Our daughter likes the TV series ‘You’ve Been Framed’. I don’t. I find watching people falling over in a myriad of ways is tiring to look at after a very short time. But slapstick still hooks people in today ever since the first person slipped up on a banana skin. (‘Sliding’ Billy Watson back in the late 1870s, as part of a vaudeville act).
For charities, dodging banana skins has become an essential part of navigating lockdown. It’s been easy at times, but look out, there’s another one. For instance, we all had to avoid the ‘banana skin’ of believing that all would be well after the first lockdown (remember the optimism at the time of Eat Out to Help Out anyone?). Then we had to avoid slipping again as the demands on our resources grew with another lockdown. We risked becoming overwhelmed. There was no opportunity for forward planning (aka a banana skin-free route). We had to ‘act first, think later’.
New Philanthropy Capital’s current series of online labs Rethink Rebuild explores this situation in more detail. If the pandemic has caused us to tear the rule book up, then why not create a new one? In its words:
Coronavirus is not an ordinary storm to be weathered, a dip in the cycle to ride out and recover from. Whatever your unique experience of it, the pandemic represents a period of systemic change that demands a systemic response. It is both a crisis and an opportunity.
The online labs follow on from NPC’s State of the Sector report in 2020. This was an investigation into where charities stood before the pandemic hit. The labs break down into five key areas. Strategy, Policy, Grant Making, Collaboration and with one left in the series, Data. The idea is to share ideas and learnings to ‘rebuild’ how the social sector works.
Currently, banana skins are still around. Mutant variants, overseas travel complications. Both in the same week that theatres are finally opening up. Concerns are still with us. Turning a situation into an opportunity brings a welcome new perspective now.
Charlie Chaplin capitalised on the sliding banana skin routine in his films. I like this quote of his: It is always the unexpected that happens, both in moving pictures and in real life.
It’s how you progress from there that matters.
New Philanthropy Capital Rethink, Rebuild | NPC Labs (thinknpc.org) #RethinkRebuild