Bad things happen to good people. They also happen to good organizations. They can even happen to YOUR organization. Unfortunately, not only are nonprofits just as vulnerable to catastrophe as other types of organizations, but they may be more vulnerable to dire consequences afterwards. Read on for more about one major thing you can do to position your nonprofit to survive—and maybe even thrive—when disaster strikes.
Is a Crisis Headed Your Way?
You’re not alone if you’re currently asking yourself, “What can go wrong? The answer can be summed up in one word: Anything. From bomb threats and active shooters to infrastructure failure and major economic dislocation, the list of potential emergency situations goes on and on. In fact, “No matter how improbable a risk may seem, if you can envision it happening in your organization,” you should consider it a threat and plan for it, according to the Alliance for Nonprofit Management.
And while resource-rich for-profit businesses may be capable of weathering the many different “storms” that might befall them, cash-strapped nonprofits lack the same liberty.
Do You Have a Plan?
If not, now is the time to learn to create one. Risk management and crisis response planning are two sides to a very important coin. Together, they proactively enable your nonprofit not only to manage a crisis situation, but to emerge as a sound, strong and solvent organization.
Have you evaluated what potential obstacles could disrupt your business continuity, harm your organization’s reputation, and compromise your bottom line? And have you given any thought to response scenarios aimed at seeing you through each of these? If not, how can you possibly expect to navigate your way through any of these scenarios in the heat of the moment when the welfare of your organization and its constituents is at stake?
Conversely, by acknowledging and addressing these potential threats in the here and now, you not only reduce the fact that they’ll happen to you, but you increase the chance that you’ll overcome them when they do occur.
But it’s not enough to have a plan for how to respond in a catastrophe, you must also have a plan for communicating with both your internal and external constituents. This can be easier said than done in today’s digital world in which people share information in many different ways.
The overall takeaway? No organization is immune from catastrophe. Not only that, but as a nonprofit, your organization may also be less able to recover after an emergency. A crisis response plan—with 21st century communications at its core—is a key part of preparing for the worst while simultaneously planning for the best.