Nonprofit organizations, schools and houses of worship play critical role in supporting Americans during severe weather emergencies

Nonprofit organizations, schools and houses of worship play critical role in supporting Americans during severe weather emergencies

December 12, 20233 min read

Church Mutual® survey finds high expectations for schools, worship facilities, as well as community and nonprofit organizations

MERRILL, Wis. – Gearing up for the 2024 winter season, the aftermath of severe weather events remains top of mind for Americans impacted by cold Arctic air and polar vortex activity that reached into many southern states earlier this year. In its new Risk Radar Report – Severe Weather, Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. (a stock insurer)1, an insurer of nonprofit organizations, schools, camps and houses of worship, found 82% of Americans feel these organizations should prepare in advance for severe weather events as membership and patrons are likely to seek shelter from severe weather in a house of worship (60%), school (63%) or nonprofit facility (62%).

“Nonprofit organizations, schools and houses of worship are mission driven and committed to serving their membership, especially during moments of greatest need,” said Eric Spacek, assistant vice president – Risk Control at Church Mutual. “Americans rely on these types of organizations for a wide variety of services, including lodging/shelter, food/meals and communications support. Providing services to membership requires advance planning and preparation to understand and carefully consider risk measures and to adequately prepare before providing services. The last thing these groups want to do is let their membership down.”

Mission and Service Disruption

More than four in five Americans (84%) said they would be impacted if the house of worship, school or nonprofit they rely on was unable to provide services due to severe weather’s effect on the facility. Survey respondents reported they would have nowhere else to go and if their organization was unable to provide services, it would be devastating for them on both a financial and emotional level. Additionally, not being able to seek shelter at these locations, respondents said, would cause them to travel farther from their homes to find resources or they would consider living in their vehicles.

With no services available, respondents reported they would be either very or somewhat likely (81%) to seek services elsewhere, and many said they would not know where else to go. They feel their alternative options would be extremely limited.

“Americans have faith and trust in the nonprofit, school and worship facilities they frequent and support. They rely on these organizations to be prepared to help their members and community in the case of severe weather. Seventy-six percent of respondents believe these sites should have an emergency communications plan in place to keep their members informed,” adds Spacek.

Weather Event Insights

Risk Radar Report – Severe Weather uncovered perceptions on preparations:

• Two in five respondents feel their house of worship, school or nonprofit is prepared for an extreme snowstorm (41%), extreme wind (40%), ice storm (39%) and flooding (38%).

• Respondents feel their organizations should have prepared by insulating pipes in hard-to-reach places (58%) and salting walkways and parking lots ahead of a storm (55%).

• Strikingly, 90% of Americans believe facilities are least prepared for another polar vortex.

Additional severe weather preparedness resources can be found at: Severe Weather Preparedness | Risk Control | Church Mutual.

About Risk Radar Report
Safety in America is the latest in Church Mutual’s Risk Radar initiative that uses proprietary, primary research to gather key, forward-looking insights for nonprofits, schools, camps and houses of worship, helping them maximize opportunities and minimize risk. Risk Radar Report – Safety in America surveyed 1,002 Americans (18+).

About Church Mutual
Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I., founded in 1897, offers specialized insurance for religious organizations of all denominations, public and private K-12 schools, colleges and universities, senior living facilities, secular and non-secular camps and conference centers, and nonprofit and human services organizations throughout the United States. To learn more, visit

1Church Mutual is a stock insurer whose policyholders are members of the parent mutual holding company formed on 1/1/20. S.I. = a stock insurer.

Connect with:
  • Eric Spacek, J.D.
    Eric Spacek, J.D. Assistant Vice President - Risk Control

    Eric Offers Insight into Risk Management and Crisis Response Protocols for Houses of Worship and Other Facilities.

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