Re-Opening Nonprofits During COVID-19 is Phoenicia Miracle’s insights on what charities should consider as they tackle re-opening during uncertain times. The following is based on her recent article titled: “Benchmark Disney: My First Ebook Guides Your Reopening!” Here’s what Phoenicia has to share: Without clear rules guiding charities on how to re-open, you’re responsible for making your own plan. Here’s some important considerations and ways to avoid some of the most common potential problems.
Follow the Rules:
- What is your State’s official position at this time?
- Do you have the most recent CDC guidelines for having public gatherings?
- How are other organizations in your sector re-engaging in your state?
- Who owns your COVID-19 plan? Who is responsible for writing and regularly updating your plan?
- Who’s ordering and stocking safety supplies?
- Do you have multiple buildings? Which are safest? Must all open now?
- Should you continue virtual services to expand your reach and conversations?
- Rotate small groups throughout large spaces. Ask people who come together to stay together.
Re-Opening Nonprofits During COVID-19
- Protect your staff by separating them from clients while maintaining ease of operations.
- Visible, scheduled disinfection of surfaces including doors, bathrooms, tables, and chairs. Remove waste regularly. (Who’s responsible for this?)
- Provide and/or require masks and/or gloves to staff and guests.
- Testing for staff. (Do you know where testing is provided, if needed?)
- Take staff temperatures prior to shift and guest temperatures at entrance. (Caution! Before you open, establish a written policy for denying entrance. Educate clients and staff.)
- Add hand washing and touch-free sanitizer stations in key places.
- Use paper plates, plastic eating ware and single-serve condiments for meetings.
- Discourage previously accepted practices such as greeting with a kiss, hug, or handshake. Discuss what you can do instead to convey warmth.
- Prepare to Proactively Communicate to donors and volunteers,
- Create, update, and share your master policy document with all staff. Client communication is then based on these policies. Clients Have a consistent message which builds confidence.
What to Avoid:
- Don’t wait until you’re asked what you’re doing about re-engaging.
- Don’t overwhelm with too much information at once.
- Don’t incite fear. (Show empathy).
- Print your policies. Keep hard copies. Post information in visible places.
- Include your board and staff in policy development. Educate your team so that your employees feel good about their work environment.
- Prepare to Proactively Communicate
- Use multiple strategies. Say it, repeat it.
- Let guests know that you’re taking steps to ensure their safety and peace of mind, even before you define the steps!
- Create, update, and share your master policy document with all staff. Client communication is then based on these policies. Clients hear a consistent message which builds confidence.
Consider Legal Liabilities:
Nonprofits should consider consulting with an attorney and their insurance provider to make sure that they have a full understanding of the risks associated with reopening to staff, stakeholders, volunteers, and members. Many organizations have been advised that existing policies do not cover circumstances related to an infectious disease or pandemic, which brings with it additional risks and liabilities that need to be fully understood.
For many nonprofit organizations, deciding when and how to reopen your organization’s space to employees or the public will be complex and nuanced. While in many organizations, this will be a CEO-led decision-making process, boards need to be ready and willing to serve as a sounding board to the CEO if needed. They also need to be ask good questions about how the CEO is weighing the need to resume programming and operations with the need to protect the safety and well-being of all who engage with their organization.
Be courageous, wise and safe!
Re-Opening Nonprofits During COVID-19 was derived from Phoenicia Miracle’s recent post “Benchmark Disney: My First Ebook Guides Your Reopening!”
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