How Nonprofits Can Weather the Storm by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Bags full of food.
How Nonprofits Can Weather the Storm by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Bags full of food.
Rick Simon on how nonprofits can weather the storm.

The Coronavirus has decimated the lives and finances of many people all over the country, and more people than ever are looking towards charitable organizations for help. Simultaneously, nonprofits have been deprived of many of their traditional revenue sources, including ticket sales for some and donations from regular contributors who may be suffering during this time. How can some of our most crucial institutions come out on the other side in the black while providing necessary services to the increasing number of people who need them more than ever?

Wealthy Donors

While most people haven’t had a prosperous year, lots of wealthy people are doing just fine. They are unlikely to have suffered much economic hardship from the pandemic. If they invested in tech giants or online stores like Amazon, they could be experiencing a more profitable season than ever. Now is the time for nonprofits to lean heavily on these donors who have more to give; ask them for higher donations initially, and encourage them to share more of their money to organizations that are directly helping people in need during this difficult time. Remind them of their obligation to their community and that members of it are suffering. Most people want to help others, but it’s easy for wealthier citizens to become out of touch with their societies’ middle and working-class members. …


What the Movies Can Teach Us About Leadership by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Old film projector.
What the Movies Can Teach Us About Leadership by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Old film projector.
Rick Simon on what the movies can teach us about leadership.

Movies telling the story of real-life people or events often invoke inspiration by demonstrating the indomitable human spirit. The bravery, courage, and persistence of a movie’s main characters also portray qualities that most would deem leadership characteristics. Several films serve to inspire and teach about leadership.

Norma Rae -1979

Sally Field played the part of real-life employee advocate Crystal Lee Sutton. Living in North Carolina during the 1970s, Sutton and her co-workers suffer from poor working conditions and less than adequate wages. She talked with supervisors and company owners to improve the plight of the employees. However, when efforts failed, Sutton decided to establish a union; her colleagues soon joined her in battle. But, she was deemed a trouble maker and fired. Sutton was also briefly incarcerated. …


Tips for Incorporating New Tools Into Your Business Operations by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Technology on a desk.
Tips for Incorporating New Tools Into Your Business Operations by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Technology on a desk.
Rick Simon’s tips for incorporating new tools into your business operations.

Innovation is the most crucial thing in any industry, but sometimes your business can get stuck in old habits, and for technology to outpace you. While adopting new tools can help you gain an advantage over your competitors, it can also be a difficult transition to make, especially if you’ve relied on a particular technology for a long time. However, there are some steps you can take to make adopting new tools more manageable.

First, it’s essential to understand what the tool you’re trying to replace does for you, specifically; what are its essential functions? Identifying these aspects of the device will help you make a list of things the new technology needs to do. When you’re looking for a new tool, it’s important to make sure that it will be an adequate replacement for the old one and improve on its performance. …


Soft Skills Every Leader Should Have by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Two women working on a computer.
Soft Skills Every Leader Should Have by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Two women working on a computer.
Rick Simon on which soft skills are essential for leadership.

Although there are many essential ‘hard skills,’ such as accounting or coding, are very much in demand at the moment, it’s also necessary to have ‘soft skills,’ which focus on interpersonal communication, especially if one wants to lead. Hard skills can generally be taught to someone, as there are many professional development courses devoted to them, but soft skills are often something an individual is expected to develop independently. Having these skills can provide one with an advantage in securing a job and assist in meeting all of the challenges of being a leader.

Communication Skills

Almost every business requires people to collaborate with someone; working together towards a mutual goal is all companies’ premise. Effective collaboration involves skill; listening to everyone and helping them express their ideas and concerns will often result in others looking to one for leadership naturally. Someone who has excellent communication skills can persuade others to certain points of view and create compromise within groups, allowing everyone to work together more effectively. …


Why Compassionate Leadership Isn’t Enough by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Woman directing a meeting.
Why Compassionate Leadership Isn’t Enough by Rick Simon of Chicago. Picture: Woman directing a meeting.
Rick Simon of Chicago on why compassionate leadership isn’t enough.

Being compassionate is a fundamental trait for any leader to possess; practicing understanding towards your employees, especially during these difficult times, is essential to cultivating a positive work environment. However, compassion alone is often insufficient for being a successful leader. It’s also vital for people in leadership positions to demonstrate wisdom in their decisions to ensure that their actions benefit both their employees and the company.

Incorporating wisdom into your leadership decisions means emphasizing being clear and direct when giving employees feedback and making sure that when it comes time to make difficult decisions, you can take the route that is the most beneficial for everyone. It’s important to remember that while you may have a responsibility to each of your employees individually, you also have an obligation to the company at large. Ensuring the stability of the business means that all of your employees will continue to have financial security. …


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We can’t simply rely on personal and philanthropic organizations to handle an epidemic like Coronavirus. They have neither the purview nor the scope of world governments, but that doesn’t mean that private donors don’t have a part to play in the recovery efforts. They especially have a role to play in the early days of a disaster before the governments mobilize and in the aftermath when federal funding tends to dry up. For that reason, it’s essential to consider how COVID-19 is impacting philanthropic spending.

A conducted in the wake of the recession from 2009 to 2011 showed a decrease in the overall amount of money donated. However, it also indicated that while individuals ended up giving less in total, they gave about as much proportionally to their income. Even when faced with tighter budgets and leaner opportunities, the desire to give remained solid. The major distinction came in where money was spent. More individuals gave to charitable organizations where the need was the greatest — like economically disadvantaged communities and food banks — than they would outside of an emergency situation. …


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Many people become a supervisor after they have been promoted from a lower position. Some people assume that someone who already worked at the company doesn’t need training; however, a new supervisor has much more responsibility than before. Taking the time to train a new supervisor properly can help with the transition to their new position.

Talk to Employees
It’s beneficial to survey employees and get an idea of their feelings. Ask what they believed the strengths and weaknesses of the prior manager were. Any ideas or suggestions that could make the department better can also be taken into consideration at this time. …


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There was a time when hiring a freelancer was an uncommon idea, to the point many people hadn’t heard of it. Today, more people are working as freelancers, and more people are taking advantage of the benefits this can mean for their business.

While many large and established companies benefit from freelancers, growing businesses have some of the most to gain from the value add freelancers can offer a company.

What’s so great about hiring freelancers to grow your business?

Do you need some paperwork to be copy edited? Do you need someone to start managing your social media calendar for you today? …


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Wouldn’t it be great if we always knew exactly how we were perceived at work? It’s easy to think that we understand how we’re seen. Many assume their work is being noticed or believe they are unfairly ignored. But what if you do not see things the way your boss does?

What if you’re getting passed over for opportunities because of the information you don’t have?

No one wants to come across as insecure. Asking a lot of questions about yourself can be uncomfortable. …


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Hard work is not the only requirement to be appreciated by senior executives in the workplace. Building a good rapport with them also matters. It is difficult for people to try and develop a relationship with someone above their pay grade. As much as it is a daunting task, there are things one can do to maximize the chances of developing good professional relationships with senior executives in the workplace. The following are some of them.

Look Out for Opportunities to Meet Them
If the workplace does not create opportunities to interact with executives, seek opportunities to meet them outside the work environment, such as work vacations, workshops, events, or parties. …

About

Richard Simon

Richard Simon is a Chicago-based business man and the President and CEO of United Service Companies.

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