6 Next Steps for Nonprofits to Take in Seeking Emergency COVID-19 Grant Funding

A jar full of coins labeled emergency

Large and mid-size grantmaking foundations are providing vital relief funds to nonprofits and fellow organizations focused on local and state-driven recovery efforts in response to COVID-19. Emergency relief funding and coronavirus-related grant funding is growing, and outpacing government-sourced response funds.

Community Brands partnered with Cause IQ, a leading nonprofit industry data insights provider, to understand and identify COVID-19 relief funds for nonprofit organizations outside of government response funding. Cause IQ conducted an analysis identifying 1,500 grantmaking organizations and foundations with established COVID-19 related grant opportunities aimed to help those organizations driving key efforts across and services to their local communities.

So how can your organization gain access to these relief fund opportunities?

6 Next Steps to Take in Seeking Emergency COVID-19 Grant Funding:

1. Assess Your Organization – gather executive staff, finance teams, program and development leadership, as well as board members to assess where the organization is today and understand the impacts and pivots that have already taken place/need to take place to sustain the mission. Re-align strategy, core objectives, and business priorities to new organizational goals.

2. Assess Your Financial Position – how is your organization currently performing? Ensure you’ve conducted a mid-year budget assessment to gain visibility into budgeted versus actual financial performance to date and key variances. Ensure leadership across the organization understands increases, decreases and changes across revenues, expenses, and funding.

Determine where the need is for funding relief, aligning to your new organizational goals and in support of key programs or services. Consider these key questions:

  • Is there an unexpected need or opportunity to expand a program or service – or create new programs or services?
  • Is there an unexpected need or opportunity to serve new populations?
  • Are there expense increases or decreases in response to a change business operations?
  • Did you lose a source of funding originally planned for?
  • Has the organization had to postpone or cancel vital fundraising events and efforts?

3. Identify Your Needs – Before embarking on a new or expansive search for funding sources, identify all those areas of need for additional funding, getting as general and specific as possible to aid in matching those needs to potential grants and grantmakers, such as:

  • food, general supplies, and assistance to low-income families/seniors/homeless
  • technology for delivery of remote services/programs
  • remote technology for employees
  • PPE supplies and sanitization/cleaning and reopening expenses
  • domestic violence shelters, mental health and addiction services
  • emergency assistance to essential workers

4. Find a Grant Match – Start your search, or expand your current search, with an initial review of the trends and list of nonprofits providing COVID-19 relief funds generated by CauseIQ. To get the most out of these findings and to locate a potential grantmaker:

  • Review the trends. You’ll find most of the foundations providing COVID-19 funds are city or state level – meaning they are likely awarding grants to organizations in and around the same state, or larger regional area.
  • Search a Grantmaker. Search your city, nearest major city, or state to identify a grantmaker that has regional proximity to your organization. Also search for focus area/mission keywords (such as “arts” or “community”)
    Find more details about each Foundation listed directly on their CauseIQ profile page, like program areas, grant expenses, and peer organizations

  • Identify a Grantmaker match. Link directly to a foundation or grantmaker’s website to locate details, deadlines, grant recipients and amounts, and guidelines to the application process for that any particular COVID-19 Emergency Response or Relief Fund

5. Continue Your Search – Leverage these trends and findings to expand your search further and match your organization to other relief fund opportunities, other great resources reated to COVID-19 grants and grant funding can be found through:

6. Rebuild and Restore – Leverage existing or new technology, tools, and industry solutions to further support your organization in obtaining, tracking, and managing new and existing funding dollars you receive.

Many nonprofit organizations have been able to achieve grants specifically supporting technology for employees and new technology enabling organizations to continue to provide and/or expand services and programs.

Critical New Technology Solutions to Consider:

  • Fund Accounting System
    Changes in funding sources, complexity in reporting, and continuous budget assessment, plus the need to handle key human resource and payroll management requires a robust end-to-end nonprofit accounting solution
  • Event Fundraising Tools
    Vital fundraising events continue to postpone, avoid losing precious donation dollars by turning your fundraising event into a successful virtual or hybrid campaign
  • Donations
    Spruce up, or quickly add to your website, the ability for new and existing donors to more easily donate to your organization’s programs with a dedicated COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Learn more about how Community Brands Nonprofit Solutions, including MIP Fund Accounting® and GiveSmart®, can help you attract and grow your donor base, increase virtual fundraising dollars, track funds, report on grants, and minimize risk.

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