Leveraging Grants during Challenging Times

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is placing severe challenges on businesses, nonprofits, and local governments throughout the Granite State. Organizations are struggling to retain staff, pay bills, and support their operations as customers and donors dry up. Despite these operational challenges, organizations and local governments are stepping up to continue to offer their existing programs and services, and event to expand as countless new challenges arise each day.

The current health crisis necessitates that nonprofits and local governments navigate an uncertain funding environment and leverage grants to meet their current operational and programmatic needs. Additionally, the current crisis presents an opportunity to leverage new grant sources to expand impactful programming and services and to move new projects forward to meet the needs of communities and NH citizens.

Funding Opportunities

Grants

Traditional grants are a gift of money that doesn’t have to be repaid, but have strings attached like reporting and evaluation requirements and a commitment to spend the money on a prescribed projects.

  • The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation’s Community Crisis Action fund is providing $2.5 million in funding to New Hampshire nonprofits. This includes immediate unrestricted funding to frontline organizations involved in the crisis response, as well as strategic grants to address longer-term challenges arising from COVID-19.
  • The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) compiled a comprehensive list of resources that are available at the federal level. USDA Rural Development has funding for nonprofits and local governments that supports economic development, small businesses, and infrastructure projects. Additionally, the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Department of Transportation, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development have existing programs, and will likely see increased funding should a stimulus bill emerge in the coming months.
  • Local communities and organizations are also launching their own recovery funds. Rotary Clubs and the United Way are supporting initiatives in communities throughout the state and the Restaurant Strong Foundation and the NH Hospitality Employee Relief Fund are supporting restaurant and hospitality workers statewide.

Loans and Loans to Grants

A loan is a sum of money that is expected to be paid back with interest. A loan to grant is an agreement that allows some or the entire loaned amount to be forgiven if the recipient meets a set of requirements. Many federal entities and nonprofits are offering very low interest loans or loan-to-grant programs right now to get money to businesses and nonprofits that are most in need.

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is administering the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL). The PPP is a forgivable loan to encourage small businesses to keep on employees while the EIDL is a low-interest loan, with the first $10,000 forgiven. The NH Small Business Development Center offers a great overview of these two programs, as well as a number of other SBA programs targeted at small businesses.
  • The NH Community Development Finance Authority is currently accepting applications as part of their Nonprofit Response Fund. This program offers nonprofits doing critical work low interest loans, with 0% interest for the first year, and the potential to have a portion of the loan forgiven.

These are just a small sample of the funding opportunities that are currently available for nonprofits, communities, and businesses. Countless other funding opportunities that are available by tracking grant directories like the NH Center for Nonprofit’s Funding Alerts, the federal government’s Grants.gov, and The Foundation Directory.

Tips for Grant Writing

The hardest part for novice grant writers is figuring out where to get started. For many, it is best to start with a plan: compile a list of grants that you are eligible for, track deadlines and application requirements, and begin crafting a narrative that demonstrates why you are in needs of funds. For inspiration on diving into grant writing, check out 5 Excuses to Not Apply for Grants and How to Overcome Them.

For more information on grant writing, watch the recording of the recent webinar, Leveraging Grants During Challenging Times, or reach out to Stephen Meno or Jared Reynolds if you are interested in our in-depth workshop, Gearing Up for Grant Writing.