Your Mission in the Midst of Chaos


This week, I asked a friend and prominent non-profit consultant how he’s guiding his clients during the Coronavirus crisis. After sharing thoughts on specific work, he summed up with this:

I’m telling them to lead with mission.

Exactly. Your mission is your reason for existing as an organization. It’s the good you bring to the world. And now is the time to let the world know about it.

But marketing your mission may be the furthest thing from your mind now. You may be dealing with your own huge crisis that demands your full attention. Or, you may not want to communicate for fear of being seen as exploiting a horrible situation. Or, you don’t want to come across as that organization that’s focusing on something other than its mission.

But that’s just it. When you market, you’re sharing your mission with the world, and that’s an absolute good. This is not being exploitative or taking advantage of others’ suffering. It’s ensuring that the work you’re doing is getting the exposure it deserves and continues to get a following. Because the brutal truth is this: you won’t be able to deliver on your mission if nobody knows you exist.

Moreover, we’re now undergoing a massive shift into online activity. People are researching, reading, biding time, looking for reassurance, educating themselves, and looking for answers. Depending upon your service and how you’re crafting your message, you can help fill this need while doing good for your organization.

If you want to become more active online and don’t know where to start, here are some ideas:

Be part of the solution:

SpreadMusicNow partners with musicians to raise money for music education programs across the country. But with public gatherings now on hold, SpreadMusicNow has turned its attention to helping the artists themselves, setting up a Virtual Connections page on their website that provides resources and teaching opportunities for artists whose touring has suddenly come to a halt.

Show the good work you’re doing throughout this crisis:

In “good” times, the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris provides life-saving mental health services and programs. But now – with an even heavier burden on their shoulders – they’re ensuring that community needs above and beyond their normal service offerings are being met:

Give People Comfort and Relief

With the media providing a seemingly endless stream of bad news, it’s understandable to want to stay indoors all day. Yet one of the best ways to actually get some relief during this crisis is to simply get outdoors. To this end, The New Jersey Conservation Foundation is reminding people that Nature is Open. What a great way to encourage people to maintain their mental, physical and spiritual health while keeping the foundation’s own mission relevant. Are there ways within your organization that you can offer people comfort and guidance that will, at the same time, organically support your own mission?


There is no shame in doing any of what these groups are doing. In fact, the worst thing you can do is go into hiding, because right now people need your mission more than ever; lead with it – and yes, that’s done in part through marketing.

At some point – God willing, sooner rather than later – the clouds that surround us will clear. Communicate now to ensure that when the normal times come again, yours is a mission that has not only survived, but is positioned to do even greater good.


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