Candid does not give grants/donations, suggest specific funders, or approach them on your behalf. More about Candid’s mission. Please refer to the tips and websites in this article.

**For emergency funding due to COVID-19-related hardships, refer to Candid's Coronavirus web page for a list of funding opportunities/RFPs.**

Even with a clear fundraising plan in place, nonprofits sometimes can find themselves temporarily short of cash, due to unforeseen circumstances like disasters or delays in payments.

Here are some tips from consultants Tom Triplett and Alexis Cress:

  • All hands on deck. Reach out to your former and current donors, suppliers, board members, and clients, through as many channels as possible (email, social media, web, phone, etc.). Tell them your situation, and ask them for help. Ask your board members to reach out to their contacts.
  • Increase earned income. Raise prices on good/services. Sell "backroom" services that your nonprofit can provide for others, like office space, human resources, accounting, fiscal sponsorship, or consulting.
  • Ask about discretionary funds. Some foundations allow senior staff to make small grants without having to go through the usual full application process. Call each of your current funders to see if this possibility exists.
  • Ask about emergency loan/grant programs. Call your local United Way or community foundation. For small and mid-sized arts organizations, the Arts Loan Fund (ALF), gives nonprofits low-interest loans for sudden cash-flow needs like bridge funding, upfront capital for a fundraiser or performance, facility renovation, or debt consolidation. Also try searching Foundation Directory under ADVANCED SEARCH AND FILTERS by typing EMERGENCY FUNDS in the SUPPORT STRATEGY box. Subscribe to Foundation Directory or search for free at our Candid partner locations. Eligible nonprofits with revenue or expenses under $1M can also gain a free year of access to Foundation Directory Essential through our Go for Gold! promotion.

Key points to remember:

  • Use several methods to raise cash.
  • Ask your current donors for help, and ask them to share your appeal with their networks.
  • Give thanks and status updates to your supporters frequently.
  • Revisit your organization's finances - lower expenses, increase income, tweak business models, etc. - and communicate your new plans to your supporters to show how your organization will avoid cash flow problems in the future.

In her newsletter Seeking Grant Money Today, Arlene M. Spencer also offers advice to nonprofits on finding Emergency Grants.

For more information, see our related Knowledge Base articles:

- How much should my nonprofit have in its operating reserve?

- Where can I learn more about fundraising planning?

- What's the difference between contingency and scenario planning? Where can I learn more about these topics?

- What is Risk Management?



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