Nonprofits Face New Challenges and Opportunities During Return to Offices

by Marnie Taylor, president and CEO, OKCNP

COVID-19 has not stopped the work of the nonprofit sector. As I have said many times before, nonprofits never closed – we just changed the way we are doing business. However, as staff return the work, one thing has become clear.

Doing business will be more intense, challenging and expensive.

We will return to offices with more stringent rules, especially around hygiene, sanitation and social distancing protocols. Some individuals will only work from an office two or three days per week. There will be masks, gloves and a lot of hand sanitizer. And hugs and handshakes – our favorite greetings – will be off limits.

Most of all, nonprofits will have a number of extra expenses – unbudgeted – going forward, potentially long-term. These expenses will include personal protective equipment, like those masks and gloves. They will include sanitation supplies that are often hard to find in retail locations. Offices will have to be cleaned more often and more thoroughly. All of these add to the overall costs of doing business.

Fortunately, OKCNP has partnered with the Inasmuch Foundation, the Arnall Family Foundation, the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, Hobby Lobby and Cox to help nonprofits with some of those initial expenses. The foundations and corporations have invested $135,000 in PPE purchases, and the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits will be distributing PPE kits to nonprofits throughout Central Oklahoma in the next few weeks.

This collaboration among our philanthropic leaders and the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits will help ease some of that burden for nonprofits to secure and purchase many of these very necessary goods. We have encouraged our nonprofits in Oklahoma to prioritize the health, wellness and safety of employees, volunteers and clientele.

As for opportunities, this special collaboration will also help nonprofits get back to doing what’s best – to focus on their missions and doing what they can do to continue serving our citizens. I encourage all Oklahomans to consider making special gifts to their charities of choice in the next few weeks as they begin a long road back to recovery.

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