The most pressing gaps in our society are undeniably highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic – everything from healthcare vulnerabilities to education inequity to urban-rural division. While these issues were not unknown prior to the crisis, the scale in which these gaps expand and the level in which we’re aware of them – compared to just two months ago – are very much amplified.

What has changed is that our world’s greatest challenges have become much more personal. This pandemic has impacted our health, developed a wedge between how we make or don’t make money, underlines just how meaningful our relationships are, and, how quickly our “normal” can slip away. But at the exact same time, it presents an opportunity for us all to close gaps post-coronavirus – from healthcare, to education, to income – and truly define our new normal by future-proofing communities through meaningful social impact efforts.

Learning from the symptoms the crisis highlights to fill societal gaps

There is nothing like a crisis to expose the gaps in our system, whether it be housing concerns, lack of healthcare, economic inequality or discrimination in communities of color. While these gaps existed prior to COVID-19, the pandemic certainly amplified its effects to an extent where it’s essentially impossible to ignore when this is all over.

Flooding social media are pleas to stay at home to prevent spread. Both tragic stories and moments of hope are surfacing daily about those falling ill to the virus. People are questioning, how they can safely contribute while quarantined to help the sick, first responders, the homeless and those most at-risk in our society. Many quarantined in their homes remain unaware that there are free social impact platforms that they can easily utilize from the comfort of their homes to contribute to the greater good.

It’s imperative that we learn, educate, adapt and innovate from the symptoms that this crisis has created. This is an opportunity for the social impact sector to act and not return to normalcy when infection rates significantly decrease. Rather, we should improve the normal. And, within the ability to act, are compact opportunities to partner with businesses and entrepreneurs who feel and understand what it means to truly come together – and embrace any chance to do so – to create the change our society deserves.

Business professionals can drive the change through social impact efforts

In the wake of disasters, many companies and businesspeople step forward to help with financial assistance, and the current pandemic is no exception. Early this year, the World Economic Forum focused on the concept that businesses should serve the interests of all society and not simply their shareholders. For businesses to truly exemplify this, the methods to make it come to fruition needs to be known, understood and rallied.

For one, business leaders must not forget nonprofits, especially local ones within their given community. While it’s important to help any organization focused on finding a solution for the virus, the business community must acknowledge the trickle-down effect this will have on other nonprofits who are dependent on volunteers and donations. Since the crisis began, there have been countless stories from lean nonprofits that do not have delivery volunteers to provide food to sick members of the community, supplies for their food pantries, and donations from important annual fundraisers.

As we have the discussion of helping small business weather this storm, business leaders must apply the same thinking to nonprofits who align with their corporate values and play a vital role in our local communities. And today, people who are still working are in the best position to help drive change – without even leaving their home.

Helping society while still doing business

With all this in mind, I launched Givsly this month. Givsly is a social impact platform that connects professionals for virtual new business meetings in return for a donation to a cause. Anyone can sign up on their website for free, create a profile and choose their favorite charitable cause. Professionals can then connect with others in their industry or with those who share a similar passion for new business meetings. In return, the person who requested the meeting donates to that person’s charity.

Whether the charitable cause collects aid for healthcare workers, resources for first responders or food for our homeless population – the money goes directly to the charity of choice.

Rather than spending hours just to get in front of a new business prospect by attending endless lunch and learns or happy hours – or even working to form a real connection in business after you finally meet – Givsly provides a new option. Now, people are able to meet directly (virtually) and donate that money to an impactful cause right away. It allows you to connect with your prospect in a new way by showing you care about the causes they care about as well.

In fact, online networking like Givsly is what social impact organizations are embracing in the digital age, and most importantly, relying upon to continue moving the needle forward in the current climate.

DonorsChoose, a Givsly partner, is using the platform to immediately focus on helping teachers at schools that have been closed due to coronavirus. When students are unable to attend school, the resources available, or unavailable, will define their education. That means the pandemic is increasingly threatening to widen educational inequity, and ultimately, DonorsChoose aims to shrink that gap through proactive efforts.

As the world continues to shift and we figure out what lies ahead, won’t you join me in a commitment to looking for ways to redefine our new normal in a post-coronavirus world?

About the Author

Chad Hickey is CEO and founder of Givsly, a for-purpose company built around the belief that as the world around us evolves, so should our options to create social impact. While business professionals juggle many day-to-day tasks, creating social impact should not be perceived as an additional burden. Instead, Givsly develops new ways of creating impact by thinking differently about how your current everyday tasks and resources can give back.