Changing the conversation


Changing the Conversation: The Impact of COVID-19 on Nonprofits and Those They Serve

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GrowthWorks is talking to community organizations to understand how they are dealing with the pandemic and how this has unfolded for people that use their services.

When COVID-19 hit, we began a series of online touchpoint discussions with a variety of generational cohorts ranging from Gen Z to Baby Boomers, as well as people working on the frontline, e.g. teachers. The series, Consumer Conversations, helped uncover the challenges people were facing as the pandemic unfolded, their feelings and emotions, and what behaviors might stick as time goes on. The work revealed not only how people are coping, but how the brands and organizations that serve them might help them meet new needs as they move forward amidst the ongoing uncertainty.

These conversations originally started under the shadow of COVID-19, but over time, continued within the context of increasing awareness of racial and income inequalities as long-standing disparities between communities were dramatically illuminated by the arrival of the virus. It became clear to us that there was a need to dig deeper into issues facing lower-income communities, often composed of people of color, that were being disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.

To get a better sense of the challenges, we are transitioning to a new series, Community Conversations. The first group we plan to speak with are Executive Directors (or other senior leaders) of organizations that serve youth from low-income communities. These organizations, which typically provide services such as tutoring, leadership training, or even merely a safe space to spend time, are struggling to maintain their offerings for a variety of reasons ranging from lack of funding to safety concerns about in-person programming. We want to see the world through their lens to give a grounding on how COVID-19 has impacted and may continue to impact those they serve.

Earlier this year, we as an organization committed to being part of the effort to find solutions around inequality and racial injustice, to help in a way that is true and authentic to us and leverages what we know how to do best. Well, we know how to research…how to gather insight and connect the dots so others can be armed with relevant, actionable knowledge. Our initial goal with these Community Conversations is to better understand the impacts that these frontline organizations are experiencing from the pandemic and share that learning out with all of you to inform solutions that can make a difference. If you work in the field of youth programming in low-income communities and are interested in talking with us, please reach out to

#CommunityConversations #Disruption #Insight #MarketResearch #Nonprofit

Elaine Taite

About The Author

Foresight Strategy Partner to Upland.