About 160 area nonprofit representatives took part in a webinar that included polls about their new reality. One of the polls asked how they’re faring, with multiple-choice answers ranging from “hanging in there” to “super stressed” to “hanging on by a thread.” About 55 percent were “hanging in there.”
The idea of having a pandemic policy never occurred to most Northeast Florida nonprofits.
Now such policies are being developed.
Some of them are also navigating for the first time the logistics of serving clients “virtually,” by phone or online, while others are doing so in person but at a social distance. Some have shuttered their offices, with all staff working remotely, while others have established “hybrid” operations, with certain employees at work and the remainder at home.
The situation is “dramatically amplifying these existing needs and creating unprecedented demands on nonprofits” as families seek help dealing with business and school closings, according to the United Way of Northeast Florida.
“Nonprofits are experiencing a disruption in fundraising and decreased volunteer support due to COVID-19, which reduces their ability to serve those who need help the most,” said Mari Kuraishi, president of the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, a Jacksonville-based philanthropy that supports many area nonprofits. “It is critical organizations serving the most vulnerable populations have the resources they need to continue operating at the highest levels.”
The people that work for nonprofits must also take care of themselves, said Nina Waters, president of The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida, which also supports many area nonprofits.