Coronavirus (COVID-19) is likely the first pandemic many of us are living through. If you work in the social impact sector (either at a nonprofit or social enterprise), you are probably thinking about the safety of yourself and your loved ones, as well as your team and the people relying on your organization every day. During the current outbreak of the COVID-19, sharing accurate and reliable information can save lives. In the age of fake news and misinformation, it is more important than ever to know how to identify trustworthy sources of information. 

In our efforts to better support our community of social impact leaders and organizations, we collected some tips for you and your team to identify the “good” from the “bad.” This will help keep your community safe, as they look to you for guidance on how to address this rapidly-changing situation. 

1. A reliable source is named and referenced

You have all seen posts from “an experienced epidemiologist” or a “doctor from Milan.” While the content may be persuasive, it is not necessarily a reliable source. Look for information and quotes that contain a person’s name and profession. Then, you can search for that individual to further ensure it is accurate information to share. It is even better when readers are provided with a person’s background and relevant knowledge to the information being shared. The best case is when the original source of information, like a report or study, is linked in the article or post. 

2. Search engines are your friends

In addition to searching for someone’s background, you can also use search engines (such as Google) to research the central claims of an article or suspicious statements. You will often find that they have been disproven or debunked after they were originally published. This can help you decide whether to still share or perhaps keep looking to find information that is still accurate.

3. Timing is everything

Double-check when your information was published, particularly when sharing information about COVID-19 given that the situation seems to be changing by the day. Go back and check when the sources they are citing were published too; quotes about a different viral outbreak may not apply to your current situation. Your team and your beneficiaries will thank you for your due diligence!

4. Images matter

Use the tools above to check on the images from an article or post, particularly photographs. You can do a reverse image search to see whether the image use is relevant to the article shared, or just being used to incite panic and even racial tensions. COVID-19 is a global problem, not a localized one. By treating images with the same level of care as other content, you can help by being part of the solution.  

5. Check and double-check everything, even from us

You should always question the information being presented to you, even if you agree with the content. Here are some ways in which you can become a critical consumer of information and help save lives: 

Trustworthy Sources We Love

We are following the steps above and have identified the following reliable sources of information relating to COVID-19. They are: 

Learn More

We will continue developing resources for social impact organizations, our goal is to support your teams now as much as ever. As a small nonprofit ourselves, we know any additional support and guidance organizations receive can make the difference between surviving a crisis and making some difficult decisions. We are here for you.

In the next two weeks, we will be publishing free COVID-19 courses for your team and regularly update our COVID-19 Resources page here. Have a suggestion? Let us know on Facebook how we can best support you during this time. 

March 18, 2020



Gina is our Marketing Manager at Philanthropy U. She has a background in international education, international development and scaling enterprises.