Nonprofits, Funders, and the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis

This resource collection offers guidance to nonprofits, philanthropists, and impact investors on navigating the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis and the expected economic downturn. We also have broader lists, one specifically aimed at nonprofit organizations and another for donors and impact investors.

Resources for Nonprofits Resources for Funders


Bridgespan's Latest Insights and Advice

Racial Equity Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Opportunities for Philanthropic Response
By Sonali Madia Patel, Alexandra Hughes Smith, and Gayle Martin

This memo builds on Bridgespan's “Opportunities for Philanthropic Response to the COVID-19 Crisis” and on its research on racial equity in philanthropy. It elaborates on how the crisis is disproportionately affecting communities of color and where there are opportunities for philanthropists to address inequities in their response.

A Compass for the Crisis: Nonprofit Decision Making in the COVID-19 Pandemic
By Lindsey Waldron and Preeta Nayak

The crisis has forced leaders to make challenging decisions quickly—and more critical choices loom on the horizon. A clear set of decision-making principles can help ensure that nonprofits don’t lose their way as they navigate tough tradeoffs.

Voices from the Field: How City Year Detroit and TSNE MissionWorks Are Navigating the COVID-19 Crisis
Bridgespan recently spoke with Elaine Ng, CEO of TSNE MissionWorks, and Andrew Stein, vice president and executive director of City Year Detroit, about their experiences developing a response strategy during the pandemic. Their stories offer a glimpse into how their organizations developed plans that respected organizational values and guiding principles, while planning for an uncertain future that may include different scenarios.

Want to Support Your Community's Equitable Recovery from COVID-19? Invest in Childcare
By Katherine (Kat) Kaufmann, Shannon Rudisill, and Elise Tosun

During this crisis, local philanthropy has an essential role to play in bolstering a pillar of their local economies: childcare. Two immediate ways they can do this: offer direct emergency funding paired with local advocacy and help providers navigate the hurdles to securing and gaining access to new public support.

Speeding Up Nonprofit Network Decision Making
By Mark McKeag and Lindsey Waldron

It often takes 12 to 24 months to move decisions through a network, even when there is broad support. Yet, today, during the COVID-19 crisis, networks do not have the luxury of time. One way organizations can speed up some of their decisions involves using different decision styles for different types of decisions.

Four Ways for Community-Focused Philanthropy to Confront the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis
By Debby Bielak and Willa Seldon

Conversations with more than a dozen philanthropies demonstrate how community-based philanthropy can support local communities as they work through this most critical phase of the crisis and prepare for an eventual recovery from the pandemic and the recession.

Be the Calm in the Storm: How to Communicate with Staff and Stakeholders During a Crisis
Bridgespan partners Meera Chary and Preeta Nayak recently convened a virtual panel discussion to generate ideas for helping nonprofits manage through periods of rapid and unpredictable change. Each leader we spoke to highlighted the important role that communication plays during these critical times.

Why All Foundations Should Support the Guardians of the Nonprofit World Now
By Dan Cardinali, Fred Blackwell, and Jeff Bradach

(Chronicle of Philanthropy) Grantmakers must act now to support at-risk organizations both with dollars and their voices to ensure that legislators don’t take for granted the nonprofits that are a vital source of hope and recovery, especially for the most marginalized among us.

Update to the Memo "Opportunities for Philanthropic Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis"
By Sonali Madia Patel, Alexandra Hughes Smith, and Katie Bollbach

On March 31, 2020, The Bridgespan Group released a memo to philanthropists highlighting ways to approach funding during this unprecedented time. Our colleagues in the space have continued to share resources and perspectives, which we have included in this updated version of the memo, and in separate updates focused on low- and middle-income countries and global human rights and governance implications.

Three Ways for Impact Investors to Respond to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
By Michael Etzel and Mariah Collins

Impact investors have a critical opportunity to help their portfolio companies navigate the coronavirus pandemic. Here are three concrete steps impact investors can take to support and safeguard the impact of their investees now and in the future.

What Philanthropy Can Do Today to Support Grantees Through the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis
By Betsy Doyle, Michael Etzel, and Peter Kim

Funders have a critical opportunity to help grantees navigate the COVID-19 crisis. Here are three approaches you can take to ensure that your grantees can deliver on their missions both now and in the future: recommit, be flexible, and focus on the most vulnerable.

Eight Steps for Managing Through Tough Times
Tough times force hard choices. We offer eight steps that can help nonprofits weather economic uncertainty, including planning contingencies and protecting your core operations.

COVID-19 Resources for Nonprofits and Funders

Our growing lists of resources—one for nonprofits and the other for funders and impact investors—share information on the crisis as well as advice for leading and managing organizations through it. Here are a few recent resources we've found:

Full List for Nonprofits Full List for Funders and Impact Investors

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