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Not-For-Profit & COVID-19 Impact

March 17, 2020
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As we continue to push through the uncertainty surrounding what is becoming the “newer normal” in light of COVID-19, aka the Coronavirus, our thoughts remain with you, your families, and friends. The Coronavirus continues to be evolving daily and has already significantly impacted many industries, including not-for-profits. All not-for-profits can expect to face many new challenges in the upcoming weeks as result of the pandemic.

In times like these, the public is often reminded of the critical role that not-for-profits play in our local community and country. While not-for-profits implement their crisis management plans, a few considerations to keep your organization healthy may include:

  • Focus On Your Mission: Reaffirm your mission and impact in order to fully engage your donors and stakeholders. Let them know how the not-for-profit, and the constituents it serves, are being impacted by the Coronavirus. Not-for-profits will undoubtedly need to evolve in their ability to respond as the COVID-19 impact shifts over time. Government and health agencies are routinely communicating new recommendations and measures to be taken. As such, a not-for-profit must closely monitor how these actions will impact their operations and ability to service its communities, both locally and internationally.

  • Utilize Technology: A virtual workforce initiative is now being required for many not-for-profits. While this is an alternative for many, some not-for-profits may not be able to execute fully, based on the population it serves. However, those that can must seek out innovative ways to engage and communicate with its employees. Just as important, not-for-profits should focus on leveraging their social media or other virtual platforms in order to assist in fundraising for its mission. 

  • Financial Management: Since the issuance of recent accounting standards, many not-for-profits and boards have discussed the need for measurements surrounding sustainability and liquidity. With the investment markets on the decline, potential delays in government funding, and donor fundraising challenges, the need for and accessibility to liquid reserves may never have been greater. We encourage not-for-profits and their boards to seek out cash flow infusion and liquidity tools, such as insurance from business interruption or lines of credit, to aid you in this difficult time. Once this pandemic has settled and a return to normalcy occurs, a renewed focus and strategy for the rebuilding of liquid reserves utilized should be discussed and implemented for future unforeseen occurrences. 

  • Conferences & Live Events: Many not-for-profits are trying to decide if they should still have their future live events, such as fundraising galas or member conferences, or simply cancel. There are many questions that must be taken into consideration, such as when will the event take place, where will the event be held, are there exhibitors, and is travel required? Communication with your development department, planning committee, venue provider, and insurance carriers is essential. While you review your strategies, be sure to keep event partners and participants apprised of your plans as the information will likely enhance their trust in your organization.

  • Inspire: Board and executive management must work together even more now than in the past to demonstrate the ability to lead during these challenging times. The ability to calm the fears and pressures of your employees, as well as those in your respective communities, is necessary to continue to maintain the mission of the not-for-profit. Stay connected to your employees, donors, and third-party institutions and seek ways to support, and to be supported by, them in times of crisis.

Conclusion
Citrin Cooperman remains committed to ensuring we do our part to get our employees and you through this as seamlessly as possible. We have taken the necessary steps, as have many others with the implementation of a virtual work model, to ensure the safety of our people, clients, and communities at large. However, please know that we are still available, as always, to assist and support you in these challenging times.