Please note: Entries within this blog may contain references to instances of domestic abuse, dating abuse, sexual assault, abuse or harassment. At all times, Break the Cycle encourages readers to take whatever precautions necessary to protect themselves emotionally and psychologically.  If you would like to speak with an advocate, please contact a 24/7 peer advocate at 866-331-9474  or text "loveis" to 22522.


Break the Cycle transformed into a virtual non-profit five years ago centered in our mission to end relationship violence for young people.  Backed by a dynamic and diverse team of attorneys, educators, and digital experts we have “operationalized” our mission into all that we do. For us, success means creating safe offline and online spaces. It was not a matter of preference or choice; it is a core business strategy.
Turning your services and daily work-life from in-person to virtual can bring some outstanding opportunities and challenges. The following are considerations that were helpful on our journey at Break the Cycle.
  1. You can effectively lead compassionate and meaningful work virtually. At the end of the day, it’s about remembering some basics of good management. Open communications, staff leadership, supervision, transparency, trust, flexibility are important on and offline. 
  2. We explore how people behave online in relationships that may be problematic, unhealthy, and even abusive - these behaviors and needs for boundaries can be mirrored in the virtual work life as well. When operating virtual meetings, spend time exploring how your team agrees to run meetings or group-agreements if you will (setting healthy boundaries and expectations). If we view virtual meetings the same way we do in-person meetings, without even intending to do so, turning your camera off may signal that you don’t care, are multitasking, or simply bored.  To protect your privacy and surroundings, Zoom recently came out with “filters” which is a helpful addition to the platform.
  3. Planning for online interaction is a key to success.  At the office, much of the interaction happens organically--swinging by someone’s office, the small talk that happens before a meeting, the watercooler gossip... At Break the Cycle, our meetings usually start with check-in or an icebreaker. Recently, our staff facilitator announced that we were going to create the Break the Cycle Staff “Feel Good” playlist on Spotify. It showed the depth and breadth of our generations, our music tastes and, in the hard work of the day, gave us some time to laugh. 
  4. Push yourself to unlearn traditional nonprofit ways.  The bottom line is that many of the assumptions within our work come from old models of leadership, management, and productivity.  Testing a myriad of different online engagement strategies naturally will produce some excellent results. It will also highlight strategies that do not work. Creating an environment where failure is not only expected but embraced creates the kind of climate where staff are motivated to find new, interesting, and relevant solutions. Virtual organizations are uniquely positioned for success in this environment.  
Technology is not only here to stay but it allows us to make organizational shifts that would have been impossible even 10 years ago. Virtual organizations provide the best of all worlds in our competitive environment—flexibility, trust, innovation are essential to this new normal. Good luck!
Amy Sánchez, CEO
Break the Cycle