Our prayers and love go out to all of you who may have contracted coronavirus or have a family member or loved one that is suffering.

To be sure, it is a very confusing and stressful time. There is fear about today and the future.

Our children are home from school, and some may be trying to figure out how to move forward. We may be figuring out logistics of taking care of our parents or grandparents as well.

We have been getting timely safety precautions from our government and from respected healthcare providers. There are things in our control that we can do to make our environment and community safer.

I encourage all of you to stay up to date as news emerges, but please do not allow this situation to overwhelm you.

As we move forward in this unstable time, we can find peace and calmness in the things we can control and much needed relief in letting go of the things we can’t control.

I know that many of you in nonprofits may be struggling as your big annual fundraising events that fund a large portion of your organizations have had to be canceled. Plus, some of your big corporate funders may not have donations as their highest priority in 2020.

You might also be feeling the stress as a freelance grant writer or as a nonprofit consultant as nonprofits may not be thinking of investing into consultants right now, but on continuing operations.

But I am here with encouragement as there is actually a huge influx of grant funding at this point in time. The federal government in the United States, as well as foundations and corporations have acknowledged the overwhelming need for organizations and small businesses and are releasing funding streams.

Other items to think about during this time are:

  • What are ways to still drive your business forward?
  • Are there new opportunities with working online or thinking out-of-the-box with your work?
  • Has your nonprofit continued in areas that may not have benefited the nonprofit and are there areas that you need to cut, and quite honestly, should have cut before. I’m not talking about staff necessarily, I am talking about investing time in unfruitful outcomes. Maybe investing a ton of time in fundraisers that just didn’t earn a high amount of financial return, but sucked up hours of your time and of your board of directors time. You just kept doing the same old because that’s what was in place before you started working at that nonprofit.

Another item I want to bring up during this time is that I am giving a 50% discount until April 30th on all my Courses.

Because the world needs more grant writers right now, and because some of you may need another stream of income NOW, I have decided to give these discounts.

So if you want to gain skills to open a freelance business right now and to start helping write grants and help nonprofits, this course is now available. Usually I do a hybrid only twice a year for the Freelance Grant Writing Master Course, but I know there is a huge need right now and want to assist.

Okay, let’s move into funding available for nonprofits, small business, and freelancers right now in the United States.

Federal Legislation

In the COVID-19 Tax bill, Nonprofits are included “in a payroll income tax credit as part of federal legislation to provide emergency paid sick leave, more funding for food assistance and unemployment benefits, and coronavirus testing.”

Most often, federal economic stimulus bills are designed to help for-profit businesses through income tax credits, which isn’t relevant to nonprofits as they already have these types of benefits. However, payroll taxes need to be paid by both nonprofit and for-profit organizations alike, so do give a benefit. These payroll tax credits “will go toward reimbursing employers some of the cost of providing two weeks of full paid sick leave, if needed, because of the virus and implications of the virus. The provision applies to any employer with fewer than 500 employees, which is the overwhelming majority of employers in the U.S.”

The bill also includes expansion of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). It allows employees to 12 weeks of unpaid family leave without risk to their jobs. That provision affects only employers with less than 500 employees.

U.S. Small Business Administration: Grants and Loans

“The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.”

Basically, there are 4 types of grants and loan programs for small businesses and nonprofits (including faith-based organizations and churches) under the SBA program.

These loans and grants are also available for solo proprietors. So for all of you freelancers out there, you are eligible even if you are self-employed!

If you visit the following website, click on the yellow COVID-19 banner at the top: https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL):  This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties. You can request an emergency cash advance of up to $10,000, to be disbursed within three days. This advance can be forgiven by the SBA (effectively turned into a grant) if you spend it on maintaining payroll, paid leave, increased costs, mortgage or lease payments, or other financial obligations.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): This is the SBA 7a loan and will be administered initially through your local bank. This loan program provides loan forgiveness for retaining employees by temporarily expanding the traditional SBA 7(a) loan program.

SBA Express Bridge Loans: Enables small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.

SBA Debt Relief: The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please visit https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance to review how to access these grants and loans. Some of the loans, if spent well, will turn into grants that you do not need to pay back.

Grants.Gov

On another note, federal dollars are still being spent. These monies have already been allocated and dedicated for specific funding before the coronavirus. So you may not have to just look for Corona-specific funding as a nonprofit, but apply to those grants you already had in mind. And if you haven’t looked for federal grants yet, be sure to check grants.gov.

I will mention that if you currently have a grant to reach out to your program officer. Cost extensions may be allowable at this point in time. So if you had funding approved to attend a conference right now, but it is cancelled, then you may be able to roll this funding into other categories or extend it another year. In any case, reach out to your program officer to identify specific changes or updates to the existing grant.

Foundation Grants on Instrumentl

Angela Braron, co-Founder of Instrumentl just shared with me this morning a lists of COVID-19 grants. Refer back to episode 107 where we went behind-the-scenes with Angela and she gave a tutorial on how to use the grant research platform! Also, visit this specific link to get access to literally hundreds of COVID-19 grants that are available. You can also get your 15% discount to Instrumentl by visiting Instrumentl and putting in Coupon Code: Holly15. Her team, at Instrumentl is working around the clock updating these grant announcements so make sure you check it out! Thanks so much, Angela!

Facebook Small Business Grants Program

Click here for the link.

Facebook is offering $100 million in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where we operate to help during this challenging time.

Examples of funding include: keep your workforce going strong, help with rental costs, connect with customers, and cover operational costs.

Yelp

Yelp is offering $25 million in waived advertising fees, free advertising, products, and services to small businesses, mainly local restaurants and nightlife establishments, that have been impacted by coronavirus.

The National Council of Nonprofits Resources

Click here to see the link.  The National Council of Nonprofits Resources has an evolving and dynamic page that is regularly updated during the coronavirus outbreak. They recommend that nonprofits review your sick leave policy, your business continuity plan (click here for an example), and reexamine your financial planning.

The bottom line is that federal funding and grants at this point in time is vital, but also is re-examining your organization. If you have not done your Nonprofit Strategic Planning, now is the time!

In an article from Spectrum Services. “From sustainability to survivability’, Steve Zimmerman gives you great information on the following:

  • Understand your cash position
  • Assess damage to revenue streams
  • Look at the dual bottom line
  • Include everyone in the discussion
  • Communicate consistently

To break it down, understanding your financial position is vital at this point in time. Also, being flexible in understanding your fundraisers and donation strategies. Maybe before, you had to pay for dinners at the gala dinner and your expenses were nearly as much as sponsors secured. Plus. it took a lot of time. I mean a lot. What are ways you can go online to still offer value, for example opera houses and classical music societies are going online, and reduce your expenses dramatically which means your income does not have to be as much.

Minnesota Council on Foundations and the St. Paul & Minnesota Foundation

These foundations came together to release the Minnesota Disaster Recovery Fund, and so far has raised for than $7.2 million for state nonprofits and organizations.

We are seeing this trend where state foundations are collaborating to offer larger dollars to nonprofits in a more streamlined approach. Check out your local foundations and foundation umbrellas.

So we are seeing foundations doing this more on a geographic approach, however some are focused more on the specific project focus. This of course, is similar to regular foundation giving approaches.

The U.S. Chamber Foundation

The U.S. Chamber Foundation is giving out an array of funding.

Even celebrity foundations are giving out aid for nonprofits affected by coronavirus.

Rihanna’s Clara Lionel foundation

Rihanna’s foundation donated $5 million to help nonprofits and organizations fighting coronavirus. Click here for more information.

Other celebrities are also donating to organizations, so check them out to see if your nonprofit fits their eligibility.

Certain nonprofits are also turning to online crowdfunding.

Global Giving Crowdfunding

For example, global giving has an online crowdfunding campaign with an aim to raise $5 million. They have an excellent example of a how and why story. So if you need some tips on how to structure your crowdfunding campaign, they offer a great example.

Okay to sum up, if you are working at or spearhead a nonprofit, run a small company, or are a freelancer you can tap into funding right now if you have been affected by the coronavirus.

There are federal programs available, corporate funding, foundation funding, grants, and crowdfunding available.

Right now there is so much content out there that is rapidly changing. However, I do recommend you apply now as most of this funding is a first-come, first-served basis and all entities are working hard to pump out funding quickly.

I encourage you all to stay safe and stay home while we navigate this new funding arena.

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