Non-profit organizations play a key role in helping people prepare for and respond to a disaster. In times of crisis, it is vital that non-profit organizations be able to provide and maintain critical community services.
The hurricane season began on June 1, so I asked Marcia Warfel to answer some common questions about disaster planning. Marcia Warfel is a former head of the Office of Recovery and Mitigation for the Florida Division of Emergency Management and a former program director for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Month:Hurricane season forecast: what does the train tell us against the pain of 2020 about what to expect in 2021 | WeatherTiger
She now works as a senior consultant for the group on disasters, strategies and ideas and brings extensive experience in this field.
Here are their answers and tips for having a plan in place.
What is COOP?
- “COOP” is the abbreviated term for business planning continuity.
- Continuity of Operational Planning (COOP) is an important part of any organization’s risk management efforts. We’ve all experienced this in the last 15 months and learned lessons about areas where we can improve. Now is the time to reflect, document, and make changes in your processes. By preparing for the unforeseen, your organization can reduce the impact of the unforeseen and ensure less disruption to service delivery.
- A COOP plan should clearly define the steps an organization will take during downtime to ensure that they can continue their operations.
- COOP plans usually focus on three main areas:
What should be included in a COOP?
- COOP contacts and teams: people and groups responsible for planning, relocation, support and other continuity functions.
- Succession orders: Designation of primary positions within an organization and the people who possess the skills and experience to assume their responsibilities.
- Primary and alternative facilities: locations where an organization operates and identifies locations for relocation as needed.
- Essential Functions: The essential functions that an organization is expected to perform are considered operational.
- Records and Vital Resources: The “things” on which an organization relies to complete its essential functions.
- Communication: How you communicate information / status with your staff.
When emergencies or disruptions occur, how will your nonprofit continue to provide key services?
Use the following key COOP areas to help you start planning and make sure your organization can withstand any crisis.
What potential threats (natural, health, personnel, infrastructure, etc.) exist to your organization’s operations and what order of priority is based on probability or severity?
What are your key organizational functions and what order of priority do they have?
What is your employee communication system if an outage occurs? What is your succession plan?
4) KEY CUSTOMERS / CUSTOMERS / SELLERS
Do you have key contact information in the file that is easily accessible?
5) INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY (IT)
Does your organization have an up-to-date list of all IT-related items and essential or vital records? Is there a current backup procedure that can be accessed remotely, if necessary?
What are the financial needs of your organization in the event of an interruption in operations? Consider payroll, expenses, payment receipts, and costs to relocate them temporarily.
Elaboration of a plan
If you don’t have a disaster plan or COOP in place, where do you start?
- Meet with some of your organization’s leaders and discuss the importance and reasons for COOP.
- Collect basic staff contact information.
- A good COOP plan should answer six questions if an organization is facing an outage:
What types of events can occur to trigger COOP activation?
Where could we go?
How would we communicate the transfer message?
What does our organization do and what is most important?
What elements would we need to complete our functions?
Who will be in charge?
Remember to review your six key areas for developing a COOP.
Marcia sums it up like this. Disaster planning is not done during dark or gray skies. The time to plan is during the clear blue sky, which means now is the time to plan.
Marcia Warfel can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (850) 688-8100. Notes on Nonprofits is produced by Alyce Lee Stansbury, CFRE and includes new ideas and resources, timeless topics from the Notes on Nonprofits repository, guest columns, and answers to your questions. Send your question or suggestion to email@example.com.
Never miss a story – subscribe to the Tallahassee Democrat using the link at the top of the page.