Responding to the Coronavirus Outbreak: Resources to Help Nonprofits

By Margie Fleming Glennon 


Whether you are guiding staff about travel or remote work arrangements, wonderingwhat other groups are doing in response to Covid-19, fielding donors’ questions about your nonprofit’s response or the impact on planned events, or worrying that the virus will dampen your fundraising, it’s a lot to handle. e, help you plan swiftly, and keep you focused on your most pressing priorities. 

If you know of a resource we should include, please share it with me.

How to Manage, Lead, and Communicate

Leading During a Pandemic
A free online town hall meeting hosted by Independent Sector on Friday, March 20 at 2 p.m. Eastern will offer advice on how to make sound decisions for “staff, volunteers, and the communities we serve.” Designed for heads of organizations and top executives, but all are welcome. 

Coronavirus Advice for Nonprofit Leaders
By Sara Gibson, CEO, 20 Degrees. Includes tips for communicating during a crisis, strengthening financial resilience, preparing for disruptions to operations, and planning long-term in the wake of the virus. Three Quick Tips on Crisis Management for Nonprofit Leaders
By Alex Counts. Includes advice on managing your trustee relationships in a crisis.How to Use Scenario Planning to Prepare for Covid-19By Trista Harris. Advice for charities and foundations. Iincludes a simple tool for conducting a brainstorming session about possible future challenges and opportunities.

Business Continuity Plan TemplateA sample business continuity and disaster recovery plan to help nonprofits manage a disruption in operations. Provided by Nonprofit New York and temporarily free to non-members.

No Business Continuity Plan? Take These 4 Steps
The Nonprofit Risk Management Center offers a simple “quick-start framework” to use when your nonprofit faces an interruption to its operations.
HR Resources for Responding to Covid-19 Advice from NonprofitHR, including immediate steps to take to safeguard your workforce now and beyond the COVID-19 season, plus three free town halls:

  • March 16 Town Hall on Covid-19 preparation 
  • March 23  Town Hall on Employee Benefits (sick leave, the Family Medical Leave Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Family-First Covid Response Act)
  • March 30 Town Hall on developing remote workforce policies 

What Nonprofit Board Members Should Be Doing Right Now to Address the COVID-19 Situation
By Joy Folkedal and Lindsay Tallman, BoardSource Blog. Trustees should provide steady leadership that is adaptive and supports the CEO.

Chronicle Resources

Communicating in a Crisis
How to put people and plans in place ahead of time so you can respond swiftly in the event of a natural disaster, tragedy, or bruising investigation. 

What To Do When Your Cause Is in the Spotlight: Lessons From the Amazon Fires
Rainforest-preservation and indigenous-rights groups saw a spike in donations and interest when fires in Brazil drew the world’s attention. What can your nonprofit learn from their experience?

10 Tips for a Better Crisis Communications Strategy
Nonprofit and crisis experts offer guidance on how to communicate effectively during a crisis.

How Charities Can Make Working From Home Work for Everyon
Nonprofit leaders who have virtual offices share advice such as:  establish guidelines, apply rules consistently, respect boundaries, adapt to technology as it develops, stay flexible, and more. 

Hard Times, Hard Decisions: 7 Things Small and Midsize Charities Should Do When a Recession Looms
With economists warning of an economic downturn, nonprofits and experts talk about what charities should do now to weather the storm.

Tips for Leading Your Team Through Stressful Times
Experts advise facing sources of stress head on and communicating frequently with colleagues about how you plan to address them.


Nonprofit Fundraising Events during Coronavirus – Virtual? Cancel? Postpone?
A video by charity auctioneer Abra Annes who offers advice on what to consider and how to make the call to cancel your fundraising event. Thanks to @AlexCounts for the recommendation.  

Tips for Deciding Whether to Hold or Cancel a Fundraising Event
By Swaim Strategies. Advice on how to assess the risks of holding an event, important messages to convey clearly, and how to decide whether to cancel or reschedule.

Market Drops and Crisis: Fundraising Lessons and Your Lighthouse
By John Pepperdine, principal, Making Philanthropy Work Strategies. Lessons from the Great Recession and the terrorism attacks of 2001 to inform your major-gift strategies in a time of crisis.

Chronicle Resources

5 Ways to Raise Money When Donors Are Consumed by Nonstop News
Don’t give up just because your cause isn’t the topic of the moment.

Why Fundraisers Should Take the Long View
Being patient and keeping all donors informed can result in big rewards. 

Technology Solutions and Remote Work

A Good Time to Get Good at Virtual Meetings
By Kristen Grimm, president of Spitfire. 12 tips for convening effective virtual meetings. Thanks to Nancy Jones @ThePossProj for the recommendation. 

Nonprofit Resources for Remote Work During the Covid-19 Outbreak
Published by Tech Soup. Includes options that can be implemented relatively quickly, with little or no external tech support to keep communication flowing and foster collaboration while staff members work remotely.

Understanding Videoconferencing Tools Available to Your Nonprofit
Published by Tech Soup. Includes a side-by-side comparison of different tools.


Chronicle Resources
Staying Healthy While Doing Good: Managing Stress in a Nonprofit Job
Tips for being productive at the office while preserving work-life balance.