In some ways, the challenges New Jersey’s not-for-profit organizations face are a mirror image of those of private businesses. While many companies are threatened with a dramatic drop in demand (with notable exceptions), not-for-profits are seeing the demand for their services rise even as they worry about remaining economically viable.
In a conference call earlier this week with NJBIA President and CEO Michele Siekerka and Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas, about 80 not-for-profit organizations shared how they are coping and received tips on what to do as the social distancing mandate was in its second week.
Not-for-profit organizations that can work remotely should keep their offices closed if they can and have employees work from home. For those that need to be open, Siekerka advised them to keep onsite staff to the least number of workers possible and to practice social distancing while they are there. She also advised organizations to write letters for those employees who are coming into work so that if they are questioned by authorities, they have something to explain why they are out in public.
“The letter should explain that their organization is authorized to be open and that you are an essential employee asked to come in,” Siekerka said. “Be sure to include the phone number for someone in your organization as well.”
Buteas, who has been leading NJBIA’s advocacy for economic stimulus, advised callers that while the Legislature had passed a package of coronavirus bills before leaving Trenton, it was unlikely to be the last of the legislative measures. She said that the organization had also urged Congress to help. Since the conference call, Congress has passed a $2 trillion stimulus package.
A representative for the American Red Cross urged organizations to let their members know blood donations are desperately needed, and shared information on where and how volunteers could donate.
NJBIA’s Jodi Grinwald, who staffs the association’s Not-for-Profit Council, said NJBIA members could also use the Member Link community bulletin board to let people know what they need or how they can help.