What are the signs or metrics for recovery, and how do we take this information and make good business decisions? Business Insider recently published an article with five charts showing a potential economic recovery.

Travel: The number of travelers is starting to take an upward tick up with close to 500,000 but pales in comparison to 2019 where the number of travels at TSA checkpoints was great than 2.5 million. But, this upward recovery from nearly 100,000 travelers just prior to the pandemic is a positive sign.

Restaurants: This is another key indicator in major states across the country where there is a significant rise in bookings.

Hotels: Another chart in the article is showing a rebound in hotel occupancy from a low of around 22% in late March to close to 40%.

Public Transport: This is one number to watch closely as public transportation is the closest you are going to get someone while going to work or traveling around a city. This number too has seen a significant uptick in major cities and in the United States in general.

Workers: Another sign is that workers returning to the workforce has been very positive and is in an upswing as well.

Translating the Data into Action

What does this mean for a nonprofit organization’s recovery, and how can it take action? I think there are several areas to concentrate on:

Virtual: Virtual meetings, events, and other activities used to be the alternative to a live meeting. We see this as becoming the new normal as many organizations have maximized the use of technologies to have very productive events and meetings without the need for travel. If virtual was 10% of all meetings in the past, this could surge to over 30% in the future. Continue to develop this important stream of education and information while maximizing revenues for each event.

Live Events and Meetings: Regardless of the ability to do business remotely, virtual cannot and should not replace live meetings, but not right now. Given the absence of a vaccine and limited therapeutics for COVID-19, the apprehension of travel will remain strong through 2020.

The first or second quarter of 2021 may see a resurgence to events. Another thought is that there will be a strong combination of live meetings with virtual engagement. This will play a significant factor in retention and value to members. Plan for the resurgence and engage with your sponsors, vendors, and other partners to launch a blockbuster event for 2021.

Physical Location: One president of a nonprofit organization said, “why do we have all of this office space? Everyone is working from home and we haven’t missed a beat in service.” This is a real statement and one to think about. Is there an opportunity to reduce office space by 30-50% while maintaining a similar or better level of service?

This also benefits the worker with no commute times; increased focus and time spent on work rather than office conversations; and the ability to prioritize the extra time into exercise, time with family, etc. There are benefits, but not everyone can work from home. Start analyzing the members of your team that could benefit from a work-from-home situation and how that could impact office space and other support services. Then, develop a comprehensive budget with a current state vs. a future state with less space and more remote workers.

The Time is Now

The time is right now to determine how the organization will do business into the long-term future. Economic recovery is going to be dependent on how much value and relevance you provide your members and key stakeholders.

Your organization should be an indispensable resource to them right now and as their needs change. They will change at a faster pace than ever before. Form an advisory task force of your key industries, sectors, etc. and work with them continuously to identify opportunities to serve better. We all need to remember that what once generated significant revenues and value, may not be the same.

Part 2

Part 2 of this article is coming next week and speaks to the needs of effective leadership and how to prioritize external urgencies in your plan. Be on the lookout for “Building a recovery plan.”