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COVID-19 Care Checklist for Nonprofits

by Kelly McCormack

Feeling overwhelmed? You are not alone. Just keeping up with the information is a full-time job. To help, here is a suggested checklist: 

To support your employees

  • Ask how everyone is doing. Make it clear that everyone’s health–physical and mental–is your top priority. Communicate clearly about organizational policies and practices as they evolve.
  • Establish regular check-ins with any staff working remotely, such as a daily email with key priorities/FAQs or a daily/regular conference call or online meeting.
  • Modify your leadership to adapt to the new circumstances. The Chronicle of Philanthropy has compiled an extensive list of useful resources.
  • In the case that you need to make temporary layoffs, know that nonprofit employees are often eligible for unemployment insurance (though there are some important nuances). Find information on our website here.

To support your organization

  • Update your board. Make sure they know what you’re doing and how they can help. They may be able to help you divide and conquer on some of the other items on this list.
  • Fill out an SBA Disaster Recovery Loan application. Yes, this is available to eligible nonprofits. You may not be certain yet if you’ll need the money and can decide to not take the money even if the loan is approved, but it’s being suggested that getting in line may be helpful. The application is lengthy and requires quite a bit of financial and tax data. Apply here.
  • Review expenses and check in with vendors. Figure out which non-essential recurring bills, subscriptions, and services you can shut off. Push off future orders for materials. Check with your vendors and landlords to determine if they have any flexibility to waive or defer payments.
  • Check in with your funders. Do your philanthropic partners have flexibility to allow you to redirect restricted funds? Update corporate sponsors on your plans, and if necessary, ask if they are willing to have their sponsorship dollars directed to other purposes.
  • Contact your financial institution to inquire about the possibility of receiving a loan, restructuring current loans, delaying payments, receiving information on loans for employees, and other available support.
  • Shift your mindset from sustainability to survivability and understand what your organization must to do achieve that in five must-dos from Nonprofit Quarterly.
  • Clearly promote your needs. While some donors may be just as affected as you are, others are looking to help. Make sure your website/social media have a clear way for folks to know how to help, whether that be by making a donation or dropping off supplies.
  • Stay updated. Watch MANP’s blog, newsletter and COVID-19 webpage for nonprofit-specific news and the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (MDECD) is also encouraging all employers to sign up for the state information data exchange system.

To support your community

  • Practice safe hygiene. The greatest gift one can provide those around them is doing their part to prevent the spread of disease. Experts advise that social distancing is essential, but that doesn’t mean social isolation. Stay connected online, wave at your neighbors, post your children’s art on your door for your postal worker!
  • Adapt programs. Learn about moving events, programs and meetings online – MANP has resources on our COVID-19 webpage.
  • Keep communicating. Keep your members/donors/volunteers posted on your organization’s status whether via email, social media or phone calls. If they invest in your mission, they’ll want to know how you are. And don’t be afraid to ask for help!
  • The show must go on! So many of you are coming up with some super creative ideas on how to stay connected – daily writing prompts, virtual programming and classes, e-galleries, live streamed performances – we’re all glued to our screens right now, so what better time to engage everyone from afar!
  • Complete the 2020 Census. Yes, this is still happening and it’s live! Nonprofits are working to ensure everyone in their communities are counted so that appropriate federal funds are distributed to local schools, roads and other public services. It’s never been easier to complete the census by mail, online or by phone.

To support yourself

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