After a summer during which nearly one-third of all Americans experienced a weather disaster – from hurricanes to droughts and wildfires to flooding – relief and recovery are front-of-mind for many people and the nonprofits that serve them. Recently, in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, several state associations of nonprofits circulated information for nonprofits on relief options in their respective states. Among the groups sharing resources were the Center for Non-Profits (NJ), the Louisiana Association of Nonprofit Organizations, and Nonprofit New York. As we see more extreme weather events affecting different areas of the country, it is one more reason to be connected with your state association. It is also important to know about the relief and resources offered by the IRS, as well the disaster assistance site run by FEMA, which can be among the first places to look if your community is affected now or in the future. Those affected by the storms, flooding, and tornadoes in Michigan, severe storms and flooding in Tennessee, and wildfires in California, among others, can find information on relief on FEMA's site.
In this month’s Nonprofit Knowledge Monthly, we’ll be covering topics including design accessibility, ensuring cybersecurity is an ongoing part of your organization’s culture, what the new vaccine mandates announced by President Biden might mean for your nonprofit, and how your nonprofit might think about vaccination policies regardless of whether the new federal mandates apply.
Inclusion Through Design
An organizational commitment to equity and inclusion isn’t complete if it focuses exclusively on racial or gender equity. Among people who are often inadvertently excluded are those with partial vision or color blindness. If the design of your printed and online materials isn’t considering your entire audience, then your organization may be inadvertently excluding people who need your services or could be supporting your mission. Our friends at Big Duck recently wrote an article on making brands more accessible by taking into account the effects of important visual elements, such as color contrast and typography, in design decisions. Learn more in “Can your brand be more accessible?,” which authors Wing-Sze Ho and Sandy Zimmerman have graciously allowed us to republish here for you.
Creating and Cultivating a Culture of Cybersecurity
For the last few months, we’ve been featuring articles with action steps nonprofits can take to secure their networks and data. We hope these articles have been useful for your nonprofit. But keeping everything secure can’t be fully achieved by just a few tweaks here and there, and it can’t be strictly the domain of the IT person or IT department. Truly effective cybersecurity requires a shared sense of responsibility and commitment across the entire organization. In How to Build a Culture of Security at Your Nonprofit, Dan Rivas of TechImpact offers several tips – from involving staff in crafting policies to having regular conversations about security – for ensuring your nonprofit has a culture that embraces cybersecurity. And, if you want to go deeper, TechImpact is hosting a series on Cybersecurity Essentials for Nonprofits, starting on September 23.
Vaccine Mandates and Your Nonprofit
Back in April, we hosted a national webinar featuring experts discussing how to manage a return to in-office work. A lot has changed since then. The optimism that many felt about being able to resume work in the office over the summer, or certainly by Labor Day, was replaced by fresh worries as the Delta variant spread rapidly across the country. Despite one of the most significant vaccination efforts in our nation’s history, bringing together government, business, and nonprofits, too many people still remain unvaccinated, extending the length of the pandemic and putting themselves and others in jeopardy and economic recovery at risk.
We agree with what Kevin Dean, CEO of Momentum Nonprofit Partners in Tennessee, wrote in this blog post urging nonprofits to implement vaccine mandates: “No nonprofit organization can fulfill their mission—no matter what that mission is—if their staff and constituencies are in danger.”
Last week, President Biden announced a multi-point strategy to combat COVID-19. Several parts may apply to certain nonprofits, depending on the facts (such as their size and who they serve), although it’s uncertain at this time because federal agencies are still developing the details for the rules. Here’s what we know so far about the vaccine mandates and where to look for future guidance - and what your nonprofit can do, even if it is not subject to the mandates. As we learn more, we'll be sure to keep you informed.
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