Giving Compass' Take:

• Nonprofit leaders can help respond to the COVID-19 crisis by tapping into expertise and connections to socially innovate large-scale ideas that will offset the pandemic. 

• Examples of these ideas include a parking lot in Nashville that was repurposed into a treatment area and researchers at Ohio State University who 3D printed 50,000 COVID-19 test swabs. How can donors help grow these ideas? 

• Here are five keys to unlock social innovation during COVID-19.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought illness, anxiety and economic volatility that is unprecedented. Yet, amid the darkness, we are empowered with the humble reminder that people band together to problem-solve, innovate and implement solutions that advance the well-being of society.

We have seen examples of such transformations over the last few months on the front lines — in Nashville, a parking garage was rapidly repurposed into a treatment area; at Ohio State University, researchers 3D printed 50,000 COVID-19 test swabs within a week; at the Cleveland Clinic, I learned from a livestream event, telemedicine increased in use by nearly 30%, bringing new efficiencies and cost savings.

As nonprofit leaders, we are inspired by the passion and ingenuity of these entrepreneurs, innovators and leaders. They have responded to the crisis, pivoted priorities and transformed healthcare.

When we hear these stories of transformation, it sparks the altruistic entrepreneur inside of us — we want to jump in the trenches and fight alongside those on the front lines. Our minds flood with questions: “How can I manufacture N95 masks for my local hospital? How can we bring food, support and resources to our local healthcare providers and first responders? How can I create a business to employ those around me who are losing their jobs?”

So, what can we do?

We must focus on the problems we can solve in the world using our strengths, expertise and connections.

As nonprofit leaders, we must remember that there are global grand challenges that did not stop when the pandemic began. Access to basic needs —food, clean water and housing — has been greatly impacted in the current climate.

We need social entrepreneurs to tackle these challenges in the areas of clean air and water, sustainable cities or preventative health.

Read the full article about how nonprofit leaders can help during COVID-19 by Christian Johnson at Forbes.