Go-To Guides


Grants Plus Guide to Grant Seeking During Crisis

In an emergency like the COVID-19 crisis, step your grants effort up, not back. History shows that foundations maintain—and many increase—high levels of giving during the most difficult times. So if you are concerned about your nonprofit’s ability to weather a storm, make seeking grants a high priority

Take these essential steps to protect and even expand your grants gains during a crisis:

Tool 1

Step 1: Assess

  • Anticipate how the crisis will impact your organization’s mission and operations, now and later. Evaluate what services will be disrupted and what programs may change as a result.
  • Calculate any lost revenue and examine projected cash flow. Identify if you will have an income shortfall to meet essential expenses.
  • Especially if your nonprofit is addressing emergency needs, immediately seek available crisis funds. Start by finding out if your local community foundation has an emergency fund.
Tool 2

Step 2: Connect

  • Communicate with each of your current top funders as early as possible. They’ve already invested before and will want to understand how the crisis is affecting your organization.
  • Alert your funder if challenges will prevent you from meeting the terms of an active grant. They may be willing to flex timelines, ease restrictions, or permit the use the funds for different purposes.
  • Ask about the possibility of additional funding to replace lost income or fund your organization’s direct response to the crisis. If available, act fast to follow their requested steps to apply.
Tool 3

Step 3: Prepare

  • In a widespread emergency, needs will grow and so too will competition for grants. The organizations that will secure the most will be those that plant seeds today that can grow into new grants tomorrow.
  • Research new prospective grant funders. You could lose some current funders if they shift priorities to fund urgent needs, so prepare a pipeline of new grant funders to replace them.
  • Update your grant proposals. Even if the crisis won’t dramatically change your organization, the context around you is changing. Your proposal must make a compelling case that your work is relevant now, more than ever.

Learn how we help nonprofits increase their grant seeking success.