FPLG COVID-19 RESPONSE
[UPDATE: June 25, 2020]
A key question for each organization is how to plan – if, indeed, planning is even possible in the face of massive and unprecedented uncertainty.
But the experts diverge on the best approach. Some experts advise doubling down on the “strategic planning” that many nonprofits have adopted. Others say that “scenario planning” is the only logical choice in the current volatile circumstances.
“The goal, nonprofit leaders need to remind themselves, is not necessarily the survival of their individual organizations, but ensuring ongoing services and support for their constituents.” That’s why many more groups than usual are at least considering merger or collaboration possibilities.
And now that all states are “reopening” in phased stages, the planning issues facing nonprofits around the nation have become considerably more complex. Also, because of starkly rising infection rates, there may be a slowing of these reopenings or even retrenchment back to an earlier, more closed-up operational situation.
[March 31, 2020]
Nonprofit organizations must take important steps now to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and – as much as possible – plan for the near future and their ultimate survivability. There are several essential steps:
- Review finances and, particular, the cash position
- Assess damage to revenue streams
- Determine where reduced operations will cut expenses, or where government programs or emergency loans or benefits may help
- Review all policies, procedures, and insurance coverage
- Review all grants and contracts: in certain cases, a “force majeure” (Act of God) clause may be in effect that will excuse performance or eliminate penalties
Some organizations have business continuity plans in place but even those may turn out to be inadequate in light of the catastrophic events we face. For the many other groups without advance plans and policies in place, the task will be more daunting – but necessary.
Experts concur on one important point: Communicate regularly and consistently with everyone inside or outside the organization, including donors and funders.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Ask an Expert: Starting the Merger Conversation in a Crisis (June 17, 2020) Eden Stiffman, The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Nonprofit Leaders, Get Used to the Uncertainty and Focus on the Big Picture (June 15, 2020) Alan M. Cantor, The Chronicle of Philanthropy
Nonprofit Innovation for a Post-Crisis Future (June 10, 2020) Nithin Iyengar & Reilly Kiernan, The Bridgespan Group
- COVID-19’s Impact on Nonprofits’ Revenues, Digitization, and Mergers (June 4, 2020) David La Piana, Stanford Social Innovation Review
Executive Session: Rebooting and Managing After COVID-19 (Video Webinar) (May 2020) Paul Clolery, The NonProfit Times
Nonprofit Strategy Guide for When the Economy Reopens (May 18, 2020) Howard Levy, Nonprofit Pro Blog
Are Nonprofits Ready to Reopen? What Do We Need? (May 14, 2020) Martin Levine, The Nonprofit Quarterly
COVID-19: Failures Jump When Planning Isn’t In Place (May 14, 2020) Melissa Ouari, The NonProfit Times
Is Your Crisis Response Defensive or Proactive? (May 13, 2020) Rachael Noyes, INSEAD Knowledge
Financial Leadership: Making Good Decisions in Unprecedented Times (May 11, 2020) Jeanne Bell & Nonprofit Quarterly, The Nonprofit Quarterly
5 ways smart nonprofits can soar over COVID-19 and into the future (May 8, 2020) Andrea Kihlstedt, Candid Blog
- Proactive, Not Perfect, Scenario Planning: A Short Guide for Our Times (May 5, 2020) Kate Barr, The Nonprofit Quarterly
- Going Forward: Best Practices and Considerations for Nonprofit Re-engagement (May 4, 2020) Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits
Three Things Nonprofits Should Prioritize in the Wake of COVID-19 (April 30, 2020), Amy Celep, Megan Coolidge & Lori Bartczak, Stanford Social Innovation Review
- A Year of Budget Revisions Lies Ahead for Many Nonprofits (April 24, 2020) Ruth McCambridge, The Nonprofit Quarterly
Quickly Revise Your Nonprofit’s Strategic Plan With These 3 Steps (April 23, 2020) Jarrett Ransom, MBA, Bloomerang
Are You Responding or Reacting? (April 20, 2020) Lindsay Tallman, BoardSource Blog
Planning during COVID: creating a strategic plan, even now (April 16, 2020) Doug Schneider, Philanthropy Daily
Should Your Nonprofit Engage in Strategic Planning During Uncertain Times? No: Here’s 3 Steps to Take Instead (April 14, 2020) Ted Bilich, Risk Alternatives
- 3 Nonprofit Types under COVID-19—and What They Must Come to Terms With (April 3, 2020) Ruth McCambridge, The Nonprofit Quarterly
Crisis Funding and Debt: What Organizations Need to Know (April 2, 2020) Sandi McKinley and Avichai Scher, Nonprofit Finance Fund
- Sustainability to Survivability: Nonprofit Finance Must-Do’s in the Time of COVID (March 19, 2020) Steve Zimmerman, Spectrum Nonprofit Services, The Nonprofit Quarterly
- Q&A on COVID-19 (March 18, 2020) Suzanne Smith, Social Impact Architects
- How Nonprofit Organizations Can Mitigate Risk in Light of Coronavirus Pandemic (March 17, 2020) Partridge Snow & Hahn, LLP
- Coronavirus & business continuity planning (March 2020) Cindy Leonard, Nonprofit Consultant
- COVID-19: What Nonprofits Should Do Right Now (March 13, 2020) The Nonprofit Finance Fund
- Nonprofit Insurance and COVID-19 (March 10, 2020) Emily Cote, New York Council of Nonprofits