COVID-19 was a kind of disaster most non-profits were not prepared for. As your organization recovers from this unusual event, do not let it become vulnerable to other, more common, threats. Every non-profit needs a formal disaster plan for such risks as a fire, natural disaster, or terrorist attack.
No organization can anticipate or eliminate all possible risks, but you can limit the damage of potential risks specific to your non-profit. The first step in creating a disaster plan is to identify the threats you face when it comes to your people, processes, and technology. For example, if you work with vulnerable populations such as children and the disabled, you may need to take extra precautions to protect your clients.
Also, assess what the damages would be if your operations were interrupted. For example, if you had an office fire — or even a long-lasting power outage — what would be the possible outcomes regarding property damage and financial losses?
Designate a lead person to oversee the creation and implementation of your continuity plan. Then, assemble teams to handle different duties. For example, a communications team could be responsible for contacting and updating staff, volunteers, and other stakeholders, as well as updating your website and social media accounts. Other teams might focus on:
- Safety and evacuation procedures
- Technology issues, including backing up data offsite
- Financial and insurance needs
Do not neglect planning for recovery or how your non-profit will get employees back to work and your office and services up and running. You may need to plan in phases that can be rolled out depending on the extent of the disaster’s damage.
Make a Plan
All organizations — non-profit and for-profit alike — need to think about potential disasters. But plans are critical for charities that provide basic human services (such as medical care, food, and housing) or that respond directly to disasters. This could mean mobilizing quickly, perhaps without full staffing, working computers, or safe facilities.
If you are not sure where to start with your disaster plan, contact us for more information.