Through an arrangement with TechSoup, PND is pleased to offer a series of articles about the effective use of technology by nonprofits.

Is Your Organization Prepared for a Disaster?

Earthquakes, wildfires, floods, and terror attacks are just a few examples of emergencies that your nonprofit might eventually be forced to contend with. Depending upon the scenario, your organization may find itself acting as an emergency-service provider, providing victims with vital services such as first aid, transportation, and counseling. In times of disaster, nonprofits may also be called upon to assist with securing food and shelter for the people affected or acting as liaison for their local community.

While your organization may not be able to control or prevent catastrophes, drafting an organized and detailed disaster plan can help minimize the loss of valuable data or equipment. In turn, your nonprofit can recover from an emergency more quickly and begin helping your constituents get through the crisis.

Creating an effective disaster plan was just one of the topics discussed in TechSoup's recent Disaster Preparedness online event, which was held in our Tech Planning Forum. There, participants shared disaster plans produced by other organizations, templates you can use to produce your own disaster plan, and advice on general best practices.

Disaster-Plan Examples and Templates

To help organizations prepare for worst-case scenarios, event participants shared the following disaster plans, which you can use as a template when drafting your disaster plan.

British Library Disaster Emergency Planning Templates
The British Library disaster emergency planning template includes information on how nonprofits can prevent, manage, and recover from disasters.

Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York Disaster Planning Template
The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee of New York created a 35-page workbook with information on risk analysis, advice from the Red Cross, and a host of other resources to help organizations resume operations after a disaster.

M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries Disaster Plan (PDF)
This template form the Consortium of Academic Libraries provides commentary designed to help librarians and archivists developing a disaster-control plan.

The Library Disaster Plan Template
The California Preservation Program's library disaster plan template gives nonprofits a framework on which to base their own disaster plans.

Tech Republic's Practical Disaster Recovery Planning: A Step-by-Step Guide
This Tech Republic whitepaper offers information that can help organizations navigate the decision-making proceswhen drafting a disaster plan.

TechSoup's Restoring IT Infrastructure: A Manual for Disaster Recovery (PDF)
This comprehensive document provides small- and medium-sized nonprofits with advice on repairing technology systems in environments where business continuity plans were insufficient or nonexistent. Included in this report are instructions on recovering hardware, restoring Internet connections, and dealing with lost passwords.

M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries' Disaster Plan Links Page
This page from the M25 Consortium of Academic Libraries provides links to other online disaster plans, including those from various universities and the American Library Association.