Turning to Grantmakers During the Coronavirus Crisis

3 min read

Starting this post on a personal note, I want to thank you all for your comradery during this time. When everything seems so uncertain, I’m reminded we’re all in this together. Over the past several weeks, I’ve connected with so many of you about your challenges, but also about your hopes for what a better world can look like on the other side. 

At Prosper, we spent March providing insights about COVID-19 and your nonprofit, addressing strategies for coping with revenue loss, and sharing advice for taking your in-person events online. We also developed your nonprofit’s Coronavirus Crisis Communications Checklist. We’ll continue to develop and share resources and insights for as long as we need to. Today, I want to turn your attention to how you might leverage institutional funders during this time.

Explore Government Support & Grants

By now, you’re probably all aware of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Relief (CARE) Act. The National Council for Nonprofits put together an excellent rundown about what’s in it for nonprofits. The Chronicle of Philanthropy also breaks it down nicely, noting that many nonprofits are eligible for loans that could largely be forgiven. The bill also expands charitable tax deductions to all taxpayers for a year. 

In addition to the CARE Act, many states have developed additional supports for nonprofits of all sizes. Again, the National Council for Nonprofits provides a state by state breakdown of what’s available. Candid has also compiled a list of financial resources to help nonprofits, small businesses and individuals. 

Reach Out to Your Current Funders

If you’ve yet to connect with your current institutional funders, now is the time. Many foundations are transitioning what were once restricted grants into unrestricted ones. In fact, nearly 500 grantmakers (with more signing on daily) pledged to loosen or eliminate their restrictions on nonprofit funding. Others are shifting payment schedules to give their grantees much-needed funding more immediately and/or reducing reporting requirements to decrease the burden on nonprofits serving on the front lines. Peak Grantmaking reviews a comprehensive list of the steps grantmakers are taking to provide relief to nonprofits during this time.

Seek Out Emergency Funds and New Grantmakers

There are also a number of emergency response funds now available. They are being tracked by Candid. In many places, grantmakers are coming together to develop common applications to make applying for funding easier, and they are coordinating funding strategies behind the scenes to deploy resources to as many organizations as possible.

Additionally, numerous corporate foundations have also announced new grant opportunities

While the novel coronavirus has turned our world on its head, many view the quick and dramatic action taken by funders as a good thing, and are calling on these practices to become not temporary solutions, but a “new set of grantmaking principles.” As I shared, we’re going to continue to share resources and content to support all of you through this time. If there are specific topics you’d like us to cover, contact us at hello@prosper-strategies.com.

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