As the pandemic rages on, more and more organizations are acknowledging that this crisis didn’t create disparities, it exacerbated existing inequities. And it raised the stakes.

As a social impact and grants management platform with clients across the philanthropic sector, the Submittable team has gotten a unique view of the crisis response. This year, many of our clients reimagined their approach to aid, prioritizing speed, flexibility, and trust to get help to those who needed it most. With this shift, there is an opportunity to rethink grantmaking on a broader scale.

The organizations that centered their funder-grantee relationships on trust and streamlined processes were able to deliver aid quickly to those in need. Funders reimagined their methods and prioritized the community’s needs over their own. This meant stripping away stipulations about how money could be spent, cutting down the application requirements, or automatically renewing grants for trusted organizations.

Over a year into the pandemic, organizations have had time to retool their approaches and address what’s not working. Whether you’ve adopted new software, reimagined your application, or strengthened your relationships within the community, you’ve done important work to close the gap between resources and the people who need them most.

What’s important now is to hold onto the gains we have made this past year, especially those related to easing grantee burden and building trust. Although many advances were developed as an emergency response, abandoning them now would be a mistake.

Shaady Salehi, the director of the Trust-Based Philanthropy Project, explains why trust-based grantmaking should not be relegated only to emergencies. “Trust-based philanthropy is not a crisis response strategy,” she said. “It’s a strategy of actually supporting nonprofit work and advancing the collective vision that we have…we need to be prepared for the next crisis.”

Finding ways to transition the successful components of emergency response into more permanent practices will not only better the philanthropic sector as a whole, it will ensure we are all ready to act when the next crisis hits. Here’s how:

Read the full article about relief funding for the future by Laura Steele at PEAK Grantmaking.