Lessons Learned During the Early COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 had a tremendous impact on the nonprofit space, leaving organizations scrambling to keep their employees and clients safe while maintaining operations as best they could for highly vulnerable populations. The changes were abrupt and hazardous, yet we were able to pivot with care.

Reflecting on these months of upheaval, CancerCare's CEO Patricia J. Goldsmith penned an article for the industry-leading weekly The Cancer Letter entitled "Navigating a pandemic in the nonprofit space: Lessons learned from COVID-19 responses." If CancerCare had success navigating these early months, could it provide guidance to those in similar straits? What were the things that allowed CancerCare to be as nimble and flexible as it was? 

Due to foresight, CancerCare had prepared most employees with remoting technology, permitting our social workers to keep up their support groups, counseling and case management to continue without missing a beat. Yet this alone would not have solved the problem: If life had changed for those facing a cancer diagnosis, then we needed to find ways to meet their compounding needs. It took the ingenuity of staff to revise and create new initiatives to best serve our clientele:

Leadership and staff alike were invigorated by the speed and decisiveness of our operational pivots. To capitalize upon and redirect that energy, all members of the organization were encouraged  to cultivate creative ways to address the practical, educational and psychosocial concerns of our clients.

The goal was not to simply maintain services, but to become even better. CancerCare's agility lead to new ideas, new workshops, new publications, new categories of funding, new partnerships and, overall, new solutions. As the pandemic seems to be entering new stages across the country, we stand ready to meet the challenges, wherever they may come. Thanks to our donors, we remain in a great position to help those who need us most.

To review the wealth of resources and programs we put together related to the coronavirus, please look here. For more information about CancerCare, please visit cancercare.org.
Michele McCourt
Senior Director
CancerCare Co-Payment Assistance Foundation
275 Seventh Avenue
New York, NY 10001
P | 646.616.3905 - F | 212.601.9761

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