March 17, 2020

As you likely read in our March 12 and March 13 COVID-response alerts, NAO has suspended  all of our in-person programming across the state for the next four weeks. NAO staff is working virtually (and highly suggest that you do as well if you are able) and prioritizing our work to COVID-19 response.

We are curating support resources, developing and partnering on trainings and advocating with government and philanthropy. We are here to help your nonprofit respond to the challenges we are all faced with by this pandemic. NAO will be offering these programs for at least the foreseeable future.

For now, I strongly encourage you to think about measures to keep your program participants, staff and volunteers safe and insulate your programming as much as possible.  Marian Salzman  published an  excellent article in Forbes  over the weekend and I think her advice is wise and warrants your attention. I have slightly modified her main points below: 

There will be pain—for leaders, too:  Think of how you will lead by example for your team, as you ponder furloughs. If you are going to make cuts, start with some modicum of self-sacrifice. A philosophy that embraces self-discipline and sacrifice will go far at this time and serve you well in the future.

Stay in your lane:  At a time when the media is full of corona punditry, remember “It’s not important what famous people say … people with knowledge [should] talk about it.” Stop yourself and your organization from spreading rumors and misinformation. Facts matter now more than ever.

Intentions yes, predictions no : Nobody knows how this crisis will play out. Leaders who talk as if they do know, risk losing the trust of stakeholders. What fosters trust are clearly stated and explained intentions, with concrete plans to implement them and consistent actions to back them up.

Critical thinking:  In times of crisis, people are on high alert for danger signals. Rumors, misinformation, and panic spread with alarming speed, especially now that there’s digital technology to carry them far and fast. Employees are likely to be feeling a whole range of fears: for their jobs, for their health, for their families and friends, for their finances, and for life as they know it. It’s a time for leaders to set an example.

Connection : The irony of the COVID-19 crisis is that we are all facing this together, and yet  social distancing  is the order of the day. We need to stay apart as we face it together. One of the most critical functions of leadership is fostering togetherness in common purpose. That’s a lot easier to do face-to-face in a meeting room than through Zoom, BlueJeans, or emails. The current crisis will challenge us all to find new ways to connect with each other and our employees.

We look forward to a time when we will be able to return to normalcy. NAO will continue to work for you through this crisis. We want to thank you for your patience and continued support as we prioritize our action on COVID-19 advocacy and support.

With that in mind, you can find our regularly updated COVID-19 resource page here:

If you have any questions or concerns for please contact us via e-mail at .

Be well and take care of each other,
Jim White
Executive Director