Before we jump into the resources and advice on Coronavirus (Covid-19), we want to convey that we’re issuing this guidance to support your efforts in preparation, not out of fear, should an outbreak occur in your community.
The most important piece of advice we can offer this: don’t panic. As my favorite Pixar movie character Edna Mode once said: “Luck favors the prepared.” We hope this list of suggestions and resources helps you feel prepared. Staying calm and planning ahead are the best ways to proceed.
We divided our advice into three distinct sections: General employee policies, contingency planning, and CDC resources and advice.
General Policy Reminders
Here at the Idaho Nonprofit Center we have been working on our own internal guidance and procedures for staff, starting with some very basic reminders based on recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC):
Beyond those basics, we’re reminding our staff about our sick leave policy and the capability to work remotely. We offer employees PTO days, which can be used flexibly for illness or vacation, which allows our team plenty of leeway should our community be impacted by Covid-19.
We also have a policy that allows staff to work remotely if they are either caring for an ill family member or not well enough to be in the office, but well enough to work. We invested in the infrastructure a few years ago through TechSoup to access our internal server while traveling or working from home. TechSoup is a great resource for affordable technology for nonprofits.
Having a work-from-home policy and the technology to minimize work disruptions helps ensure that we continue to serve and support our nonprofit sector in Idaho.
Some of my own suggestions include:
In addition, consider having a contingency plan.
Contingency plans could include identifying three to five primary ways your nonprofit can be undermined, have to suspend services, or deal with drastic changes in financial/market circumstances and the strategies and policies in place to address them. Most of these changes could financially impact your organization and should have a prioritized list of strategies to work through.
Does your organization have liquid reserves to help temporarily fund operations? Do you have a solid donor engagement strategy in place should there be market fluctuations resulting in the potential for major gifts to dip slightly in the interim? Have you looked at all revenue streams to determine those that are most at risk? Have you worked with your board to build a strategy for ongoing funding should there be changes to your current financial position?
Another potential negative impact - cancelling a large fundraising event. Check out this great resource that our friends at the Nonprofit Association of Oregon shared with us. The article is titled “Coronavirus: What You Need to Know About Cancelling an Event and Liability Risks.”
We have started thinking about the financial impact on our organization and are prioritizing what is most important: people and programs. Our plan includes drafting a list of strategies that could leverage our money market account, cutting all non-essential expenses, reduction in staff time (not elimination of staff), and leveraging our office space. We are happy to share our contingency plan once it is fully developed.
The CDC also has their own comprehensive guidance for businesses that are applicable to the nonprofit sector. As you know, I like to remind us all that we are and should think about ourselves as businesses.
The CDC recommends the following for employers/employees:
Some of the very best advice from the CDC for employers developing their infectious disease outbreak plan is as follows:
The CDC has some phenomenal resources for employees who travel both domestically and internationally. You can sign up for updates on Covid-19 and other alerts from the CDC. Click here to do so. When booking future travel, consider purchasing travelers insurance.
While the fear about Covid-19 and its impacts are concerning, it is a good reminder to ensure that our policies and procedures are current and up to date. It reinforced our need to develop our own contingency plan, which ensures best practices year-round.
In closing, we recommend the following steps to take in your preparedness efforts:
The Idaho Nonprofit Center would also like to thank the Nonprofit Association of Oregon for providing these additional resources/links:
Covid-19 has been constantly in the news lately. Often Idaho’s nonprofits are some of the first organizations to respond in the event of a crisis. With that in mind, below are a few links to resources nonprofits may find useful:
If there are other critical resource links Idaho nonprofits should be aware of, please e-mail email@example.com
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