The World Health Organization has officially declared the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) a global pandemic, impacting over 100 countries. Schools, libraries, local businesses and events are shut down until further notice. The situation is rapidly evolving, and it’s all too easy to feel a sense of urgency during this uncertain time. In this blog, we’ll share some public health best practices to keep you and your team safe, while looking ahead in preparation for the coming months. How is your nonprofit responding?
It’s up to us to reduce the spread of the virus by taking all necessary precautions. Many employers have instructed teams to work remotely, if possible – but if you must continue to work in an office for any reason, here are a few public health tips to implement immediately in the workplace.
- Monitor your symptoms. Dry cough, shortness of breath, and fever are all tell-tale signs of the virus. If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider immediately and do not come into work.
- Wash your hands regularly for 20-30 seconds. Sing a song in your head, and don’t skimp on those hard-to-reach spots. If soap and water is unavailable, reach for an alcohol-based hand sanitizer instead. Post signs in bathrooms and at entry points as reminders.
- Practice social distancing. Again, work from home if you can. If working from home is not an option, keep a distance of at least 6 feet away from co-workers and avoid close contact with friends or family that have fallen ill. Avoid gatherings of 10+ people if at all possible.
- Teleconferencing is your friend. Platforms like GoToMeeting, Zoom, Jabra, BlueJeans, and Google Hangouts are great resources to stay connected with your team and avoid non-essential travel.
- Disinfect everything. Wipe down communal surfaces daily, and keep your workstation clean and free of germs.
- Draft a policy and communicate it. Share a few of these essential public health tips, plus any additional housekeeping tips specific to your workspace and organization. Sharing your organization’s response to the outbreak demonstrates a strong sense of leadership through a time with so much uncertainty. Share your policy with your supporters through your primary channels – email, social, and text messaging. Update regularly as needed!
Keeping Programming Running
If your organization is unable to function remotely, do what you can to reduce exposure to vulnerable communities. We covered some #FlashFundraising basics on our blog earlier this week, but consider how you can share your story and fundraise what is necessary to fuel your mission during this trying time.
For example, Meals on Wheels People delivers hot meals to seniors in need, which is the community most vulnerable to this pandemic. They’ve included a prominent homepage call-out that showcases their fundraising goal of $250,000 to keep their programming up and running, while consistently communicating the precautions they’re taking across social and email.
With daily updates (if not hourly), stay connected and dialed in to the current CDC recommendations to best protect yourself and your community. Make adjustments as needed, should the situation shift at a moment’s notice. Dedicate a team member to check-in and provide daily updates so your team remains vigilant and ready to take virtual action when needed.
Optimize Your Online Presence
Providing your supporters with a reliable online donation process has never been more important. We’ve covered down on this topic before, from optimizing your donation page, to ensuring your email outreach is up to snuff.
Take advantage of the virtual resources and online fundraising platforms available to nonprofit organizations and turn your in-person fundraising event into a peer-to-peer or online fundraising campaign instead. Your supporters will understand.
Encourage digital participation by any means necessary – whether that be a virtual walk-a-thon, or a livestream that shares the next steps for your organization.
Social distancing does not mean isolation. We’re lucky to have technology at our fingertips that keeps us connected from the comfort of our couches. We’re all experiencing this crisis, and by leveraging communication tools, there’s no need to go through it alone.
Stay safe, stay strong, and take all necessary precautions in the interest of collective safety. We’re in this together.
- CDC Guidelines
- World Health Organization COVID-19 Procedures
- Chronicle of Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Recommendations for Nonprofits