Interview with Maren Keßler, team lead at Nova Leadership for Impact Student Club
MAREN KESSLER, Project Team Leader, Project: Impact on NFP sector during Covid-19, Duration: 2 months
What is your project trying to improve and change?
Our research project was aiming to answer what impact COVID had on the NFPsector. We addressed six main dimensions to answer this research question whichwere: 1) strategic planning, 2) value creation and financial sustainability of NFP’s, 3)partnership and collaboration models, 4) impact measurement, 5) communicationand marketing, and lastly 6) internal functioning of NPO’s. All dimensions wereimpacted by the pandemic.
For example, in terms of strategic planning organizations learned how importantscenario planning is. Another important part of our work was combining thetheoretical findings with actual case studies as the business models of manyorganizations had to be adapted. Another example is a case study we found onNFP nurses who had to shift all their previously in-person services to telehealthservices. The case study has been interesting in the sense that via phone theemotional bond is not the same and it might be more difficult to talk about moresensitive topics with the patient.
What has been your experiencing so far and what was your motivation to workon this project?
oncerning the first part of your question, I enjoyed working on this project. Myteam and the professor were very motivated, and the weekly meetings have beenvery interesting and insightful. Second, I wanted to work on the project as I thinkit’s a very recent topic and I was curious how the NFP sector is influenced by it.
What do you think is the biggest challenge in your project’s area?
It was a big challenge to find case studies for each of the six dimensions.
What, in your point of view, is the best way to create a sustainable impact?
For me, sustainable impact means that the impact lasts after a project hasfinished. It is about thinking long-term rather than immediate gratification. In thepast, I have been volunteering a lot, which I loved, but I think that I was onlycreating an impact for a short amount of time. A sustainable impact would havemeant, at least in my opinion, that we would have found a solution for the issue athand and consequently in the future the community wouldn’t depend anymore onvolunteers.
What advice and suggestion would you give someone who is trying to make an impact within the same field yourproject operates in?
I guess many NGOs might need help to adapt to this new situation. We are planning an Impact Summit this June,where we will bring together students and NGOs to solve together issues that NGOs might have. I expect that someissues will be related to COVID. So, if people want to engage, this would be a great opportunity!
What is unique and special about your project?
We went in-depth for each dimension and tried to connect it with real-life examples, namely case studies. However,maybe it’s a good point to end the interview with the fact that all projects of the club are very valuable as they aremaking an actual impact on society.