We may be stuck at home, anxiety-ridden and worried about our new quarantine reality, but that is not a reason to put your nonprofit on hold, however!
Nonprofits all over the country are adapting in creative ways. New tools and resources to help you are being developed on a daily basis, including dozens of new opportunities for emergency funding.
Here are some tips and links to information that might be able to help you get through until you can open up your office again.
Emergency Funds for COVID Relief
How are you going to keep paying for your staff and freelancers if you can’t run your programs and raise money? This is plaguing nonprofits across the country. Luckily, generous people and your local and federal government are all opening up ways to access funds to get you through.
- Federal stimulus grants. You can apply for a quick $10,000 injection of cash, right now, from the first stimulus package that was passed in March. Go to the Small Business Administration Portal to apply. You can request more, in the form of loans, if you need it as well.
- Candid put together a fantastic list: Funds for Coronavirus Relief
- Good article by The New Humanitarian about other funds available and also big charities that need help.
- Check your state for funding opportunities. Every state has different opportunities, but many are quickly releasing new funds for different sectors that need help. California, for instance, updates an action page that lists all new opportunities.
- GrantStation has a very long list of open calls, on international, national and local levels. Hundreds of community foundations are opening up funds, so check the ones in your local area.
- The Chronicle of Philanthropy is regularly updating a list of new funds from the Foundation world.
- Facebook opened up a $100 million fund to help small companies keep going.
- Art, artist and culture related aid and grants, including nonprofits.
Also read: 7 Steps to Make Your Nonprofit Known Locally
Tools to Set Up Your Virtual Office
Many nonprofits do not have a specific strategy in place for instructing their staff and volunteers on how to work at home. You can indeed do this, and should! The National Council of Nonprofits has a great guide for helping you create a remote worker strategy.
But for now, you likely need a quick transition. The first thing on the list is a high functioning video conferencing and online working platform. These can be pricey, but lots of companies are stepping up and offering free or discounted access for the next few months while we quarantine.
- Microsoft Teams has opened up free access.
- Basecamp has a free service available for light use. It’s a simple to use project management software that can help you get your team working in the same space, virtually.
- Also take a look at Zoom, Webex and Skype for video conferencing.
You might also have to help your team mentally orient to focusing on work where they usually rest. This is more complicated than we think it will be, especially if you do not have a home office! Here are 5 tips from Inc. for working from home for the first time.
Good News From the Philanthropy Front!
Maybe what we need right now, more than anything else, is some positive news. Market crashes and forecasts of the next recession might mean that some foundations and trusts tighten their purse strings. But that does not mean that philanthropy will shut off! The Chronicle of Philanthropy marked the following big donations last week:
- Michael and Susan Dell pledged $100 million to coronavirus efforts.
- Jeff Bezos pledged $100 million to Feeding America, for a rapid response fund.
- Oprah, Angelina Jolie, and Dolly Parton have all given $1 million to different efforts.
Here is a list of how celebrities are helping during the coronavirus pandemic. (Billboard Magazine)
Even in these anxious times, there are many reasons to stay positive! There are hundreds (if not thousands) of organizations and people out there trying to help you through.
And if you take the time now to help your team work remotely, it can help you in the long run. You can save on your operating expenses and give your staff more “flex” time not only now, but into the future. You might even discover creative ways to move some of your program work to your new virtual platforms!
Do you have any tips for applying for emergency funds? Or how you keep motivated working from home? Please let us know in the comments!