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5 Ways that CACFP Sponsors Can Use the COVID-19 Crisis as an Opportunity

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Celebrated neuroscientist, best-selling author and global advocate for mental health Abhijit Naskar wrote in his book When Call the People: My World My Responsibility, “The darkest night reveals the brightest light.” Without discounting the darkness brought by the COVID-19 global pandemic, we would like to use this blog post to reveal some bright opportunities for CACFP sponsors hidden within the crisis.

OPPORTUNITY #1: REVISIT YOUR MISSION, VISION AND VALUES


When was the last time you read your mission statement? Does it continue to reflect the work that your organization does? Dynamic and thriving nonprofits have shifts in mission as they grow and the world around them changes. And don’t forget vision and values as companions to your mission statement; these all serve different purposes.

  • Vision: Your dream! What you want the world to look like. For example, is your vision that all children in your community are secure in where their next meal is coming from? Or perhaps your vision is that the CACFP reaches all eligible families.
  • Mission: Your plan! How you are going to make your dream come true. Vision and mission go hand-in-hand. For instance if your vision is that all family child care providers feel valued and supported, your mission might talk about your advocacy, training and outreach activities to that end.
  • Values: Your beliefs! The principles that drive your decisions. To illustrate values, imagine that you have a big budget shortfall and need to make budget cuts. One sponsor might have a value of community presence and decides to keep a physical office and cut the staff professional development budget. Another sponsor might have a value of taking care of employees first and decide to have staff work remotely to save on rent and continue funding professional development activities.

OPPORTUNITY #2: DIVERSIFY YOUR FUNDRAISING


With many Americans embracing virtual events, maybe it’s time to think about leveraging technology to spark fundraising. Just a few ideas for virtual fundraising:

  • Host a series of child nutrition-themed TED talks
  • Launch a virtual professional development day for providers
  • Online trivia contests
  • Virtual run or walk
  • Online auctions
  • Talent Shows
  • Paint-and-Sip Night

One excellent aspect of virtual fundraising is the low cost. Without food to purchase and space to rent, the overhead on virtual events is low!

OPPORTUNITY #3: EXPAND YOUR VOLUNTEER BASE


With many Americans subject to shelter in place orders and schools switching to distance learning, there may be people out there that care about your organizational mission and have time and talents they can share! Try listing your organization on a website like volunteermatch.org or use social media to reach out to community members. Oftentimes people are unaware of the important role that CACFP sponsors play in their local community and would help if asked.

OPPORTUNITY #4: REFRESH POLICIES AND PROCEDURES


The American workplace is changing rapidly under COVID-19. Maybe you have your staff working remotely and are considering making that an option going forward. Now would be an excellent time to discuss and formalize the policies and procedures about working remotely! The same thinking could apply to policies and procedures around sick time, communication expectations and technology.

OPPORTUNITY #5: SWITCH SOFTWARE


Since we’re a CACFP software company, you probably knew this suggestion was coming. But we really do believe that now might be a great time to explore My Food Program. So much has changed for both sponsors and providers that changing software makes sense. Dramatic events have an uncanny way of putting things in perspective. Is changing CACFP software really that terrible in the grand scheme of things? Is it possible that the benefits outweigh the risks? We sure think so! And we’ll be there to support you every step of the way.

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