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  • Writer's pictureJill Dominguez

Five Steps Nonprofits Can Take to Survive the Corona Virus COVID-19 Crisis

Nonprofits are small businesses with a different tax code. Surviving the financial impact of a pandemic is vital to the long term stability of the organization. Here are 5 key steps to take to help you stay on top of this evolving situation and keep your doors open to those you serve.

1. Remind those you serve you are still there to help. Whether working remotely or on partial staffing assure your community you are still working on their behalf. Consider using webinars and video conferencing as a means to interact. I recommend, Zoom, Amazon Chime, or GoTo Webinar. If you are not actively engaged on social media now is good time to start. You have many options to communicate with your constituency, Twitter, FaceBook, YouTube, Vimeo, Instagram, Pinterest, SnapChat and many more. They each have their own benefits. One of my favorite bloggers on all thing social media and digital marketing is Rieva Lesonsky at SmallBizDaily. You can follow her on Twitter at @Rieva

2. Work closely with your donors and stakeholders. Reach out now and let your donors and stakeholders know what you need to keep your doors open. If you have had a cancelled event find an alternate date as soon as possible. If this creates a financial hardship with delayed funding ask donors for help. But only ask for what you need now to get by, i.e., your immediate need. This is a worldwide crisis consideration and compassion for all will be remembered. Review sources of emergency funding and new areas of funding from foundations. A good starting point is the Council on Foundations. Also check all government grants. You can subscribe to for updates on federal grants. Check your local city, county and state for additional new funding opportunities.

3. Involve your board. A board is there to provide leadership. If you are the CEO or Executive Director you may have difficult decisions to make and your board can assist you in navigating tough situations. A good board will lead with sage guidance and advice on how to remain mission first.

4. Review your disaster and resiliency plans. Most of our organizations have a good disaster recovery or resiliency plan. But if you are like 99% of the nonprofits, we planned on physical natural disasters that require us to leave the building not shelter in place for extended periods of time. Its never to late to plan. The CDC has put out best practices for responding to the COVID-19 for businesses. Try the 4 step quick plan from the Nonprofit Risk Management Center.

5. Consider alternative ways to strengthen your financial position. The Small Business Administration has Disaster Recovery loans up to $2 million dollars available for nonprofits. Check your area for eligibility. Applications can be completed online in three easy steps. Some loans have no collateral required.


Jill Dominguez, President and CEO of ESSERGY , has decades of experience getting results for non-profit and for-profit companies, foundations, community organizations, private sector lenders, government agencies and elected officials. Her expertise includes 25 years of disaster recovery and resiliency working with some of the greatest natural and economic disasters known in the United States. Her work has included recovery from hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires and financial disasters. An accomplished large-scale project manager, she harnesses her passion, problem-solving skills and creative management approach to help clients develop and execute strategies to achieve their goals. Her skill sets are utilized across a wide range of topics creating growth and recovery with government agencies, non-profit and small business consulting, business incubation, economic development, technology transfer, federal contracts management, strategic planning.

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