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Candid and COVID-19: All virtual, all the time

Screenshot of 25 participants in a Zoom meeting.

In March 2020, Candid canceled all in-person events until a time to be named later. Later in the month, we closed all of our offices and began working 100 percent remotely. In this article from our 2020 annual report, Candid employees share how going virtual affected them and the stakeholders they serve.

Ivonne Simms smiles at the camera.“Working virtually for our team meant we worked collaboratively in a way that wasn’t possible  prepandemic. As someone who was still learning the ropes, I was glad I could shadow my colleagues. I was able to learn Candid content and get to know my awesome fellow trainers.”
Ivonne Simms
Programs Manager, South

Tracy Kaufman smiles at the camera.“Nothing exemplifies 2020’s workflow for me quite like this: I was two hours deep into training a group over Zoom on how to find grants to support civic participation, when my 7-year-old crept up beside me on camera in his pajamas, cupped his hands to my ear, and at a volume audible to everyone in the training, loudly stage-whispered, ‘Can you glue my dinosaur’s tail back on?’”
Tracy Kaufman
Programs Manager, Northeast

Carla Norris smiles at the camera.“Hollywood movies on global pandemics never address product access, but this was the Funding Information Network (FIN) team’s vital mission in March. Thanks to amazing colleagues across Candid, we quickly launched remote access to Foundation Directory Online so that our FIN partners could continue to support their patrons and communities despite their physical building closures.”
Carla Norris
Network Engagement Liaison

Julieta Mendez smiles at the camera.“Necessity is the mother of invention, and never has that been truer than during this pandemic; it really forced us to think and work outside the box. We were able to design virtual workshops in a matter of weeks, whereas under normal circumstances, it may have taken us months. It forced us to think about our programs in truly 21st-century terms given the virtual reality we are facing—pun intended. Most importantly, the common denominator of all of us working on Zoom brought us closer together in ways we could not have achieved otherwise.”
Julieta Mendez
Senior Director of Network Engagement

Joey Guastella looks at the camera.“Why yes. Yes, I do have a Zoom shirt. I’ve also thrown on a stylish jacket from time to time to make me look as though I just landed from an international jaunt.”
Joey Guastella
Data Discovery Analyst

David Holmes smiles at the camera.“When we went virtual, I worried so much about being able to keep connected and help the nonprofit staff members who attended our in-person trainings. It’s much harder to see confusion on people’s faces using Zoom—particularly if their camera isn’t on! But after many sessions, I realize that using chat, virtual polls, and virtual breakout rooms can be just as engaging and involving as an in-person class. The icebreakers still break the ice, the bad jokes still elicit rueful grins, and the group activities have the bonus of happening in everyone’s own relaxed personal environment.”
Dave Holmes
Programs Manager, Midwest

Krista Berry Ortega looks at the camera.“Our national network of nonprofit professionals not only still needed our critical fundraising tools and expertise last year—they were craving peer connections and engagement. I’m so proud of how quickly our team worked together to move all our trainings online and designed them to be highly interactive. Some of my favorite teaching moments this year were when we were getting to know our participants in icebreakers and grounding exercises and after we created space for them to network and interact with peers around the country.”
Krista Berry Ortega
Programs Manager, West

Laura Bergman smiles at the camera.“I really hadn’t expected it would be quite so effortless to put together a virtual arts panel, but as it turns out, it’s easier to get people to agree to do something when they only have to dress from the waist up!”
Laura Bergman
Programs Assistant, West

Catalina Spinel looks at the camera.“The COVID-19 webinar series exemplifies teamwork at Candid. From determining the topic, recommending a speaker, moderating, presenting, and promoting the webinars to answering questions via our online chat, many came together to make the webinars possible. The result? Tens of thousands of participants across the U.S. and abroad had real-time information on how nonprofits and foundations responded to COVID-19.”
Catalina Spinel
Director of Partnerships, Northeast

Elizabeth Madjlesi“Moving our workshops to a virtual platform has removed geographic and financial barriers for many participants, making these learning experiences much more accessible. Initially, I wasn’t convinced that we could maintain the same level of interactivity as our in-person programs or that participants would build authentic connections with one another. After several months of virtual programming, I’m more than convinced.”
Elizabeth Madjlesi
Programs Manager, Northeast

Samantha Ryder smiles at the camera.“Almost everything FIN-related changed this year. We spent months planning FIN visits, regional convenings, conference schedules, in-person public and staff trainings, and our annual three-day conference, only to have to cancel all of them (like everything else). Fast forward many months, and we’ve adapted quite well. While we miss interacting in person with our partners, I’m thankful that we have managed to continue to support them through this difficult time.”
Sam Ryder
Network Engagement Manager, Midwest


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