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Springing forward amid uncertainty (March 19, 2020)


Today is the first day of spring. and CNPE is here to help you make it through this season with the resources you need. Day by day, it will become clearer how we are to move forward when so many norms have been shaken. As we learn news way of operating, communicating, and connecting, we have an opportunity to engage new audiences and elevate the importance of the nonprofit/social impact sector. Together is the way forward, and we know you need support on that journey.

We will focus each eNews on one topic. This week’s poll of Kentucky nonprofits revealed what resources people are needing right now to navigate this new normal. Respondents mentioned topics such as fundraising during crises, maintaining staff morale and connectivity, choosing effective online tools, budgeting, and managing stress (among others).

(If you did not take the statewide nonprofit poll, please do that here. Although the initial deadline was noon today, the poll is staying open to capture how nonprofits are faring in the coming days.)

Today’s featured topic: Fundraising during a crisis

The questions keep you up at night: How do I raise funds during this crisis? Should I talk to my donors about our needs now? What should I say? How should I say it? Do my foundation part­ners understand? My big fundraising event is cancelled/postponed. Now what?

There is a lot of really good advice out there – but it seems so much of it comes down to this:

  • Now is not the time to pull back from those who love and support you. Count on them and let them know how much it means to you that you can count on them.
  • Acknowledge that this crisis is also taking a toll on your supporters in so many ways. Tell them you understand that – and that we are all in this together.
  • Talk about your organization’s challenges – but in a way that reinforces that it’s not actu­ally about your organization at all but the people you serve, your contribution to the com­mon good. And try not to sound panicky. Even though you are!
  • Take a deep breath. Believe in yourself and your good work – and trust that good work finds a way to go on with the support of good people.

Some helpful resources:

Don’t forget “The List”: The CNPE team is curating links to resources that you can use (including additional resources on fundraising during a crisis) on our Google Docs COVID-19 Nonprofit Resources List. You will want to check back regularly, because we will be adding to it as our environ­ment continues to change. If we haven’t covered a topic of interest to you – or if you know of a helpful resource we should add – tell us.

In Case You Missed It: The “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” just became law: President Trump just signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act into law yesterday, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States. The Act provides for paid sick leave, free COVID-19 testing, food assistance, and unemployment benefits, and imposes some requirements on small employers. The Act also makes tax credits available to employers and self-employed individuals to help cover costs associated with the COVID-19 outbreak.

The tax credits will benefit nonprofits only if they file a Form 990-T to report Unrelated Business Income, but you will want to become familiar with this Act’s other terms. See this helpful sum­mary from Wyatt Tarrant & Combs, LLP.

CNPE Self-Care Tip of the Day: Punctuate the end of your work day. Working from home makes work-life balance trickier. You don’t have an office to leave or a commute to help your brain transition back to your “home” self. So be sure to end your day with something specific, like a walk outside, a bike ride, a call to a friend, or a treat from the kitchen.

Hang in there. Your team at CNPE is here for you. And when you see the first flowers of spring, take a moment to enjoy them.

My best,

Ann L. Coffey, CEO

The CNPE office is closed temporarily to help ensure everyone’s health. Our staff will be work­ing remotely, though, and remain available to help members. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. CNPE Staff Contacts

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