Updated: Mar 16, 2020
COVID-19 is impacting every sector and industry. If you're working in the social good space (non-profit or corporate social responsibility) you've not been immune. Non-profits are experiencing a decrease in volunteer engagement as would-be volunteers "social distance" themselves. Major fundraising events are being cancelled, eliminating streams of revenue for essential programs. Business is screeching to a halt. Companies are turning inward seeking solutions to expand benefits for employees while minimizing risk as they hemorrhage money. For the hardest hit companies this means spending cuts, hiring freezes and layoffs.
Incredibly tough decisions are being made. I won't pretend I have the answers. I too am just a small boat just weathering the storm. That said, I've bundled some resources I feel strongly should be shared with leaders in the social good space. As non-profits continue to serve their community it's incredibly important they do so in the smartest way. But the same goes for funders and volunteers. This is a time the non-profit sector most needs your support. But this too requires you to serve smartly. The below resources should help you through your decision making (whatever you end up doing).
For non-profit organizations serving the community.
National Council of Non-profits - Nonprofits and Coronavirus, COVID-19: COVID-19 is creating an evolving situation with varied impacts around the world and across the states. The National Council of Non-profits will be updating this page regularly with the latest information and resources that nonprofits can use to prepare and respond...
For major funders (Foundations) providing monetary contributions for non-profits.
FSG Reimagining Social Change - COVID-19—Seven Things Philanthropy Can Do: As governments, businesses, and individuals scramble to respond to the threat of a COVID-19 pandemic, those who work in the social sector rightly ask what philanthropy can do to effectively contribute. Here are seven things foundations can do...
For companies (and CSR) whose employees want to volunteer in their community.
Points of Light - Employee Volunteering When You Can’t Serve In-Person: Planning for the impacts of COVID-19 on communities, employees and business operations has been an added focus for most employers over the last several weeks. In the civic engagement sector, leaders have been asked to plan alternatives, postpone or cancel planned volunteer experiences for workers in response to limits on travel and event attendance. With the focus on the health and safety of staff and partners, how do you balance your purpose work?...
While I can't prescribe what decisions you make, this is what I'll leave you with. If you're in a position of leadership first ensure you can take care of your most immediate employees regardless of your sector. Regardless of where you fit within the social good space, if you can't help yourself, you can't help others.
Secondly, if you work in CSR or philanthropy, know that your community partners need you. Just as you would design programming to support your employees, I urge you to think hard about your community partners who may also need you in this trying time. If you're in a position to continue funding and volunteering, please do so. This may require that you think about virtual forms of volunteerism and giving as they're made available.
Have that conversation with your community partners as their essential services might depend on it.
Lastly, if your organization (or company) is experiencing a disruption but found creative means to continue providing support, let me know. I'd love to hear about what you're doing so that others may learn from your successes. Also, if you know of additional resources to share, by all means share them so that I may share more broadly. Or if you're seeking some creative guidance on how to best support community partners contact me, I may able to assist.
In the meantime wash them hands, follow the CDC guidance and stay Responsible AF!