Coronavirus: 20 Survival Tips for You and Your Charity

When you and your staff and colleagues are healthy, you’ll all be better able to raise more money for your charity and help those your nonprofit organization serves. Unfortunately, the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) threatens both our physical and mental health. So, to reduce your stress level and help keep you physically healthy, I want to share 20 useful survival tips with you.

However, before I share those important tips, I want to acknowledge that it has been several weeks since I’ve posted. In a future post, I’ll explain the reasons for my break. For now, I just want to thank you for your patience and for continuing to be a loyal reader.

Okay, here are 20 things you can do to protect yourself, and folks you care about, from coronavirus (and other viruses):

Tip 1: Do NOT be stupid. A survey by 5WPR found that 38 percent of American beer drinkers will not buy Corona beer, supposedly in part, because of fear it is linked to the virus. However, many of those surveyed never consumed Corona beer in the first place. So, let’s look at what Corona drinkers said. Among those who drink Corona, the survey found that four percent would no longer drink the product at all while 14 percent said they would not do so in public. To be clear, Corona beer and the coronavirus have nothing to do with one another. My friend Linda Lysakowski jokingly suggested that people might also have been afraid of Lyme Disease since Corona beer is often consumed with a lime wedge; again, one doesn’t have anything to do with the other. It’s important that we think clearly under normal circumstances; it’s especially critical now.

Tip 2: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash them often. Not only will this help protect you from coronavirus, washing will also protect you from other viruses including the common cold, norovirus, and flu.

Coronavirus image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Tip 3: Hand sanitizers are good at killing bacteria. But, they do NOT kill all viruses. Don’t rely on them. Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Tip 4: Stop shaking hands when you greet people. Instead, fist bump, elbow bump, nod, or bow. This will help protect you and the other person from any number of infections including coronavirus. Refusing to shake hands is not rude. Instead, it’s being caring and considerate. Remember, people can be contagious without exhibiting any symptoms themselves.

Tip 5: If you cough or sneeze, do so into a tissue and then through away the tissue. Then, wash your hands. Alternatively, cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm.

Tip 6: Clean the surfaces of commonly used or touched objects and surfaces. For example, clean your cell phone with an alcohol wipe periodically. Wipe down your computer keyboard with a sanitizing wipe. Do the same with office and home doorknobs. You get the idea.

Tip 7: If you are sick, stay home. Whether you have coronavirus, a cold, or the flu, stay home so you won’t infect co-workers or the general public. As a manager, do not reward sick people for coming to work while punishing sick people for staying home. Years ago at my company, we had a new manager who came to us from billionaire Ross Perot’s company, Electronic Data Systems (EDS). She encouraged us to change our sick-day policy which granted staff a limited number of use-it-or-lose-it sick time. Instead, she proposed we adopt the EDS policy of unlimited sick time. While I was skeptical, we tried it. The result was that our employee absenteeism rate plummeted. The primary reason the policy worked was that it encouraged ill people to remain home rather than come into the office where they would infect colleagues.

Tip 8: Whenever possible, use the self-checkout at stores. Cashiers can help spread disease through their interactions with multiple people.

Tip 9: Avoid touching your face. Viruses on your hands can be transferred to your nose, mouth, or eyes and infect you. This is more difficult than you’d expect. We touch our faces surprisingly often during the course of a day. Minimizing face touching takes practice.

Tip 10: Minimize use of air travel, cruise travel, and public transportation. A number of large companies have banned non-essential travel. As I sat down to write this piece, the latest company to announce this step was J.P. Morgan. Airlines are already seeing a drop in ticketing and, therefore, are canceling flights.

Tip 11: Do things to strengthen your immune system. For example, get plenty of sleep, eat right, exercise, etc.

Tip 12: Recognize that the flu has killed more people than the number of all those infected with coronavirus. Right now, flu is a greater threat. Get vaccinated. Also, recognize that most of the tips I’m sharing, if not all, will help you minimize your risk of flu along with reducing your risk from coronavirus. This week, I had an opportunity to speak with a nurse at Penn Medicine, one of the top health systems in the Philadelphia area. I asked her for her thoughts about the coronavirus threat. She said, “I’m not worried about coronavirus at this point. What worries me is the flu.” We should be concerned, too.

Tip 13: Minimize trips to the store (or any other crowded location). The less interaction you have with people, the more you reduce your risk of encountering someone who is infected.

Tip 14: Stock up now on supplies. Make sure you have sufficient food and essential medicines on hand in case you can’t or don’t want to go out. Also, take advantage of delivery services to minimize your trips to the store, particularly when you’re sick.

Tip 15: Do NOT wear a mask unless you are the one who is sick. Medical experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that wearing a mask can help keep infected individuals from spreading a virus. However, masks offer minimal protection against viruses, particularly if it is not an effective mask or is an effective one that is used improperly.

Tip 16: Tina Curry kindly tweeted me this tip, “Don’t listen to the hyped up, fear-mongering media.” While some in the media are providing accurate, helpful information, most are more interested in attracting eyeballs; that’s how they pay the bills. This means you need to be a critical consumer of news. It’s up to each of us to separate truth from the hype.

Tip 17: Do NOT panic. While coronavirus might become a massive problem in the US, it is not currently an epidemic here. Take precautions and prepare, but don’t panic. While you shouldn’t panic, you should remain informed. Remaining aware and flexible will allow you to adapt to the changing situation involving the coronavirus.

Tip 18: Develop a series of contingency plans. Consider how various possible scenarios involving coronavirus might affect your organization. Then, develop plans for how your organization will adapt to those scenarios. Having a disaster recovery plan is always a good idea; it’s a particularly good idea when a potential crisis is looming.

Tip 19: For comprehensive information and more tips about coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official website. At the CDC site, you’ll find current information about the spread of coronavirus, the symptoms to look out for, and additional insights.

Tip 20: Strengthen your relationships with donors. The coronavirus will likely affect philanthropy. For example, the stock market was pummeled this week. That means many donors now have fewer appreciated securities they can donate. While the stock market will eventually bounce back, we need to understand and adapt to the current situation. We also need to recognize if the coronavirus situation negatively affects Gross Domestic Product, it will also affect charitable giving which closely correlates with GDP. As we know from the SARS and H1N1 scares, donors will continue to support their core charities. Your job is to build strong relationships so that your donors consider your organization to be one of the core nonprofit organizations they support.

What additional tips can you suggest? I invite you to share your ideas below, then go wash your hands.

That’s what Michael Rosen says… What do you say?

10 Responses to “Coronavirus: 20 Survival Tips for You and Your Charity”

  1. Thanks Michael. Once again you are a wealth of helpful information which you so generously share. Loved Linda’s lime line.

    One last tip that came from various health professionals: Please don’t listen to the White House and Trump on the Coronavirus. They are already calling it a hoax. And that will cost lives.

  2. This is the best, most comprehensive, and clear headed column on this topic I’ve read anywhere. Great advice. Thanks Michael!


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