Do you have a plan in place for your organization if disaster strikes? Were you and your organization prepared when the COVID-19 pandemic hit? If not, you should consider a business continuity plan. Having this kind of plan in place can alleviate stress and worry in case of another unforeseen event and save your organization time and money.
What is a Business Continuity Plan and why is it important for a nonprofit to have one?
A business continuity plan is a plan you have in place in case a disaster or unforeseen event occurs that significantly impacts your day-to-day operations. For instance, what if your Executive Director quit without giving notice? What happens if state or local ordinances prohibit in person events like what happened with COVID-19? A business continuity plan ensures that the organization continues fulfilling its mission while navigating the difficult situation.
What elements are included in a Business Continuity Plan?
While every plan is going to look different based on your nonprofit’s size, purpose, location, etc. the key points that should always be included are:
- Potential risks.
- Alternate operating strategies if a risk becomes a reality.
- Critical business functions.
- Instructions on how to activate the plan.
- Clearly defined key roles and responsibilities.
- Training for everyone involved.
- Backup for essential equipment and services.
- A business recovery plan to return to regular business practices.
How to create your Business Continuity Plan
- Conduct a business impact analysis. Identify the risks that are most likely to have an impact on your organization. What functions are essential to your nonprofit? How would a disruption affect your organization’s ability to carry out those functions? Make a short list of things that your nonprofit must do in order to survive. Identify services that your nonprofit could discontinue or stop doing while the BCP is active.
- Mitigate risks and establish business continuity strategies. Identify what steps you can take to mitigate potential risks before disaster strikes. In the event of an unplanned incident, which services that your organization provides can be discontinued temporarily?
- Implement the plan and train employees. Let key members in your organization know about your business continuity plan and their role in carrying it out. Board and staff should periodically run through the plan to ensure that they are prepared when they need to put the plan into action.
- Evaluate the plan and periodically revise it. Make sure the plan always accurately reflects the changes that your organization goes through. Key members of your organization should review and revise your BCP on a periodic basis.
Did you know the Colorado Nonprofit Legal Center can assist with any questions you have about business continuity plans? Reach out today with any questions you have about how to start planning and setting up your BCP. We are happy to assist with any questions you may have.
By Sydney Jones