In the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, US donors and the vitally important nonprofits and NGOs they fund are thinking about how to cope with the challenges of the moment and the uncertainties of the weeks and months ahead. In some respects, the best advice we can give to funders is the philanthropic equivalent of “wash your hands”—an example of something we all know, but have to focus on and get right amid the confusion around us.

In talking with both donors and nonprofits and reading the good advice of many leading thinkers in the space over the last few weeks, here are what have emerged as three important things donors can do right now to support grantees.

Recommit and reassure

Providing reassurance is something donors can do right now—and many are: reaffirming that they will honor commitments, and that they are engaged and ready to respond. Given memories of the Great Recession, and the longer-term challenges that may be in store, funders may want to go even further and double down on their grantees—not simply reaffirming funding for the current cycle, but committing today for the next one.

Provide flexible support

Some of this pertains to funding already awarded: loosening restrictions on existing grants; delaying reporting requirements and reducing other administrative burdens so that that paperwork doesn’t get in the way of action. And some of it is about new commitments: helping a key organization weather an immediate cash crisis; backing new crisis-response programming.

Focus on the most vulnerable communities and those that serve them

While COVID-19 does not discriminate by race or income, we know the effects of the virus and the countermeasures against it—like closing schools and early childhood programs, or shutting down restaurants that employ so many low-wage workers—will hit the most vulnerable communities the hardest.

Read the full article about supporting grantees through the coronavirus by Betsy Doyle, Michael Etzel, Peter Kim at The Bridgespan Group.