Grants Management in Unpredictable Times
Dear DFW Friend:
Recently, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged governments around the world to put women and girls at the center of their efforts to recover from COVID-19. He stated that COVID-19 could “reverse the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights globally”. While we know that women and girls are disproportionately impacted in every crisis, these words were particularly sobering for me.
But then I thought about Dining for Women and all of you – our amazing, passionate, committed, and accomplished members who are part of this powerful global community working together to create opportunities for women and girls all over the world. I know that you will not let women and girls be left behind!
When women and allies come together, there is no limit to what we can achieve. But let’s be real. This is a challenging and uncertain time for all of us – for you and your families; for our grantees, and, yes, for DFW. As a nonprofit, DFW has not been immune to the economic downturn resulting from this global pandemic.
We are seeing significantly reduced donations, and – like you — we are grappling with the uncertainty of how long this crisis will last.
We have recently approved some precautionary measures that will allow us to continue to support our grantees, while also keeping DFW itself sustainable now and in the future.
We recognize that our grantees are facing some unique challenges, and we want them to have the flexibility to navigate this difficult and evolving situation. We are giving special approval for our grantees to modify their projects or repurpose their grant funds to assist with operational changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This gives our grantees the flexibility:
- To continue their projects as originally proposed;
- To scale back or adjust the timelines for these projects;
- To transition the funds to urgent, COVID-19 response; or
- To transition the funds to organizational needs such as staff salaries.
We are working in partnership with our grantees so they can adapt to the changing environment, use the funds where they are most needed in this crisis, and continue their important work both now and in the future. One of the most important things we can do now is ensure that these phenomenal organizations are still standing strong and serving their communities throughout this economic downturn.
Temporary Modifications to Grants Program
Due to DFW’s responsible fiscal management over the years, our organization is stable at this time. With this in mind, we are taking proactive measures to ensure that we can withstand the storm. We are trimming our budgets and putting some of our 2020 projects on hold so that we can focus on our grants. But we cannot predict what the future holds, and each week we are seeing reduced donations.
To proactively manage our cash flow, we are spreading out our 2020 grant payments over two years (2020 and 2021). Some of our grantees already utilize the option of a two-year payout; we are asking all of our grantees to do this for the remainder of this year. I am pleased that we can manage this through a cash-flow strategy without needing to cut back on our grants at this time.
In addition, for our April grant cycle, we invited applicants to submit proposals in the range of $25,000 to $35,000, rather than the usual Featured Grant size of $35,000 to $50,000. We will continue to review our financials to determine the time when we will return to the previous grant size.
These steps are a responsible way for us to address our obligations to our grantees, our staff, and to you, our donors, during this challenging economic environment.
Keeping Our Chapters Active
We hope that you are keeping your own chapter active during this time. Many of our chapters are experimenting with virtual gatherings or virtual “happy hours” and have really enjoyed the connection with their members. Want to give it a try? There are resources available, including some really short and simple tutorials. Our staff are also more than happy to answer any questions or help you out.
For those of you who are able, we need you to continue to give! Women and girls need your support now more than ever. By signing up for automatic recurring donations, you can help provide DFW with a more stable, predictable income in these uncertain times. You can also call 864-335-8401, or donate online here. For those of you who prefer to write checks, please mail them to PO Box 890272, Charlotte NC, 28289-0272.
IF YOU CAN GIVE MORE, THIS IS THE TIME TO STAND UP FOR WOMEN AND GIRLS AROUND THE WORLD! I have been grateful to the members joining the Founders’ Circle for the first time, doubling their monthly giving, and “sending in a little more in this time of uncertainty”. We appreciate every increased donation that you are able to give.
Please join us this Thursday night (April 30) at 7 pm EASTERN for our next national virtual chapter meeting. We will have a special program with five of our grantees discussing how COVID-19 is impacting their organizations and what they are seeing in the field. You can find the list of grantee speakers on our Upcoming Events page. I will also be available to answer questions about DFW’s actions to address this challenging environment.
Thank you so much for your ongoing support!