To COCo community,
We are writing to you to share the decisions we as COCo are making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope this minimally helps clarify what this means for our ongoing services, and also might help your nonprofit make the best decisions possible given the circumstances.
What We are Changing
- Our in-person meetings and events will either be postponed, cancelled, or moved online, at least for the next 3 weeks (until April 6th). Individual team members or facilitators will be in touch with you to make a decision about what makes the most sense in the specific context of our event with you.
- We will not be in the office. All of our team will be working from home; this means that the best way to reach us is by email. If you aren’t already in touch with us by email, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- We are moving our Annual General Meeting a week later, and hosting it virtually. You can find more information at the link here.
In general, our staff will be doing less. Some of our team have become full or part-time caregivers overnight, and all of us are scrambling to reschedule, re-organize, and re-orient our work but also our personal lives. Although for the time being, we are in good health, the chances are good that some of us will be sick in the following weeks. Expect less from us, overall! Expect less from yourselves, as well!
What We are Doing More Of
That said, we do want to make ourselves available where possible to Quebec community groups wondering what to do in their own context about COVID-19.
Do you need someone to talk through ideas about how to mitigate, prevent, or alter your work? Do you want some support setting up work-from-home-technology? Shoot us an email, and we’ll figure out who is around who can lend a (virtual) hand. We are by no means experts, but we are happy to be your thinking partners in this challenging time.
Thinking Through These Decisions
In figuring out what we should do, we thought a lot about:
- How important it is to flatten the curve! We should all be taking this very seriously, and that includes minimizing or eliminating physical contact between people.
- That there is a balance to be found between moving important work forward, and knowing that this is not at all a business-as-usual situation. This is stressful, demanding, anxiety-provoking, and a bizarre situation for everyone – so we are changing our expectations of ourselves and each other. We’re trying to be gentle, kind, and present for what each of us is going through.
The situation we’re in is one where none of our services are essential, or frontline. We know some of you are in different situations- particularly, of offering essential services to, particularly vulnerable populations. Those are a very different set of choices, and this crisis only goes to show how essential those services are.
Questions We Have (And Are Working On)
- What will happen if or when we ourselves get sick? Do we have contingency plans in place for ourselves (and key contractual workers, like our bookkeeper?) What would it mean to keep that in place?
- How can we maintain the most financial security for the most people in our network? What policies, leaves, or allowances do we need to put in place for our full time, permanent staff? What kind of things can we put in place for our 15 or so freelance facilitators, some of whom rely on COCo as a primary source of income?
- How can we stay connected to each other when we are all working from home, all the time? How can we make sure to be checking in with each other, offering understanding and support where it would be useful? What kinds of messages, phone calls, and team meetings are possible and would feel helpful to us?
- How will this affect our revenue and cash flow? COCo relies significantly on revenue from in-person work with organizations. How can we predict and plan for a decrease in revenue this year? How can we work with our funders or look to our funders for support?
We will be sharing more resources in the weeks to come, but for now, we really recommend:
- This great statement (in French only) by the RQ-ACA (link here)
- The Government of Quebec Webhub for COVID-19 (link here). There are also sections on this webpage that deal with the responsibilities of employers and the rights of employees during COVID-19.
- This statement by the Ontario NonProfit Network that has lots of great resources and things to think about (link here)
- The attached guide for employers in the context of COVID-19 put out by the Order of Human Resources Professionals (in French only)