“The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word crisis. One brush stroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity. In a crisis be aware of the danger, but recognise the opportunity” - John F. Kennedy (speech 1959)
Whilst this a lovely and timely sentiment, from a well-respected statesman (also widely shared via memes and quote sites) it’s actually untrue. It’s human nature to reach out for helpful advice and answers on what to do when confronted with a crisis. In this era of fake news and misinformation it’s vital now, more than ever, to be discerning about who and what you listen to. Take advice from people who are not just self-proclaimed ‘experts’ in their field, but people who have proven experience in navigating a volatile environment. Research their credentials, check testimonials, ask about the results they’ve produced and gather social proof. This is not the time to take things at face value. There’s a very short window to get your house in order before the impending recession hits, and there’s no time to waste or money to lose.
When I started matchmaking corporates with causes in 1995, I survived the naysayers who disputed that there was a market for cause partnerships (this was pre-internet, pre-CSR). I survived numerous technological advances: introduction of this thing called the internet, the smart phone, the Y2K hysteria, the GFC and two failed mergers. Through it all the one thing that has kept me strong - and sane - has been the faith of others, my wonderful collaborators, mentors and long-term clients.
Like it or not, economists are predicting that Australia, like the rest of the world, will very likely plunge into recession in the coming months. A recession is defined as two-quarters of economic contraction. In Australia, we’ve not had a recession - based on this definition, although we’ve come close - in 30 years. In fact, we hold the world record for the longest period of prosperity. So, for many Australians this will be a new and potentially very challenging experience.
Will the Australian government be so focused on investing in bush-fire ravaged communities, propping up the economy and major infrastructure industry to worry about non-profits? What does it mean for non-profits partnering with corporates in the years to come, who tend to cut luxuries like giving in tough times?
I’ve always known that collaboration was the key to survival, and now more than ever I believe it’s going to be the key to getting Australia back on its feet fast, to a new period of renewal and thriving. Australians are a resilient bunch, and we’re also great inventors and innovators. We must embrace this opportunity. As tough as it’s going to be, we’ll be compelled to do things differently, we must Be More. As another great statesman, Ronald Reagan said, “The future doesn’t belong to the light-hearted. It belongs to the brave.”