• Leah Ryals Jacobs

COVID-19 AND NON-PROFITS

Updated: Sep 23

Non-profits are vital to our community, our nation, and our world, yet they often take the greatest hits in times of uncertainty. Leah Ryals Jacobs is our resident non-profit attorney and offers these words for those struggling to further their mission in times of uncertainty.

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This is an unprecedented time in our lifetime, and everyone is taking a hit in some form or fashion. The social-distancing and prohibitions against meeting in large groups are especially concerning for religious nonprofits. We are already under increased scrutiny from the world in general and those in positions of power. Our response matters. We do not want to operate from fear but do want to utilize wisdom in negotiating this turn of events. That said, let me offer a few suggestions for best practices in the new situation in which we find ourselves.


  1. Romans 13:1 states “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” This is a hard concept to follow. In America, we have always been free to assemble. However, this is a new situation. We need to be ever mindful that we, as religious nonprofits, are an example to others. We should follow the direction of scripture and that of our governing authorities, be that the Government or individual denomination governance.

  2. Do not stop the good works! While in a time of “social distancing,” let us make sure we are taking care of those who are less fortunate. Ensure your church members, employees, or clients have what they need. Help where able. We do have specific suggestions should you have volunteers assisting with this on an organization level, so please contact us and allow us to help protect your organization.

  3. Reinforce to your constituents that now is the time to lead by example in our homes. The church may not be able to meet, but we can still pursue God from our own homes. What an opportunity to help families engage in worship together and learn more about God. Put together lessons for families, couples, etc. and see how much closer our relationships (with God and others) can become in the next bit of time.

  4. Encourage continued giving to the church or your ministry. Understandably, giving may drop off for a period of time. However, we need to be doing whatever possible to encourage giving during difficult times. Ministry does not cease just because people cannot gather. Make giving easy by researching the best remote giving tools. If you need assistance with this, please let us help.

  5. Plan for the future. While we are not sure how long the quarantine and issues surrounding this illness will last, we can still prepare for the future. Use this time to dive deep and discover what God is telling you for your ministry.

Things may be a bit crazy right now, but we can always find the bright side. Let’s continue to be the light in a dark world and encourage those around us. If you have specific questions not addressed in this article, please give us a call, or email me at leah@davisfirmpllc.com, and let us help guide you through the legal landmines you may encounter.

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