Friends of The Bridgespan Group,
In recent days, many of you have reached out with a host of questions about how best to respond and plan during this unprecedented time. In this brief newsletter, we’ve gathered resources to help inform the critical choices you’re making. We also share a few perspectives from nonprofit leaders dealing with the impact of the coronavirus in hard-hit Seattle, in hopes that you may glean insight from the steps they’ve taken, and that funders may gain a window into the growing challenges these vital organizations are facing.
How Nonprofits Are Managing Through the COVID-19 Pandemic: Reports from Seattle
In Washington State, which had the nation’s first confirmed case of the coronavirus, nonprofits are on the leading edge of the response. They have acted quickly to sustain their critical services while supporting the well-being of employees and volunteers. Here four leaders of Seattle nonprofits share their first-person accounts.
- Jewish Family Service: CEO Will Berkovitz on building and using a crisis response team, figuring out how best to keep serving clients, making decisions during a crisis, and operating while conditions are changing rapidly.
- Alliance for Education: President and CEO Lisa Chick on the critical role of the area schools, involvement of the philanthropic community, and racism towards people of Asian descent.
- Rainier Scholars: Associate Executive Director Monica Parker on balancing public health needs with doing the organization’s essential work, communicating with families and staff, and developing contingency plans.
- YouthCare: Development and Communications Officer Jody Waits on managing with a reduced staff, making adjustments to standard protocols, and responding to offers of help.
COVID-19 Online Resources for Nonprofits and Funders
We’ve pulled together a collection of online resources that offer valuable guidance on navigating the current times—both responding to the pandemic and preparing for the possibility of an economic downturn. If you have relied on other resources your peers would find valuable, please let us know by sharing here.
- Washington Nonprofits (the state’s association for nonprofits) offers a high-level summary of potential actions to take and provides links to other sources with more detailed advice.
- The National Council on Nonprofits provides easy links to the various state associations of nonprofits—trusted entities that are curating the rapidly evolving information on the virus and tailoring it to their state-specific context.
- Bridgespan’s Eight Steps for Managing Through Tough Times details specific steps for weathering uncertainty, including planning contingencies and protecting your core operations.
The virtual world
- Vu Le’s post “A few things for nonprofits and foundations to consider in light of the coronavirus” on NonprofitAF shines a spotlight on the need to advocate for stronger safety nets, address accessibility and discrimination against people with disabilities, and take public stances against racism.
- Lauren A. Smith of FSG details “Seven Things Philanthropy Can Do,” with advice on keeping equity considerations front and center—underscoring that “any natural disaster or public health emergency always takes an increased toll on those groups who were marginalized or excluded before the emergency.”