Way back in March at the very start of the pandemic, the Charities Aid Foundation found that 54% of charities surveyed felt their ability to operate as they did then would be impacted within a year.
Carry that forward 7 months, and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that the pandemic has drastically changed the way charities function for good, with a renewed focus on finding ways to manage services and donations digitally under social-distancing measures.
That’s why it’s never been more important to have a robust Business Continuity Plan in place, and to ensure it is regularly reviewed in the evolving digital landscape.
What is a Business Continuity Plan?
A ‘Business Continuity Plan’ (BCP) is a plan you create within your organisation to ensure your core services can continue to run (or are not irreversibly impacted) should an unforeseen event affect business operations – like during a pandemic, for example.
A strong Business Continuity Plan will identify any risks to your organisation, assess their potential impact and propose a plan to mitigate them – or at least manage the fallout should disaster strike.
Why is it important to have a Business Continuity Plan in place?
It’s never been more important to make sure you have considered emerging risks to your organisation, with the pandemic drastically affecting the way charities fundraise and provide services.
Ben Harris, charity account manager for Endsleigh, said “this year it has become clearer than ever the positive impact a robust Business Continuity Plan can have for an organisation. You never know when disaster will strike, but considering the potential impact of increasingly common risks – such as cyber attacks, severe weather events and worldwide pandemics – could be the first step towards ensuring your organisation survives and thrives through challenging times.
Ultimately, organisations that have a Business Continuity Plan in place are much better placed to recover from an incident that threatens its survival compared to those that don’t.”
What should my charity’s Business Continuity Plan include?
There are all sorts of risks and natural disasters that could impact your organisation’s operations – here are just a few:
- Perhaps the most pressing issue at the moment – pandemics
- Extreme weather events, such as flood or snow
- Cyber risks – including accidental data breaches and malicious attacks
- Reliance on technology – e.g. do your staff have the equipment they need to work from home, and will your IT systems support this?
- Service impact – e.g. will you still be able to operate if there’s a disruption in the supply chain or a drop in volunteers?
- Acts of terrorism
- Charity insurance – your provider may recommend or require certain measures to be taken to mitigate risk, including the creation of a BCP.
How to create a Business Continuity Plan
If you don’t already have a BCP in place for your charity or not-for-profit, lockdown might be the perfect opportunity to create one. Here are some useful tools and resources to get you started:
Check out the government’s downloadable Business Continuity Management Toolkit. This includes a guide to Business Impact Analysis, carrying out a risk assessment and how to develop and implement a Business Continuity Management response
Download ROBUST, a free software package from RISCauthority that will provide all the tools you need to create your own Business Continuity Plan.
Protecting your charity against the unexpected
An important part of any Business Continuity Plan will be ensuring you have suitable charity insurance cover in place to protect your assets, staff and income should disaster strike.
With over thirty years’ experience and over 3,000 not-for-profit customers in the UK, we work with market-leading insurers to provide competitive coverage, expert consultation and specialist advice for charities, community groups and not for profit organisations.
Stay up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 guidance by visiting the government website.
Looking to protect trustees, directors, governers, officers and committee members? Find out more about trustee insurance.
Does your charity earn under £250K?
Find out more about small charity insurance with Markel Direct.