Giving Compass' Take:

• The health of nonprofit organizations during COVID-19 is dependent on funders providing necessary support. One way foundations are doing this is by investing in community capacity. 

• Community capacity is funding aimed at "the eradication of gaps in civic infrastructure and power that inhibit a community’s well-being." How can individual donors play a role in supporting capacity building investments? 

• Read more about helping nonprofits during this time. 

Nonprofits are on the front-lines of our current societal transformation, yet both funders and grantees must build adaptive muscle. This introductory piece focuses on ways grantees must prioritize strength-building to remain resilient and sustainable; subsequent installments will address the myth that scenario planning alone is the answer to nonprofits’ and funders’ current uncertainty, and the need for funders to envision themselves as part of the adaptive equation.

The health of our nonprofit sector is one of the many pressing issues crying out for attention at this time. We must also wrestle with the glaring inequities faced by nonprofits founded and led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. It’s not only that they’ve received less money—but blatant inconsistencies exist between these grantees and their White-led counterparts when it comes to receiving the supplementary support necessary to ensure ongoing organizational success and sustainability.

Funders providing COVID-19 emergency grants are strategizing on how they can allocate rapid distributions of cash to make the most difference, e.g. self-identified external support, mental health services for those on the front-lines running organizations, volunteer recruitment investments, etc. Some are smartly providing much-needed general operating support so the lights can stay on and the doors open; others are doubling down on increased funding for programs to address the huge spike in need for nonprofit services. These are, however, only two of the three types of support grantees desperately need if they are to survive the added stress resulting from our current uncertainty.

While direct program grants are the lifeblood of community-serving organizations and a cornerstone of funder practice, funders also need to offer critical capacity building support by helping grantees strengthen organizational leadership and governance, fortify infrastructure, foster strategic collaborations with peers, network with new allies, and expand field knowledge, among other things.

Read the full article about strengthening nonprofits during COVID-19 by Julie Simpson and Susan Wolfson at TCC Group.