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Tools Nonprofits Can Use to Determine Actions & Options during the Covid-19 Crisis
Amidst the Covid19 crisis, there are many information resources available to St. Louis area nonprofit organizations to help them assess their current fiscal situation and control their fiscal stability over the coming months.
The National Council of Nonprofits has a comprehensive review of resources available to nonprofits in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act including Paycheck Protection Program Loans, the charitable giving incentive, and other provisions. They also have a summary of H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which includes paid sick leave, family and medical leave, payroll tax credits and food and nutrition program supports for employees.
Many nonprofits are bewildered at how to start or where to go for how to take action on the resources that are being made available. The Montana Nonprofit Association developed the user-friendly step-by-step online Federal Relief Navigator.
While most nonprofit organizations have an annual budget, a detailed cash flow analysis is typically not a business operation tool they use. To help nonprofits through the current crisis by better understanding their cash flow needs, the Nonprofit Finance Fund has posted on their website a monthly cash flow projection tool that includes detailed instructions for its use and a spreadsheet for entering financial data that provides the nonprofit with a month-by-month projection of their cash position over a 12-month period. This is useful for both short term (the next quarter) and long term (cash position April 2021) fiscal planning. The data from the cash flow projection can then be used in a scenario planning tool available on the same Nonprofit Finance Fund webpage. Scenario planning will help nonprofits understand the impact projected revenue losses, access to any extraordinary income or loans and actions taken to control expenses.
As with any crisis, a sustainable strategy requires appropriate action by both nonprofit staff and board members. BoardSource.org published specific guidance for board members response to Covid-19. The complexities of the current situation include checking by-laws for holding legal virtual meetings, effective external and internal communications, and risk assessment. For many board members the dynamics of managing a crisis such as Covid-19 are outside their realm of experience. Rapid response professional development resources such as the BoardSource guidance are available and should be part of how board members invest their time.
Many nonprofits, particularly small nonprofits, may not have accessed information resources as part of their management routine. While the internet provides a fire hose of information, identifying a few focused resources such as those above can be a critical component for crafting a nonprofits response to the current crisis.
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