How Pandemic-Stricken Businesses Survive Thanks to the Power of Grants
At the beginning of 2020 millions of small business owners were stunned when forced to temporarily close because of COVID-19, nor could they have imagined that their entrances would become permanently padlocked 10 months later.
For the still-struggling survivors there is help via thousands of grants available for small businesses and nonprofits, yet many of these business breaks will expire at the end of the year.
Why should small businesses and nonprofits apply for grants? Because large companies, philanthropic organizations and government agencies set aside these funds for a variety of reasons and if the money is not awarded, there is no guarantee the funds will be reestablished. This is free money that can be used for capital funding, staff training, equipment improvement, businesses development and restorations, and much of it will be gone come January.
As a small business owner, I've had to adapt and get creative to keep my little boat afloat. It's safe to say that, as recently as April, we all had a “sitting duck” mentality waiting for the virus to directly impact us but, as a CEO, finding a short-term solution was imperative.
Follow the (free) money
Websites like GrantWatch help small businesses and nonprofits secure grants while making it easier to identify grantors with open-funding applications for social justice causes. According to the site there are 188 grants in said category and that number looks to be increasing.
The platform (and others) showcases new, COVID-19 related grants each day for small businesses, individuals, nonprofits, philanthropic and religious organizations. I dutifully applied and was lucky enough to receive one that enabled my company to survive since May.
There are dozens of websites and resources that provide a path of opportunities for startups, nonprofits and corporations. I recently reached out to thank GrantWatch founder and CEO, Libby Hikind, and this is what the former Brooklyn teacher taught me...
Tips on securing grants in general
Eligibility: Are you absolutely eligible? Before you start your application, there should be zero doubt in your mind.
Documentation: Are you able to acquire all the documents you need to apply and demonstrate any precertification?
Budget: Will you be able to run your business with the grant funds allowable expenditures and, if not, can you secure the additional funding elsewhere?
As Libby reiterated during our phoner: Keep an open mind when searching for grants and get creative about the mission of the funding source as it relates to the needs and capability of your organization. Remember that there is a wealth of information available and ready for you to use during this time of crisis.