Nonprofit Tips in the Era of COVID-19: Supporting Communities and Fundraising for Our Movements
Updated: Mar 29
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is creating a lot of stress and panic as the information being shared by the media and politicians continues to shift. In the nonprofit field, we do not know yet how this will impact the ability to fundraise, lead social movements, or provide services. Now is the time to create short, intermediate, and long-term plans around the public health concern and how it specifically impacts your communities. Nonprofits are going to be looked to during these times to step up as they have during other national disasters or crises. It is the obligation of all of our organizations to protect public health and responsibly keep our movements going to protect and serve our constituents.
While the long-term impact is unclear, there are ways you can engage with your communities during this time:
Practice everyday prevention; recommendations from the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization are hyperlinked. There are also COVID-19 guidelines for nonprofits.
Understand how COVID-19 impact differs for disabled, elderly, immune-suppressed versus healthy, able-bodied people. This may look like aiding particularly impacted communities, stocking items to share with sick or disabled folks who are in short supply and checking in with isolated folks to engage them while they are homebound.
Acts of bullying, harassment, and violence against Asians and Asian Americans are intensifying due to xenophobia and racism. Those who have been bullied or harassed should be encouraged to report the bullying or hate crime to law enforcement, appropriate officials, the US Department of Justice, or a civil rights group like Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), or Southern Poverty Law Center.
In many situations, witnesses and bystanders have been slow to intervene. Nonprofits can help educate bystanders to intervene in a way where they can support the community member who is being harassed through nonviolence, de-escalation, and compassion for others. Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition in Maryland has free bystander intervention training materials.
Move in-person training or info sessions online – Zoom, Skype, FreeConferenceCall are all services you can use for free or inexpensively to connect with large groups. These sessions can be recorded and shared via social media and your website to maximize impact.
Encourage your community to remain involved with your mission through a stay at home or virtual option. David Solnit’s Climate Justice Actions “Plan C” has excellent alternatives for folks to do from home and online for social movements that can be reimagined for other nonprofit work.
Collaborate with grassroots and community-based organizations who may have a pulse on the needs of communities that are particularly impacted by the outbreak such as immigrants, seniors, disabled, immune-suppressed, chronically ill, homeless, and other vulnerable communities. By aligning diverse interests and resources, nonprofits can work together to fight the outbreak.
Racial Equity Tools has compiled COVID-19 - Racial Equity & Social Justice Resources that provide a range of resources that look at the big picture, response strategies, community care, organizing resources, online engagement, among other resources.
Center for Disaster Philanthropy has funding to support healthcare workers, quarantined and vulnerable individuals, and hygiene promotion (WASH) activities.
Community foundations such as ACT for Alexandria, Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Seattle Foundation, Dallas Foundation, and Communities Foundation of Texas, among others, are creating COVID-19 Response Funds.
Giving Compass and National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP) is building a comprehensive list of vetted COVID-19 relief funds. You can also explore local funds with NCFP's map.
Council on Foundations has compiled a google document of COVID-19 relief funds.
New Economy Coalition has compiled existing resource kits as well as regional, national, and international grant opportunities.
Native Americans in Philanthropy is partnering with the Decolonizing Wealth Project and the National Urban Indian Family Coalition in establishing the Native American Community Response Fund to provide emergency support for the most vulnerable Native American families and communities impacted by COVID-19.
Dunkin' Joy in Childhood Foundation is activating $1.25 million in emergency funding to support frontline organizations of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response. Applicants must be 501(c)(3) organizations in the health or hunger relief field providing essential services to people impacted by COVID-19. The Foundation plans to review applications on a rolling basis and approve funding as soon as possible. Grants typically range from $5,000 to $25,000, but larger amounts will be considered.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has launched a Coronavirus Local Response Initiative to help American mayors respond to the rapidly evolving Coronavirus. Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with partners to identify the needs and lessons learned from cities experiencing the outbreak in real-time, which can then be shared with additional cities eager to get ahead of the virus' spread. This is open to all U.S. cities and will accommodate as many participants as possible. Interested mayors and city leaders should email firstname.lastname@example.org to apply.
Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation provides support in the company's service territory in Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Through the Coronavirus Relief Grants, the foundation is offering $750,000 in grants to address immediate human needs related to the pandemic. Priority will be given to eligible nonprofit organizations whose efforts provide direct services to clients impacted by the Coronavirus. The application deadline is April 15, 2020.
Fidelity has a Charitable Giving Guide for COVID-19 that provides ways that donors can help vulnerable populations.
The CDC plans to award $560+ million to state and local jurisdictions in support of COVID-19 response.
Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate.
District of Columbia Economic Recovery Microgrants are available from Washington D.C. Mayor's Office for small businesses, independent contractors, or nonprofits in D.C.
Mutual aid networks are appearing on social media to informally address the needs of community members. The PDX Covid-19 Mutual Aid Network has a Facebook and Instagram page for Portland. A nationwide list of mutual aid groups is available at Autonomous Groups Are Mobilizing Mutual Aid Initiatives To Combat The Coronavirus.
*We are continuing to update this blog as new resources become available.