How Covid-19 Helped Pivot The Success Of One Nonprofit

In this episode of the Strategic Nonprofit Podcast, host Trista sits down with Asha Ntim, founder of The Chrysalis Program and author of D.A.R.K. Brown Girl Collection, to discuss how the covid-19 pandemic helped to pivot the success of her nonprofit organization.

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Achieving nonprofit status by starting backwards

When Asha started The Chrysalis Program, she says it was a passion project and something she wanted to do but didn’t know how to structure. Instead of launching her nonprofit organization chronologically, Asha dived into the deep end armed with bags full of passion for her community. That’s when The Chrysalis Program grew and exploded with way more demand than she could have ever imagined.

When this happened, Asha critically realized she had to go back and do the legwork of achieving nonprofit status (501C3) to continue to cater to so many people. Meaning she then had to work backwards to follow the rules of setting a standard operating procedure and other critical components of nonprofit governance and planning.

Overcoming challenges created by the pandemic

The covid-19 pandemic changed how many for-profit and non-profit organizations operate, from adopting new technology to devising new strategies to reach and engage audiences- there was a lot to learn at first.

Don’t give up hope, don’t stop dreaming and don’t stop believing that it can happen.

Asha Ntim

However, Asha found that not meeting in person challenged her organization most and was only made worse by losing their meeting space. Critically, however, her outreach program primarily focused on providing in-person services. For instance, in their volunteer orientations, they go over the five love languages. The students are supposed to experience all five—one being physical touch, where participants are hugged, given gifts and quality interaction time.

Due to the loss of this quality service, many of Asha’s participants didn’t come back when their three-hour sessions turned into a one hour virtual meeting. The good news is that this has pushed the organization to want to gain a community space of their own – with the goal of a permanent location to house all of their programs and offer more services like counselling and community resources.

How covid helped spread outreach

While The Chrysalis Program was originally based in Chicago and mostly served young girls and women in the area – Asha says she’s expanded that reach to reach girls in other states in the U.S, such as Memphis, Tennessee, Texas, and Louisiana. The reason is quite simple: these areas didn’t have similar programs, unlike the Chicago area. In tandem with the need to simplify processes, it helped their organization focus more on the impact of the lesson.

More about Asha Ntim

Asha Ntim is the founder of The Chrysalis Program and is also a Project Manager and Senior Client Consultant. Asha created the D.A.R.K. Brown Girl Collection to bring light to colourism and encourage African American girls to embrace their natural beauty. Through the response to her book collection, Asha created a mentoring program to address the concerns of parents whose daughters struggled with self-image, especially about being a minority in America.

More about The Chrysalis Program

The Chrysalis Program is a location independent 501c3 nonprofit that teaches self-confidence, accountability and practical life skills to minority girls aged 5-17 through interactive workshops, mentoring and counselling. Chrysalis Program students learn skills in:

  • Leadership
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Empathy
  • Gratitude
  • Communication Skills
  • How to actively build self-confidence

In addition to socio-emotional support, The Chrysalis Program offers practical life skills through interactive workshops like Health and fitness, sewing, cooking, healthy communication, conflict resolution, gratitude, empathy, emotional intelligence, dining and social etiquette, financial literacy, horticulture, natural hair care, dance, creative arts and S.T.E.M. activities. The program also pairs mentees with successful women of colour; volunteers include medical doctors, therapists, attorneys and other successful business owners.

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