Every Nonprofit Needs a Comprehensive Disaster Plan
Throughout this summer, hardly any region in the United States has been spared from some form of natural disaster or extreme weather. While the recent headlines have been dominated by wildfires, floods, and record-high temperatures, it’s crucial to recognize that nonprofit organizations also need to prepare for unnatural disasters, such as terrorist threats and mass shootings. The scope of preparation can be daunting, but a well-prepared organization stands a better chance of safeguarding its staff, volunteers, clients, and operations during emergencies and facilitating a swift recovery.
Proactive Threat Assessment
While it’s impossible to predict or eliminate all potential risks, your nonprofit can mitigate the impact of specific threats by developing a tailored disaster plan. The first step is to identify the risks that your organization faces across its people, operations, and technology. If your nonprofit serves vulnerable populations, you’ll need to take additional precautions to ensure the safety of your clients. For instance, crafting a fire evacuation plan that includes protocols for wheelchair- bound and elderly clients could be essential.
Moreover, consider potential damages if your operations were to be disrupted. For example, if your geographical area is prone to hurricanes and flooding, it’s important to contemplate the potential property damage and financial losses. Strategies like waterproofing your building’s foundation and maintaining flood insurance can help mitigate damages and unexpected costs.
Structured Team Responsibilities
To develop a comprehensive disaster plan, appoint a designated leader responsible for its creation and implementation. Formulate teams to address various aspects of the plan. For instance, a communications team could manage the task of keeping staff, volunteers, and stakeholders informed through regular updates. This team could also be responsible for maintaining your organization’s online presence through updates to your website and social media platforms. Additionally, other teams could focus on safety and evacuation protocols, technology-related matters (including offsite data backup), and financial and insurance requirements.
Recovery: A Vital Element
An integral part of your plan is recovery. Devise strategies for getting your employees back to work and your office and services operational after a disaster. It might be necessary to organize these strategies into phases that can be implemented based on the severity of the disaster’s impact.
Managing Limited Resources
Smaller nonprofits often grapple with the challenge of allocating their limited resources to create an all-encompassing disaster plan and take preventative measures to safeguard their assets. Prioritize the most probable emergencies for your geographic location. Additionally, organizations across the country should be equipped to handle fires and power outages arising from extreme heat.
To address the financial aspects of a disaster plan tailored to your nonprofit’s unique risks, feel free to contact us at Accavallo & Company for further consulting.
Please contact our Team at (203) 925-9600 or via email at [email protected]