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Why I Don’t Want to Go Back to Normal
Organizational Health

Michelle CramerCFRE, President & CEO, Cramer & Associates


Throughout the pandemic, our team has been repeatedly inspired as organizations learned to collaborate in new ways, show empathy for one another, and remain resilient amidst continuous curve balls. And after almost two years, we’re hearing that many nonprofits are beginning to open their doors and come back together.

It’s needless to say that our worlds have changed in countless ways as a result of COVID-19, and we believe that, in many ways, the world of philanthropy has changed for the better. As we “return to normal” and step back into our “pre-pandemic” routines, the Cramer team hopes that some lessons learned from COVID-19 are here to stay. Dare we say it, we don’t want to go back to the normal we knew two years ago.

A Lesson On Collaboration

Prior to the pandemic, organizations would tell us that their teams were extremely collaborative and supportive of one another, but when we got in the door, we saw a different reality. More often than not, teams were working in silos and were laser-focused on the tasks they needed to achieve that hour, that day, or that week. Every team was focused on getting to “next,” and they tackled their to-do lists with an “I can handle this on my own” mentality.

Then, the pandemic came. And it showed us that we all need one another. It forced teams to step away from their silos and to look up from their to-do lists. And when our eyes were no longer locked on our own workload and tasks, it gave us the opportunity to see the bigger picture.

COVID-19 gave us permission to raise our hands and say “I need your help,” and to offer help to our teammates. We learned how to link arms and to walk with one another, rather than running a race in our own lane. And as a result, we were a force to be reckoned with.

Pro-Tip: The 15-Minute Team Huddle

As we return to “normal,” don’t let your teams return to the normalcy of working in silos. One way to carry forward the collaborative mentality we saw during the pandemic is to schedule a 15-minute team huddle each morning. The purpose of this huddle is not to micro-manage or to do a round-robin of everyone’s projects ­— it’s to understand what the most important goals of the whole team are, where support is needed, and how the team’s priorities need to shift in order to achieve the most important goals. It’s about showing up for one another, and walking back into “normal” together.


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.

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