Daily life has changed drastically as a result of COVID-19. Trips to the mall are a thing of the past, digital communications are more important than event, toilet paper has become a rare commodity, and there is a shared sense of anxiety over the state of the world.
Click on the below discussion questions to explore how our current lives have changed because of COVID-19, and what they are predicted to look like once the severity of the outbreak has subsided.
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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS FOR NONPROFITS:
Impact of COVID-19 on Nonprofits in the Greater Philadelphia Region By Counties Served (Mayor’s Policy Office)
- The purpose of the survey entitled Rapid Response: PHL Nonprofits and COVID-19 Survey is to help government officials and funders better understand how COVID-19 is impacting nonprofit organizations in the region.
- The findings will be used to tailor response efforts to support our nonprofit community and ensure those in greatest need can access critical resources.
- Essential front-line services (ex. homeless shelters, senior centers) cannot operate remotely and are at high risk for infection.
- Many nonprofits cannot survive a gap in service: “Our earlier analysis of nonprofits suggests that less than half of nonprofits have one month of operating reserves and less than six months of cash to keep them running.”
Nonprofits and Coronavirus, COVID-19 (Council of Nonprofits)
- Financial sustainability has become survivability for many nonprofits.
- Open communication between nonprofit staff, board and donors is key.
- Develop strong recovery plans and participate in public decision-making.
Pennsylvania’s Nonprofits are Fraying in the Face of the Coronavirus Onslaught (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- A survey of the impact of COVID-19 on Pennsylvania nonprofits highlights the inability of nonprofits to keep up with increasing demand for food, clothing, shelter, and other necessities as nonprofits suffer a heavy blow to their resources and budgets.
- Before refunding tickets for cancelled events, provide donors will the opportunity to donate their ticket purchase to your organization and/or COVID-19 response fund.
- Communicate more frequently with donors; let them know how COVID-19 is affecting your nonprofit and thank them for their support.
- This video outlines the benefits/drawbacks of the three ways your nonprofit can deal with COVID-19 events – to cancel, postpone or go virtual.
- The #1 advice offered is to continue fundraising and keeping in touch with your major donors.
Challenge our Thinking – Events Amid COVID-19 (Hilborn: Charity News)
- Get creative with how you deliver events! Go virtual using live streaming and online fundraising tools.
- Consider partnering with restaurants to bring revenue back into the local economy.
- Involve kept stakeholders (board, donors, volunteers) in the conversation and decision making surrounding fundraising.
- Use this opportunity to diversity your fundraising streams, ex. virtual gala, 5K walk/run, conference
Pro Tip | Your Unexpected Coronavirus Opportunity (Hilborn: Charity News)
- Take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen donor relations, test new ideas and programs, and build social media engagement.
- This crisis is pushing the world to go digital – don’t get left behind.
- “…in the post-COVID 19 world, the fundraising events will just not return to its old ways. The world will be fundamentally different.”
COVID-19 Fundraising Template for Nonprofits (DonorPerfect)
- Attract new supporters and grow your community through social media and email messaging.
Virtual Reality: Making an Online Fundraiser Connect with Donors (Upaya Social Ventures)
- A nonprofit in Seattle held a virtual fundraiser earlier in March after cancelling their in-person gala amid COVID-19 concerns, and ended up surpassing their initial goal with the virtual fundraiser (raising $295,000).
- Here are some tips for throwing a successful virtual fundraiser: be fun (ex. dress up like you would to attend an in-person gala), communicate often with your constituents, and don’t forget your vendors.
Nonprofit Finds Creative Way to Host 5K/10K Events Safely: Do It Virtually (Springfield News Leader)
- Instead of cancelling their race, organizers of the Sock & Undie Rundie are planning a virtual race where participants can run anytime and anywhere on race day.
- Washing Performing Arts shares lessons learned in turning a 600 person event into a live-streamed virtual gala.
- Not only does this organization provide insight into creating a successful virtual fundraiser, but their webinar is good model for how to set up virtual panels/discussion groups with your constituents.
Updated Daily: Help for Nonprofits During the Coronavirus and Uncertain Economic Times (Chronicle of Philanthropy)
- Free access to breaking-news updates on COVID-19’s impact on the nonprofit world.
Nonprofit Crisis Management: A Checklist (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
- This checklist can help your nonprofit manage during these unprecedented circumstances.
- Suggestions are made in key areas – program and service delivery, raising revenues, crisis communications, and more – to help your organization survive and be sustainable.
On-Demand Webinar: Managing Your Business Through a Crisis (Kreischer Miller)
- Three phases of managing a business (or nonprofit) through a crisis: (1) survive, (2) pivot/adapt, and (3) thrive.
- Survive: Explore government funding programs, develop a disaster plan, and explore new forms of communication.
- Pivot/Adapt: Asses past practices and explore new delivery models – use this opportunity to try something new.
- Thrive: Emerge a leader in your field after the crisis has passed by capitalizing on the strengths built up during the period of crisis and connecting with your audience over the shared experience.
It’s Different This Time: Handling Nonprofit Staff Cuts under COVID-19 (Nonprofit Quarterly)
- Approach staff reductions strategically: consider covering staff payroll through other revenue streams (ex. general operating funds), protect staff diversity, and research the options (furlough, layoff, or reduction in force).
A Call to Action: Philanthropy’s Commitment During COVID-19 (Council on Foundations)
- Nonprofits need to loosen or eliminate the restrictions on current grants, and make new grants as unrestricted as possible.
- In this time of need, nonprofits must commit to listening to our partners and especially those communities least heard.
- Additional resources: COVID-19 Resource Hub
Leading Your Nonprofit In a Time of Pandemic (GMM Nonprofit Consulting)
- Focus on staff needs and recognize that their primary concerns during this crisis will be personal (their own health, health of family members, child care disruptions, etc.).
- Review your organization’s plans for 2020: delay non-essential programs and projects, clarify priorities, and assess the risks of upcoming events.
Your Financial Readiness for COVID-19 (GMM Nonprofit Consulting)
- Determine your organization’s most essential objectives: “Will you prioritize retaining staff as long as possible, keeping the nonprofit in business, continuing to serve constituents or ensuring that the organization’s most important work survives?”
- Update your financial plan and prepare for a dynamic, ever-changing environment. Key resource: Model Cash Flow Projection
- Assess your organization’s money in the bank, income and expenses.
Not-for-Profit Management in the Time of Coronavirus (SunTrust Bank)
- Assess your current cash coverage and plan to conserve during this crisis.
- Be an informed leader during this crisis by sharing reliable and diverse resources about COVID-19, communicating regularly to staff, board and donors about the crisis, and maintaining a strong presense on social media.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Plan (Nonprofit New York)
- Business continuity and disaster recovery plans help organizations outline potential disasters they may face and determine what to do in case of the disasters.
- Download the template here.
Hard Times, Hard Decisions: 7 Things Small and Midsize Charities Should Do When a Recession Looms (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
- Consider what revenue lines could be vulnerable & keep executives in the know with a monthly cash flow spreadsheet.
- Identify what economic conditions (location, field of work, etc.) affect your donors.
- Determine what’s essential to your organization’s mission, tighten up and plan conservatively.
Coping With Cutbacks: The Nonprofit Guide to Success When Times Are Tight (available on Amazon)
Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak: A Curated Guide to Help Nonprofits (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
COVID-19 Tools and Resources for Nonprofits (Nonprofit Finance Fund)
COVID-19 Resources for Nonprofits (BKD CPAs & Advisors)
Coronavirus Impacting Your Nonprofit? Here’s What to Do (Network for Good)
- Create new ways to communicate and engage with your supporters, ex. video and phone calls. Now is the time to strengthen relationships.
Crisis Communications for Coronavirus/COVID-19 (5W Public Relations)
- Identify your crisis team’s assignments and roles; staff members might have to take on new roles during a crisis.
- Develop a digital communications plan (social media, email marketing, video messaging).
- Hold weekly/bi-weekly/monthly video or phone calls with your team (via Zoom, WebEx, etc.).
- Prioritize the most important tasks pertaining to the crisis and realize that items on your pre-crisis to-do list may no longer be revelant.
- Be bold.
- The board should assess the current and future impact that COVID-19 will have on the economy, the organization, staff members, and the community.
- The board should work with the staff to develop a plan that will help the organization get through this crisis.
Nonprofit Governance: Coronavirus and COVID-19 (Neo Law Group)
- The most important roles of the board during this crisus are to direct, oversee, and protect.
- Board members should ask donors for additional funding to address the crisis and/or to modify current funding to address this crisis.
CARES Act Benefits for Small Businesses & Tax-Exempt Organizations (Council on Foundations)
Funding for Coronavirus (COVID-19) (Candid)
Where can I find emergency financial resources to help with COVID-19 hardships? (Grantspace – Candid)
ADDITIONAL DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
- Isolation is more difficult for some disabled people because they need regular, hands-on help from other people to do everyday self-care tasks.
- Access to healthcare and medical supplies is a major concern for some people with chronic health conditions.
A New COVID-19 Crisis: Domestic Abuse Rises Worldwide (New York Times)
- “…domestic abuse is acting like an opportunistic infection, flourishing in the conditions created by the pandemic.”
- Governments largely failed to prepare for the way social isolation would create opportunities for abusers to terrorize their victims, even though this surge in domestic violence was expected to happen.
Home Is Not A Safe Place For Everyone (Huffpost)
- Domestic violence shelters around the world have experience a surge in reports of domestic violence.
- Social distancing allows abusers to cut their victims off even further from work, family and friends, their only avenues of escape and support.
- With more and more schools moving to online education, low-income students in rural and urban areas are restricted by their lack of access to digital devices at home.
- Some organizations are addressing this digital divide by lending internet-enabled devices to students who otherwise have no way of accessing online education.
- While many colleges consider themselves the “great equalizer” for economic, this pandemic is exposing the stark realities for many college students.
- Some students are back home, struggling with their family to make it through this economic disaster. Others were unable to afford tickets back home before flights got cancelled and borders closed.
The Inequality Virus: How the Pandemic Hit America’s Poorest (The Guardian)
- This outbreak exposes the inequality between white-collar workers – who are able to work remotely, have paid sick leave and health insurance – and another class of workers who are at a higher risk of exposure but do not have the same protections.
- Many workers have little choice but to go on working, even if they show symptoms, because of a lack of paid sick leave; this inequality increases the likelihood of the virus spreading.
We’ll See Many More COVID-19 Deaths in Prisons if Barr and Congress Don’t Act Now (The Washington Post)
- COVID-19 is rapidly spreading in prisons because of overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, communal living, and inadequate medical care.
- In additional, a huge portion of incarcerated people are 60 years or older and/or have chronic medical conditions, making them more vulnerable to the virus.
- The CARES Act granted the attorney general the authority to rapidly transfer vulnerable people to home confinement; however, he failed to use this lifesaving authority.
Including Immigrants and Refugees In Our Response to COVID-19 (Philanthropy Network)
- “While the virus doesn’t discriminate, the systems in this country do discriminate.”
- We need to support relief funds and nonprofits that are inclusive to immigrants and refugees, those who are particularly vulnerable in this crisis.
For Immigrant Funders, Today’s Priority is Direct Relief. What About Tomorrow? (Inside Philanthropy)
- While efforts are increasing to support undocumented immigrants through what some call the “undocufund movement,” individuals and organizations may want to consider contributions that will aid immigrants well into the future.
- “…many Americans don’t even know if they are infected with COVID-19 because they are scared to go to the hospital and receive free tests and treatment that may saddle them with debt that could take years to pay off.” (Rashad Robinson, President of Color Of Change)
- Robinson explains that the pandemic increases the likelihood of black voter suppression in the upcoming election and an undercount of black communities in the 2020 Census.
Women of Color Will Save Us All (Erin Trent Johnson)
- “I believe we are on the brink of a paradigm shift — a new world order. Covid-19 is killing vulnerable bodies; fomenting fear and paranoia and xenophobia, and exposing the most gross inequities in these systems. It will shed light on those who are often invisible and silenced in society.”
- “For these times, I believe women of color entrepreneurs will have the necessary tools, talents, and skills to build a new paradigm [because]… we do often center the needs of others, without centering our most essential needs for care, creativity, and adaptation.”
Asian-American Leaders Condemn COVID-19 Racism (Colorlines)
- Asian Americans leaders condemn the racist diction surrounding COVID-19 – ex. referring to it as the Chineses Virus – as hate crimes against Asian Americans are reported in cities around the U.S.
Trump’s Racist Response to COVID-19 Endangers All Americans, Including Immigrants (Southern Poverty Law Center)
- Despite detention centers being high-risk places for the spread of COVID-19, “ICE is failing to take necessary steps to stem the spread of the virus inside its detention centers.”
- ICE’s approach to the COVID-19 pandemic enables the further spread of the virus, threatening the whole country:
- Those detained have no ability to social distance themselves, practice good hygiene, or to access basic needs during this crisis, like hand sanitizer.
- ICE’s presence in communities discourages immigrants from seeking medical help and treatment, if needed.
Foundations and Nonprofits See Crisis as Opportunity to Advance Equity (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
Advocacy for Nonprofit Missions (Council of Nonprofits)
Equity at the Center of Philanthropy’s Response to COVID-19 (Council of Michigan Foundations)
- Possible outcomes: older people/vulnerable people are going to leave cities for their health and safety, cities will become more affordable for younger people, and a divide might occur between ‘safe’ areas of the cities (wealthy; not infected) and ‘unsafe’ areas.
- The article highlights the community efforts taking place in cities to combat COVID-19: “social distancing has, ironically, drawn some of us closer than ever before.”
- Social monitoring technologies (cameras, drones and security systems) will become more common.
- “If anything, the coronavirus pandemic has underscored the importance of listening to the experts and scientists.” Satellite images are showing lower levels of pollution as a result of reduced industrial manufacturing and public transport.
How the Pandemic Will End (The Atlantic)
- Three possible endgames: (1) every nation manages to simultaneously control the outbreak, (2) COVID-19 continues spreading at a rapid rate and leaves behind enough immune survivors that it eventually struggles to find viable hosts, likely leaving millions dead and health systems devastated, or (3) the world contains outbreaks here and there until a vaccine can be produced.
- The aftermath: the economy will be in shock and mental-health problems will spike (fueled by collective anxiety, racial discrimination, ageism); however, pandemics can also be a catalyst for social change.
We Can’t Shelter in Place Forever: How the Coronavirus Lockdown Might End (Los Angeles Times)
- There will need to be a drastic reduction in the number of new COVID-19 infections confirmed each day AND testing capacity must increase drastically before current restrictions are relaxed.
- “….we will probably live in a hybrid reality for several months — not quite lockdown conditions, yet not quite normalcy.”
- “It is possible that masks will become the new seat belts.”
- Bill Gates offers insights into the COVID-19 pandemic, stressing the importance of testing and self-isolation, discussing which medical advancements show promise, and predicting what it will take for the world to endure this crisis.
- Our world has changed immensely in the last few weeks but amid the upheaval and distress, there are reasons to believe we can emerge from the crisis with some human qualities enhanced, writes Matthew Syed.
- COVID-19 has prompted a huge cultural shift to digital platforms, a shift that will likely remain in a post-COVID world.
- After the severity of the pandemic subsides, we might see a continued shift to renewable energy, public transport and home energy efficiency OR a fossil fuel frenzy that followed the banking crisis.
The World After This (Vice)
- COVID-19 has show us how things need to change in the future for the betterment of our whole society:
- Free and universal healthcare
- Abolishment of ICE detention centers and restructuring of our prison system (both which have proven huge public health risks)
- Protection for all workers in the form of paid sick leave and healthcare
- Protection of our environment/climate (with manufacturing down and less cars on the roads, pollution has decreased significantly all over the world)
- This article takes a look at how COVID-19 will change our sense of community, our use of technology, the health/science fields, local and national government, the way elections are conducted, the global economy and our daily lifestyle.
In Canada, an Inspiring Movement Emerges in Response to the Coronavirus (The Washington Post)
- Caremongers are coming together to form networks, many organized via social media, to support their communities.
- When faced with crisis, we tend to look for community solidarity; however, once the crisis is over and we reset to ‘normal life’ once again, social tensions resurface and sometimes harden
Sensing and Shaping the Post-COVID Era (BCG Henderson Insitute)
- History shows that deep societal crisis reshapes our beliefs and behaviors, paving the way for new policies, ways of working, and consumer patterns.
- Its predicted that the post-COVID will put more emphasis on crisis preparedness, systems resilience, social inequality, social solidarity, and access to health care.
How Can We Emerge from the Pandemic with the Journalism We Need? (Nonprofit Quarterly)
- This article explores how journalism has shifted in the face of disruption and how it can continue to transform to foster participation in civic life.
Scaling Economic Solidarity: The Pandemic, Nonprofits, and Power (Nonprofit Quarterly)
- While nonprofits are currently aiding disaster relief, America needs to start thinking about the long term.
- Economic solidarity can not be limited to the nonprofits.
The Darkside of Social Distancing (Stroud Courier)
- While necessary for the safety of our whole country, social distancing is having a huge impact on the mental health of so many people.
- Hear from one college student about her dark experience social distancing with constant feelings of isolation, “Not everyone has great support groups and not everyone feels comfortable reaching out. As we all go through this time of change and awareness, we need to pay more attention to our actions and less on what we may claim to do for others.”
- Observation #1: We are thinking ahead even more than usual, and coming up with creative alternatives (ex. making our own cleaning products).
- Observation #2: Some people’s fear reduces their empathy and becomes an excuse for impoliteness, anger, and downright discourtesy. Not the kinder, gentler society we have been striving for.
- Observation #3: Some elderly still crave touch and contact but have to be protected even more.
- Observation #4: We might struggle realizing if human contact/kindness will be welcomed or rejected. Will we no longer hold the door open for others? Will we no longer help those we see struggling? Or if we do, will those actions be condemned?
- Observation #5: When the ‘all clear’ is given for businesses/organizations to reopen their doors, who will return to absorb culture on a first-hand basis and who will prefer to engage from afar? Can both groups be served? Do organizations with limited resources have the ability to tailor engagement or delivery in multiple ways to meet the differing preferences of the community they serve?
- Observation #6: All indicators suggest a major recession is coming. We know this will create a major hardship for many in our community, How do we ensure people who lose their jobs and homes due to economic downturn can support their families?