Disaster preparedness planning important for nonprofits

October 15, 2013

Disaster preparedness planning important for nonprofits

Disasters can strike anywhere, anytime and any business model. Just as for-profit organizations need disaster plans, so do nonprofits.Since most threats to nonprofits are the same as those that affect businesses, it is important they consider similar types of disaster coverage.

Nonprofit insurance options
Insurance companies that specialize in working with nonprofits can help establish appropriate coverage for successful risk management in the event of a disaster or accident. Risks can be weather-related, such as flood or hurricane damage, or associated with legal liabilities from automobile accidents. When reviewing possible insurance options, organizations should be aware of how much they can afford to lose due to a single disaster and insure accordingly. Consultation and planning ahead can ensure that nonprofits are prepared for the financial windfalls of unpredictable accidents and disasters.

Keeping things going
Especially for struggling nonprofits, which may have little or no reserves, it's important to know what activities are critical to keeping the doors open. If a nonprofit has building damage due to a weather incident, it should determine if any employees can work from home.

Many employees may be more than willing and able to complete a large portion of their responsibilities while telecommuting. This can help maintain basic operations while physical cleanup is underway. Before a disaster strikes, determine what tasks employees can complete without coming into the office and discuss how they would fit into a disaster-recovery plan for the organization. When disaster does strike, employees should be able to continue working again the next day.

What will it cost?
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, organizations should also have some idea of what a disaster will cost outside of property damage.

"Calculate the cost of business interruptions for one week, one month and six months," Carol Chastan wrote on the SBA's blog. "Once you've done that, you'll be able investigate insurance options or build a cash reserve that will allow your company to function during the post-disaster recovery phase."

While the cost of business interruptions to for-profits will revolve more around the loss of sales and revenue, nonprofits should also consider that fundraising efforts and the availability of volunteers could change following a disaster. These types of losses are harder to forecast than those associated with for-profit business models, but even a rough estimate is better than no idea at all.

Content presented by First Nonprofit Companies, the leading provider of state unemployment insurance solutions for 501(c)(3) nonprofit employers.


Ready to chat?
Get in touch today to request a no-obligation savings evaluation.


Throughout our membership in the Unemployment Savings Program, First Nonprofit understood our demands, community dynamics, and the importance of seamless services; that allowed us to serve our constituents better.

Prevent Blindness America, Chicago, IL

Because INCS advocates for the operating conditions that allow charter public schools to provide high quality public education, partnering with First Nonprofit was an easy decision. First Nonprofit’s unemployment programs provide our member schools two operating elements crucial to their ability to provide high quality public education: savings and budget certainty. Capable, committed teachers are the key to student success. By participating in the unemployment insurance savings plan, charter public schools gain peace of mind and are able to invest more money in their teachers.

Illinois Network of Charter Schools, Chicago, IL

It has been our sincere pleasure to maintain a strong, vibrant business partnership with First Nonprofit. We greatly admire their strong industry knowledge, technical expertise, constant professionalism, knowledgeable and dedicated staff. They are always extremely responsive, personable and provide us with the necessary guidance and recommendations on a numerous variety of employment scenarios.

Thresholds, Chicago, IL

NYCON members who use First Nonprofit’s programs enjoy enduring savings and improved efficiency. Our association knows that success, because from the beginning, we achieved the same great benefits. Great savings, seamless technology, and responsive service. NYCON highly recommends First Nonprofit’s remarkable unemployment solutions.

New York Council of Nonprofits, Albany, NY

Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

Luckily for us, our interactions regarding any issues with staffing has been very minimal! I can say that all other interactions with regards to billing, 941 reporting, etc. have been extremely pleasant, accommodating and easy to work with. Kim Ghanayem is always prompt, professional and friendly. Thank you so much!

Neurologic Music Therapy Services of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ

First Nonprofit has been easy to work with and makes the administrative process easier and smoother. We enjoy working with you.

Visually Impaired Preschool Services, Louisville, KY

The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.

Ensight Skills Center, Inc, Fort Collins, CO