By the Nonprofit Risk Management Center
It is the time of year when Mother Nature’s wrath often takes center stage. A recent evening newscast reported the sighting of ten tornados on the ground in one day and four young victims. Experts are calling for 13 named storms in the coming season, three of which are likely to be intense hurricanes with at least one reaching landfall somewhere along the U.S. coastline. The historical average over the last century may be 52%, but this year the probability jumps to 69%. Will it happen? Where will it happen? Will it affect you? It’s all scientific speculation. What is not speculation is that if a severe weather disaster strikes your worksite, or the location where your vulnerable clients, staff or volunteers are engaging in programs, your nonprofit will be affected. While you are not in position to prevent severe weather, you can lessen the negative effects on your operations by thoughtful planning well in advance of the severe weather event.
It is better to be prepared to respond and recover, than to wander through the damaged landscape shaking our heads in grief and disbelief. Every nonprofit should plan for catastrophic events. Remember that you can mitigate the damage by preparing your staff leaders, undertaking a business continuity planning exercise, identifying and training a media spokesperson and a back-up, developing a succession plan for key leaders, and considering insurance and other strategies for financing insurable risks.
Regardless of where you live or work, whether in an area heralded as high risk for natural disasters, or where disasters are something that seem to happen elsewhere, make certain you give serious thought to the fact that a disaster can happen to your nonprofit. It may be a cliché, but, ‘forewarned is forearmed.’
The Nonprofit Risk Management Center welcomes questions and comments at 703.777.3504 or firstname.lastname@example.org.