Afterschool programs across the country are trying to adapt their fundraising strategies and stay solvent on the fly. Particularly for programs that are tied to closed schools, rely on fee-based income, or serve populations that are highly at-risk, program directors are trying to find creative ways to keep their programs afloat. Here, you’ll find answers to pressing financial questions, fundraising strategies, potential partners, and grant opportunities, all to help your program adapt and respond.
The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County in Wisconsin, in partnership with the United Way and community leaders, raised more than $100,000 via an online donation drive in less than 10 hours to support families affected by COVID-19 in their community. Donations will go toward medical supplies, meals for children who would otherwise get them at school, to local shelters, college students in need of temporary housing and meals, and to senior citizens who may need meals, transportation and medical assistance.
Afterschool Funding & Sustainability
Horton's Kids leadership team discuss the financial challenges they are facing during COVID-19 closures and how they are pivoting to bring in new public and private funding and using new flexible guidelines to continue to serve their community impactfully.
Request Flexibility from Existing Funders
Many foundations have signed onto pledges to loosen restrictions on existing grants, make new grants as unrestricted as possible, reduce reporting requirements, and otherwise work to support COVID-19 response efforts in local communities. The Council of Foundations maintains a growing list of funders that have signed this pledge: https://www.cof.org/news/call-action-philanthropys-commitment-during-covid-19. If you haven't already, reach out to your funders to see if there are ways they can better support your organization. Some questions to consider asking:
- Is it possible to convert program funds to unrestricted funds to allow for general operations?
- How can I use existing funds to continue to pay my staff?
- Can we transition funds to help pay for infrastructure to facilitate virtual learning?
- Can we postpone deliverable or reporting requirements during this time?
Seek Emergency Funding
A number of organizations are stepping up to provide relief funding for COVID-19 activities. We will continue to look for opportunities to share:
- New York Community Trust grants for NYC nonprofits struggling with the health and economic effects of the coronavirus and/or those trying to meet the new and urgent needs that are hitting the city, especially health care and food security.
- Chicago Community Trust, in partnership with the City of Chicago and United Way of Metro Chicago, has launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to support nonprofits in the region as health and human service organizations are experience a surge in demand.
- Walmart has created a $25 million fund to support organizations on the frontlines of the outbreak.
- No Kid Hungry is offering emergency grants to support local school districts and nonprofit organizations in their efforts to ensure kids get the nutritious food they need.
- Candid.org has a list of funds specifically established in the wake of COVID-19.
Fiscal Management/Crisis Tools
During times of crisis, the fiscal outlook of an organization can change abruptly.
To assist organizations in planning for their financial sustainability, the Overdeck Family Foundation, in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance and Grafe Consulting, produced a financial planning tool to assist nonprofit leaders with scenario planning during these uncertain times. The workbook, an Excel template, allows afterschool organizations to forecast revenue, expenses, and cash, and to create multiple scenarios to evaluate financial sustainability in a fast-changing environment. Here's a brief guide on how to use the template.
The Wallace Foundation has partnered with Fiscal Management Associates, a national capacity-building firm that advises nonprofits on strategic financial management, to help nonprofits assess their fiscal situation and make adjustments.
- Read this blog from Fiscal Management Associates CEO Hilda Polanco, Managing Nonprofit Finances During the Coronavirus Crisis (posted 3/25/20)
- Strongnonprofits.org – visit for free guidance on nonprofit financial management, including tools on creating a revised program budget, developing dashboards and targets for assessing health in an ongoing manner, and a cost analysis toolkit.
What assistance from the CARES Act is available for non-profits and small businesses to support them financially during to fiscal challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
There are four major provisions to support nonprofits (and in some cases small businesses) included in the CARES Act, as well as paid sick leave and FMLA provisions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These include:
The Act allows virtually all employers to delay payments of employer side Social Security taxes for the period from March 27, 2020, through December 31, 2020 (the “payroll tax deferral period”). Half of the deferred taxes are due by December 31, 2021; the other half by December 31, 2022. This provision does not apply to employers who have a covered small business loan forgiven under Section 1106 of the Act.
The Act also allows self-employed individuals to delay payments of 50% of the Social Security component of self-employment taxes for the payroll tax deferral period. Half of the deferred taxes are due by December 31, 2021; the other half by December 31, 2022.
Under the CARES Act stimulus bill, nonprofits and small businesses with fewer than 500 employees will be eligible for loans to meet payroll and other qualifying costs. Much of the loan is forgivable if you keep staff on payroll during the loan period (currently March 1 through June 30). This, in essence, turns a portion of the loan into a GOS grant. The total loan fund is expected to be $349B, and loans will be given out on a first-come, first-served basis. Recipients do not have to certify that they are unable to obtain credit elsewhere.
- Loan amount is 2.5 times the organization’s average monthly payroll, with pay capped at $100,000 per employee
- Up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs will be forgiven if the business retains its employees and their salary levels through June 30
- The application is not yet live, but details are emerging on the SBA website; we encourage you to keep checking the website and complete the application as soon as it becomes available
- Loans offer up to $2M in assistance
- The interest rate for nonprofits is 2.75%, with repayment terms of up to 30 years. Funds may be used to pay fixed debt, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that can’t be paid due to the impact of restrictions
- Organizations cannot receive funding from both programs unless the loan applications are for different purposes (i.e. personnel and rent costs for 7(a) and other operating expenses for EIDL)
More resources and information are available here:
- CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY LOANS Guide and Checklist for Small Businesses and Nonprofits from Chamber of Commerce Foundation
- The CARES Act Relief Funds Toolkit
- CARES Act
- Paycheck Protection Program and EIDL Grant Flowchart
- Fiscal Strength for Nonprofits: Paycheck Protection Program Toolbox