Creating A Business Continuity Plan For Your Non-Profit

Is your Non-profit organization prepared for any type of disaster? Do you have a business continuity plan in place? A business continuity plan can be defined as a “roadmap for continuing operations under adverse conditions such as a storm or a crime”. It usually covers any event that could impact operations, and cause interruption, loss of or damage to critical infrastructure like major machinery or computing/network resource.

Non-profit organizations may not have as many employees or as much equipment, but they are still as vulnerable to disasters as large corporations and organizations. If your organization’s office were to be destroyed by a tornado, fire or other unforeseen disaster, your loses cound be substantial if you don’t plan ahead. Many Non-profit organizations are reluctant to take the time and the expense to prepare a business continuity plan, but can you really afford not to make one?

One of the best ways to go about pushing up the priority of business continuity planning is to think about how much each minute, hour, day, and week of downtime will cost your non-profit organization.  For example, let’s say an hour of downtime on the organization’s website costs your stakeholders $5000 in lost membership revenue. When you multiply that over the number of hours or even days your system is down, the potential losses could be substantial and it could have been avoided.

When thinking about creating a business conituity plan, it usually helps to imagine realistic and “unrealistic” scenarios.For example, if the fire marshall showed up and ordered an immediate evacuation of the building siting gas leakage, and the building will be inaccessible for a couple of days. Then what?

You can start creating a business continuity plan for your non-profit organization by following these simple steps:

  • Make a List of All Possible Disasters

When drawing up a business continuity plan, the best place to start is to list different types of disasters and try to determine what could be lost in each case, and what you can do to prevent that loss. A flood will require different strategies from a power outage or a fire.

Next, try to estimate how long it would take, and how much it would cost, for you to get your organization up and running again.

  • Communication

The middle of a crisis is not the time to frantically search for phone numbers or other contact information. It is always a great idea to have emergency contact numbers. Have all emergency contact numbers posted or programmed into every phone.

Do you have an alternate mode of communication as a part of your business continuity plan, should your main phone lines shut down? Could your clients and members seamlessly contact you without ever knowing that your office was in the middle of disaster recovery? This may mean considering services like Voice-over-Internet -Protocol (VoIP).

The same principle applies to email and fax. Making arrangements regarding communication are critical to keeping your organization running smoothly. Communicating with staff and clients can mean the difference between complete shutdown, or a minimal business interruption. This could mean considering moving critical services like email and communication offsite to the “cloud”.

  • Preserving Your Data

In the event of a disaster, it is important to know that everything you need to function as an organization is available. Identify all vital systems, documents, and data. While most organizations and businesses may perform some type of on-premise backup of their data on a regular basis, what if a fire destroyed your office?

For this reason, offsite or remote data storage is critical to preserving your organization’s valuable information and should be a part of the business continuity plan. Offsite data storage allows to access to all of your stored data from any computer and from anywhere in the world.

  • A Temporary Worksite

When making a business continuity plan, it is also important to plan for a temporary worksite. Depending on the goods or services your business offers, can you continue smooth operation if your office is shut down or  not accessible? Storing products in a second location can allow you to maintain your regular business schedule.

  • Test Your Plan

One of the keys to successful disaster recovery is testing your business continuity plan on a regular basis. It is important that you and your staff know exactly what to do, where to go, and how to access the necessary items you need to keep your non-profit organization running smoothly to the outside world, even if you are standing in the middle of a disaster.

Schedule regular plan tests to ensure that everyone in your office is on the same page and ready should disaster strike. Hopefully, you will never have to use your business continuity plan, but it is smart business to be prepared for any emergency should one arise.

Click here to learn how Tech Prognosis can help keep your business running in the event of disruption or disaster with our Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Planning Services for your non-profit organization in Round Rock, TX and surrounding cities.