Plywood over the windows is a vigilant approach to emergency planningThe Basics: stuff everyone needs to know well

  • Who You Are
  • What You Stand For
  • What You Are Doing
  • Why You Are Doing It

Where can Things Go Wrong?

What to be on the lookout for; threats and opportunities for trouble can include:

  • Media: bad press, negative stories, uninformed commentary, unflattering characterizations.
  • Social media: the wild, wild west of rumor, innuendo, inaccuracy and inflammation.
  • Divisiveness among different groups: division within the membership, volunteers, board or even staff.
  • Sudden loss of essential personnel: operational and management gaps, training and process issues.
  • Financial: loss of major donor, big unexpected expense, compliance or legal fees, and the impact of any of the above on revenue.

Preparedness vs. Vigilance

The very nature of the word emergency means they can’t necessarily be predicted, but many huge problems can become quite manageable with a little preparation. As with putting new batteries in the smoke alarm on the first day of the year, each year as a habit, having your house in order can minimize many problems.

  • Write everything down: keep a calendar, make notes about meetings, keep copies.
  • Have an automatic online back up for all the computers.
  • Keep copies of all essential contacts and corporate information off the premises.
  • Have job descriptions for everyone, even if they are a series of bullet points.
  • Keep all financial and legal records in one place.
  • Don’t ignore notices and any correspondence from the feds or the state.

Preparedness vs. Vigilance

Sometimes, no matter how much notice or planning there is, bad things can confront you. Have an idea in your mind how and what you would do if any of the above problems suddenly visited your doorstop. Simply considering how you would deal with the sudden loss of an essential staff member or a massively public scandal can go a long way towards allowing you the breathing room to choose the best set of responses and actions.

As mental plywood for the windows as the tornado comes though, this ‘practice’ thinking will not necessarily prevent the windows from breaking , but it will keep the shards from flying too far and hitting too many others.

If you’d like help putting the kit together, get in touch by email here or by voice on 310 828 6979.

Read Part One Here

Read Part Two Here

Cindy Lauren - Lauren Associates - non profit consultingCindy Lauren is the Principal of Lauren Associates – non profit consulting

As well as advising Executives and Boards on all aspects of nonprofit management, the firm specializes in developing fundraising solutions for all sizes of organizations. Connect with Cindy: Twitter, Linkedin, Quora

Image Credit:The Plywood Goddess by designwallah on Flickr.
Written while listening to: Encouragement | July 2013 – Music to Create Flow .