Changes in technology, tax law and customer preferences are par for the course. Here's how top business leaders navigate them.
A rapidly shifting landscape of customer needs and expectations was cited as a challenge by 20 percent of responding CEOs in the 2018 Central Ohio CEO Survey by Capital University and Columbus CEO. Here’s how three past CEO of the Year honorees say it affects their large nonprofits.
CEO, Columbus Metropolitan Library
Rapidly changing customer needs is not a new phenomenon at Columbus Metropolitan Library. As always, we must live in the moment with one eye on the future—and that means adding and eliminating formats as technology changes. Today, customers use traditional formats alongside streaming services. They expect remote, 24/365 access on a variety of personal devices. Customer questions have also evolved, and today we answer fewer fact-based questions and spend more time helping refer customers to partner agencies who provide myriad social services. Finally, the overwhelming popularity of new library buildings proves that shared community space remains a treasured commodity.
CEO, Habitat for Humanity Mid-Ohio
Habitat MidOhio’s approach to meeting customers’ needs and expectations is to remain nimble. Over time, neighborhood expectations have changed to include home repair in addition to our tried-and-tested concept of providing the “hand up, not a hand out” opportunity for homeownership. Meeting this community need has involved growing our Habitat ReStores to what will soon be three locations, where the sustainable revenue generated has made it possible for us to grow from serving 28 families two years ago to 106 in FY19, just ended. Finally, ours is a mission of empowerment, where our clients, donors and customers’ needs always remain primary.
CEO, Columbus Foundation
Change is a constant, both in our community and in tax regulations that affect charitable giving. The Columbus Foundation is built for this. Here, we see this in Central Ohio’s expanding community of entrepreneurs and complex asset owners looking to maximize the value of gifting closely held business interests, including stock and partnership interests, and real estate, prior to a sale, to maximize tax benefits and philanthropic impact. We must refresh technical expertise and community knowledge in real time. Corporate philanthropy is changing, too, with greater interest in strategic and experience-based philanthropy and services such as our Employee Assistance Program.
Our CEO of the Year Awards for 2019 will be announced in the December issue.
Katy Smith is editor for Columbus CEO.