Coronavirus will have implications for charities as well as their staff, volunteers and beneficiaries. In this blog, I set out some key questions which trustees should consider when thinking about how best to support their organisations. I also share some practical guidance on meeting remotely.
Questions for trustees to ask…
- Do we have, or need to develop a plan which: sets out the potential risks and explores different scenarios
identifies responses to manage these risks gives authority to staff or individual trustees to make key tactical decisions quickly sets out a clear line of authority and decision making in the case of absence.
- Can we refocus our efforts and activities, in line with our charitable purpose, to respond to coronavirus?
- What are our most essential operations and services? How could we continue to operate these in the event of isolation or staff absences?
- What organisations can we partner with to continue to deliver services or provide new support?
- What extra flexibility or support might employees, volunteers and beneficiaries need at this time and how can we communicate with them?
- What immediate actions do we need to take to manage our finances – considering cash flow and increased contingency costs?
- Can we speak to funders about the impact of cancelling, delaying project activities, or even in repurposing funds?
- How can the board and staff team utilise technology to continue to meet and make decisions if we cannot meet in person?
- How might this impact on our corporate decision making, audits and filing deadlines as well as meetings such as AGM’s?
Can we reprioritise work to help capacity?
Organisations and individuals only have a limited capacity. One of the greatest contributions a board can make is to help decide what can be delayed or dropped. The external environment is evolving rapidly. As a result there’s a need for organisations to respond quickly. Trustees should therefore consider if they can support by reprioritising activities and adjusting expectations on delivery and reporting. This will likely apply to everything from KPI’s to the timing of board papers.
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