COVID-19 Emergency Relief Funding
Whether a natural emergency or pandemic, disasters of all types typically cause a dramatic increase in aid as individuals, corporations, and foundations adjust their giving strategies to support impacted communities. However, the current COVID-19 pandemic does not follow conventional disaster-response patterns and there are few comparisons to draw on to determine how funders should and may likely respond.
With that in mind, as COVID-19 continues to impact our communities, many corporations and foundations are acting quickly to steer emergency relief to the front lines of this pandemic and to nonprofit organizations working to mitigate the impact of COVID-19. As you adapt your fundraising efforts during this crisis, here are a few strategies and resources to consider.
With many organizations already feeling the impact of the current economic situation, competition over relief funds will be fierce. If your organization wants to secure COVID-19 relief funding from foundations and corporations, you must prioritize connecting with funders immediately and begin the application process. The quicker you act on funding opportunities, the better.
Start with Current Funders
To maximize your time and effectiveness, start by connecting with your current funders and those with whom you have the strongest relationships. Use this as an opportunity to confirm the status of already committed funding and update funders on your current work and COVID-19 response. Explore opportunities for additional funding to support any COVID-19-related work you may be doing or other ways to offset the impact of the crisis on your nonprofit. This is the perfect opportunity to deepen your relationships with current funders and demonstrate that your programming is nimble and responsive to community needs.
Do Your Research
Research which COVID-19 relief funds are best aligned with your organization’s current needs and focus. For example, some funders are offering general operating support to alleviate the financial pressure for nonprofits losing operating revenue during this time, while others are focused on supporting organizations providing direct services. See the resources linked below to search for COVID-19 relief funding that aligns most with your organization’s current needs.
To date, 426 organizations have signed the Council on Foundations’ COVID-19 Pledge and dozens of multinational corporations have publicly committed millions of dollars to fight this pandemic. These numbers have increased dramatically in the past week. As the situation evolves, make sure you are checking foundation and corporate giving websites.
Utilize These Resources
Here are just a few resources to help alleviate the impact of COVID-19 on your nonprofit:
- NPR: What’s Inside The Senate’s $2 Trillion Coronavirus Aid Package
- JUST Capital: The COVID-19 Corporate Response Tracker – this tracker analyzes how corporations are responding to the crisis. By selecting “Community Relief Fund” in the policy filter, you can view companies that have committed funds to communities in response to COVID-19.
- Council on Foundations: A CALL TO ACTION: PHILANTHROPY’S COMMITMENT DURING COVID-19 – this provides an updated list of foundations that have committed to relaxing funding and reporting requirements during this crisis.
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy: Help for Nonprofits During the Coronavirus and Uncertain Economic Times – this special report is updated daily with articles to help nonprofits plan and prepare for the impact of the coronavirus on its workers, volunteers and finances.
- Philanthropy News Digest: Foundations Pledge Support for COVID-19 Relief – this report is regularly updated with a roundup of grants for COVID-19 relief funding.
- Duke Fuqua School of Business #Covid19 Capital Relief – a comprehensive, searchable database including grants, loans, and other cash equivalents that can help entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and businesses anywhere in the world.
- New York and DC-area Community Foundations with COVID-19 Relief Funds
- Local and State Government Websites
- Some state and local governments have voted on or proposed emergency funding for nonprofits. Check your state, city, and county government websites for updates on COVID-19 related legislation and funding. This is a good time to be in touch with any government contacts your organization has to stay current as legislation progresses.
Whether your organization has lost operating revenue due to COVID-19 or you are on the frontlines providing essential services, corporations and foundations can be a beacon of hope during this unprecedented time of need. As you plan for the weeks and months ahead, focus on pivoting your foundation and corporate strategy to ensure you can access vital relief funding that can help sustain your organization during and in the aftermath of this pandemic.