Staying Afloat; Managing Risk

Covid-19 Info Banner for CC - 3-19-20 - D&A

We are starting to hear a lot about business continuity plans (BCPs). These are an essential part of an overall risk management strategy and can provide a roadmap for remaining operational during a crisis. While many might think this is closing the barn door after the horses have escaped, it still might be prudent to take stock if you have 90 seconds to think about it. According to the Nonprofit Risk Management Center the four building blocks of a BCP are:

  1. A communications plan that identifies all your constituents, what you need to tell them, how to deliver the message and how frequently you should update them.
  2. A list of “Must Do’s” — what your organization needs to keep doing so you can provide vital services or just keep things afloat (these can be as simple as processing payroll or moving to a remote workers policy; or an all-out effort to safely engage volunteers).
  3. Which programs and services must continue and which should you suspend. Within the context of COVID-19, what programs are vital for the welfare of your clients (i.e., food, transportation, healthcare) and which ones could put your community or your staff needlessly at risk. Then consider how will you provide those vital services safely over a period of time?
  4. Finally, how will you resume business once things have stabilized? Yes, this will be over at some point and you should have a plan on how you will resume services and continue your mission going forward.

Skip The Event: Raise More Money

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A Note from Sharon Danosky

Your donors want to support you. Period. They don’t need an event. But they might need a reason and they need to understand what you are going through and what you need.

If you are currently cancelling or postponing your event this is the perfect time to pick up the phone and talk to your event sponsors. Let them know how much you depend on their sponsorship support and ask them if they will contribute the sponsorship even if you are unable to schedule the event. Do the same thing with people who have reserved tables. You can even send out a request to all those who have or would have purchased tickets.

Let your sponsor/donor know how you are coping. Share what you are seeing on the ground; talk about your efforts to keep your own employees working and what they are doing during the crisis. Bring them into your world and help them understand.  Invite them to check in with you periodically. Let them know how you were able to raise the needed funds without the event because everyone pitched in.

Stay Safe, Don’t Panic; Stay the Course: Nonprofits are Mighty Resilient

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This Article by Jon Pratt and Kari Aanestand just published in the NonProfit Quarterly sheds some interesting light on how nonprofits actually fared during the last recession. Turns out – not so bad and a lot better than business. Here is an excerpt. The link to the full article is below.

“Steady employment growth held true across all nonprofit activity areas during the recession, with a 7 percent growth over five years.7 Business employment dropped by 6 percent in 2009—a loss of 6.4 million jobs—a year in which nonprofit employment grew by 1.5 percent.

The top-line story here is that most parts of the nonprofit sector saw no reduction in overall financial resources, and actually grew throughout this period. Analysis of IRS Form 990 filings from 2003 to 2015 shows changes in total revenue over time in the ten major activity areas—and, separately, colleges and universities and hospitals, which are analyzed separately because they have such a distinct financial footprint. While some activity areas experienced fluctuations in the recession years (such as human services, which saw a 2 percent increase in total revenue from 2008 to 200911), in most cases nonprofits saw a modest single-year reduction and a following-year recovery.12

The irony is that businesses were hit the hardest in the last recession, and nonprofits generally did well. The advice “be more like businesses” caused some in the sector to pivot unnecessarily, and at their peril”.

CLICK HERE for the article.

How Can Board Members be Part of the Solution?

Covid-19 Info Banner for CC - 3-19-20 - D&A

By Sharon Danosky

During this crisis every board and every board member should be stepping up to help the nonprofit they serve weather the storm and stay on course. While conventional wisdom might suggest letting the professionals handle the day to day – there is a significant role board members should play. Each of the tasks delineated below might be accomplished by a subset of board members. The first things that should happen is for the Board Chair to call a virtual meeting, assess the overall situation and then discuss and assign the following components: [Read more…]

Are You Prepared for COVID-19?

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During times of crisis, nonprofits must often take on much more than their share of the burden. As we all prepare for dealing with the disruptions caused by COVID-19, I thought I would share this excellent Guide sent out by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network – with language taken from the Maine Association of Nonprofits. Here are some things to consider. [Read more…]