The novel coronavirus has spread like wildfire across the world and is now officially declared a global pandemic by WHO. Each day, more and more cases are being identified and the impact on our economy is becoming evident and increasingly important to act on. What does this mean for your association and what steps do you need to start taking for marketing, events, and working remotely?
Send a quick e-blast or social post directed to membership and constituents on the best-practices from the CDC and how your association will closely monitor the impact of COVID-19 on your organization’s industry. Here is a template you can use:
Dear (MEMBER NAME),
(NAME OF ORGANIZATION) is aware of the disruption that the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is causing. While much is still unknown about the virus, it is clear that things will probably get worse before things get better.
(NAME OF ORGANIZATION) understands the extraordinary and will be closely monitoring the epidemic and its impact on our industry. In the meantime, we encourage you to implement these best practices provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at home and in the workplace:
- Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Clean frequently touched surfaces and objects daily.
Nonprofit Resources, LLC has already seen an impact that COVID-19 has had on our client’s national events. Training events, board meetings, and other meetups that require national travel in the next few weeks have been canceled or postponed. Even if you feel that the risk is low, the event attendees, sponsors, and staff may not be willing to travel, and the event could cost your organization money.
So, what do you do?
- Create a cost analysis of what it would be to cancel an event – will the hotel let you move the date? Can you get a refund on travel? Will you have any vendor deposits refunded? Could you switch to a virtual option?
- Discuss with the event planning committee, board, and/or staff and weigh the options – What is the risk of continuing with the event, moving the date forward, going virtual, or canceling the event?
- If you decide to move forward with the event: Emphasize best practices at the gathering – no handshakes, encourage attendees who feel sick to stay home or in the hotel, provide hand sanitizer and other COVID-19 prevention supplies
- If you decide to cancel: Time is of the essence with your communication strategy. Be sure all attendees are aware of the change of plans and emphasize the importance of their safety and well-being.
Check out this complimentary webinar from ASAE on Community Conversation on Novel Coronavirus – Association Considerations.
Nonprofit Resources is an entirely virtual business, so we firmly believe associations are able to continue operation through remote work. If your association has an office, start implementing remote work practices now so that if your staff is required to stay home, work is still able to be completed.
- Be sure to have all contact info for employees and that they have the equipment they need to work from a home office (for us this is mostly just a phone and computer).
- Research online tools that remote work such as teleconferencing systems for meetings (GoToMeeting, Zoom, etc.) and virtual project trackers (Asana, Samepage, etc.)
- Train employees on the platforms and outline your expectation for remote work
We are not experts on COVID-19, but we are experts in nonprofit associations, and encourage any organization that needs guidance during this time to reach out to us. Please share other ideas on remote work or best practices that you or your organization are implementing in the comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org… then take a break and wash your hands just to be safe.