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Planning Your Organization’s Return from COVID-19 Planning Checklist

Updated: Feb 15, 2021

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  1. Data and Recommendations: What data will drive your choices?

☐ Determine your trusted sources of data, recommendations, and other updates.

☐ What formal sources do you and your team trust? Consider: government, CDC and

other public health resources, cultural organizations, media outlets and local sources.

Start identifying them now, if you haven’t.

☐ What about informal information sources? Consider groups in your community that are

disproportionately being impacted by this virus (communities of color, the aging

community, immunologically vulnerable people). Invite insight from these groups and

get their pulse on their perception of safety. Just because a large bureaucratic

institution deems something “safe” doesn’t mean it is safe for communities in the

margins. Practice community-informed decision-making.

☐ Make sure your board and staff are informed about what data you will be relying on to

make decisions.

☐ Establish the process for data analysis. Who will be paying attention to and reporting on

the data? How frequently?☐What “triggers” or milestones in the data will activate a new

phase (i.e. consistent reduction of cases for X days) ? What will trigger a retreat to a

previous phase (i.e. an uptick in cases in your area)?

2. Your People

☐ Assess staffing levels against your phased reentry plan. Will you need to hire/re-hire or

let people go? When?

☐ If hiring, begin developing job announcement so you are ready. Plan for onboarding and


☐ If laying off staff, begin discussing with your team and preparing


☐ Assess volunteer need. When will you need to have volunteers ready? Start

communicating with them now.☐Will your staff or volunteers need any new or updated

training? Start planning for it.☐Any new benefits you will be offering? (i.e. access to

mental health support, peer support, expanded PTO, etc.)

3. Organizational Culture and Work Model

☐ Adopt a trauma-informed leadership approach so you can best support your team as

they navigate this transition.

☐ Establish your transitional or new work model. Keep employees remote when possible.

☐ Collaborate with your team to develop a new rhythm and meeting schedule for the next


☐ Consider offering virtual peer support groups to your employees.

☐ What new cultural elements does your team want to incorporate? Engage in dialogue

with them now.

☐ Embrace a culture of learning and decide what your team wants/needs to learn together

as you reemerge.

☐ Consider learning about and adopting an equity lens so you can center communities

experiencing the most disparities.

4. Safety (Physical and Environmental)

☐ How can you set up your office to create the most distance between employees and


☐ What personal protective equipment (PPE) will you provide to your staff? Have you

acquired it?

☐ Ensure you have adequate cleaning equipment, supplies, hand soap and sanitizer.

☐ Develop strict hand washing and cleaning protocols and communicate it to all staff.

☐ If your office uses a cleaning service, make sure they are scheduled to resume


5. Communication

☐ Share your planning efforts routinely with your staff and board.

☐ Services: Make a plan for sharing programming updates with your clients/constituents/

communities served.

☐ Plan what you will expect of your participants when they access your services in person

(PPE? Distancing?)

☐ How will you ensure your website is updated with the most current information through


☐ Determine what social media platforms and other avenues you will use to communicate

with your community.

☐ How can you activate your community to engage in advocacy around systemic

inequities magnified by COVID-19?

6. Policy and Protocol

☐ Develop an Organizational Transition Plan for the different phases of your

organization’s reemergence.

☐ Establish a protocol for decision-making around when your team should move into or

retreat from a phase.

☐ Collaborate with your board and team on this.

☐ Include monitoring the data sources you identified above.

☐ Identify who is responsible for making the decisions and how they will be


☐ Share this protocol with your entire team.

☐ Remote Work Policy: As your model shifts over time, make sure your policies apply.

☐ Sick Policy: You will want to require staff to stay home if they are sick. Do your policies

adequately express this?

☐ PTO Policy: Consider expanding your employee PTO policy to promote wellbeing and


☐ COVID-19 Vaccination Policy: Determine if you will require staff and/or participants to

be vaccinated (eventually).

☐ Technology: As your model shifts, make sure your equipment and technology policies

are up to date.

7. Funding and Revenue

☐ Align your cash flow projections with your transition plan.

☐ Create contingency plans for your transition plan phases.

☐ Involve your staff in discussions about contingency planning. Seek their input.

☐ Bring your contingency plans and cash flow projections to the board for discussion.

☐ Identify which existing donors you have that you can reach out to for additional support.

☐ Face the reality that you may not be able to host a 50+ in-person fundraising event until

a vaccine is widely available.

Don’t stop fundraising right now. It is more important than ever, and your community is

depending on you.

☐ Ensure you are keeping donors and supporters abreast of your transition plans and in

touch with meaningful stories.

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