As I’m listening, watching, and experiencing the early, but already devastating impacts of our Pandemic, I am thinking about all of the incredible loss of life, loved ones and livelihoods occurring at a rapid pace. We are clearly just beginning our battle with COVID-19. In the mix of personal and community upheaval, I’m asking myself: What does COVID-19 mean for the future of nonprofit-fundraising?
We know the U.S. economy has experienced its most dramatic shifts in decades in the past week, and as the Government injects funds to support the market, I wonder about nonprofits who must surely be questioning the security of their funding streams from corporate and Government entities as well as others. I see several emergent changes in the funding landscape.
Funders will delay their funding. This is clear with government entities like the IRS who is pushing back deadlines on the Federal front, and local Government entities like Bernalillo County who delayed their RFP process for Multi-Awards for Behavioral Health Initiatives. While the hardest hit funders take time to regroup, we need not wait for them or wonder what their funding availability will be on the other side of COVID-19. We can thank them for their support in prior years, and stay tuned to their communications to be apprised of changes as they occur.
Funders will shift their funding focus to support emergent needs. Whatever your nonprofit’s response to COVID-19, whether direct or indirect support, I believe funders will make new pools of money available for creative uses to combat the destruction caused by the virus. The Santa Fe Community Foundation created a COVID-19 Response Fund to address gaps in food security and income during the Pandemic. The Albuquerque Community Foundation deployed an Emergency Action Fund to support nonprofit organizations struggling with lost and non-recoverable revenue expenses due to COVID-19. These two local examples represent a movement by funders to meet a growing need for a variety support funding.
New funding sources will be created. For example: Sheryl Sandberg, out of Silicon Valley has launched a 5.5 million COVID-19 food bank fund. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has announced COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator, a $125 million fund earmarked to innovate drugs that can be developed, produced and delivered in short order. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy created a CDP COVID-19 Response Fund that will focus on supporting local nonprofits working in highly affected areas with the most vulnerable populations. So many funders have responded generously, and more are organizing their responses at this moment.
Numerous organizations will face budget shortfalls, staff layoffs and closures in coming days. Still, many of these organizations will pivot, reinvent, downsize, and source new revenue streams to continue meeting their missions, however differently that looks.
Now is a critical time for nonprofits to be emboldened and continue to provide critical services, as safely and efficiently as possible. It is the time for nonprofit fundraisers to band together, share information regarding new funding resources and hold the vision that funders will continue to invest in our sector.
Thank you to the countless nonprofits that are filling in the gaps of our systems at the moment. Thank you to the funders who are re-imagining their funding structures and responding already with newly designated funding streams. There is hope, even in this uncertain and tumultuous time.