
To learn more about the Pivot Plan™ and to view upcoming webinar trainings, visit cramerphilanthropy.com/pivot-plan.
Cramer & Associates is a nationally recognized philanthropic consulting firm that has been serving nonprofit organizations, corporations and foundations since 1987. Our full-service firm offers clients a wide range of services, including feasibility studies, campaigns, strategic planning, board training, development audits, events, executive searches and much more. The Cramer Team identifies organizations’ strengths and opportunities and develops campaigns that succeed, empowering organizations to impact their communities. cramerphilanthropy.com