Grant money is slow to get. There’s the application period, evaluation phase by the foundation, approval (hopefully), and then a period of time before the nonprofit gets the check. What if a nonprofit needs money now?
The “now” can be some catastrophic event like a hurricane, wildfires, or a virus that affects a lot of people. When this happens, foundations send checks out of cycle and without the need for much paperwork. Yet, there are “now” events that affect only one nonprofit.
This is why relationships are important. But, don’t run to a foundation asking for help when something happens. Evaluate the emergency situation, gather facts and data, reasons for the emergency, and plans for a solution. It is very important to lay out all this information before meeting with the foundation’s board members.
A grant writer should write up a complete explanation with a way-ahead. Most people understand that emergencies occur; however, they are not willing to give money that may not solve the problem. The key is assuring confidence the emergency is under control.
The emergency may not be in total control by the nonprofit staff and leadership. Yet, it should be enough that there is a reasonable chance of success. Foundations (like most people) enjoy honesty.
I wrote this blog because of a recent similar experience. A nonprofit I worked with was renovating an historic building. Of course, old buildings do not like to be renovated. When they are opened, they reveal surprises.
I convinced the nonprofit staff to step back and evaluate the situation. The building was still standing (yeah!). The immediate goal was to keep it that way. We are in the process of collecting photographs, getting help from a local architect, and presenting our findings to a local foundation. A work in progress, but things look hopeful.