Giving Compass' Take:

• Jennifer Sampson, writing for Forbes, discusses critical learnings on how to rebuild grantmaking models to best support nonprofit organizations during the pandemic. 

• How can individual donors also shift charitable giving practices to fill the needs of organizations? 

• Read more on how funders can help nonprofits weather coronavirus. 

When the COVID-19 pandemic swept into Dallas, my organization — United Way of Metropolitan Dallas (UWMD) — swept out traditional ways of doing business and led through innovation to meet community needs. Anticipating the critical impact on the region, we quickly assessed community needs, set up a response and recovery fund and activated fundraising efforts. In what typically took months of fundraising, we raised over $12 million in just eight weeks from generous donors to support the community’s needs.

We knew the existing model of grant-making and its extensive application process needed to quickly become more efficient and effective. We recognized not only the immediate need in the community for help with issues tied to the pandemic, but also the need to quickly get the financial support to nonprofits providing critical services — including food, healthcare, lost wages, housing costs and support for vulnerable populations.

In response, we led a collaboration of more than 30 funders with a goal of lowering application obstacles for nonprofits and streamlining review and decision-making for grant-makers.

Based on my experience and what I’ve learned during this process, here are key learnings and best practices that can create a greater impact for your nonprofit and community.

  1. Extend your reach through collaboration.
  2. Set boundaries.
  3. Push the limits of technology.
  4. Look beyond the obvious for new partners.
  5. Measure impact, not just dollars.

Read the full article about a new model for impact by Jennifer Sampson at Forbes.