COVID-19: How Have Funders Changed Their Approach & What Will Stick?

COVID-19: How Have Funders Changed Their Approach & What Will Stick?

A majority of funders who run "lean" — including individual donors, families engaged in philanthropy, and foundations with few or no staff — have changed their funding approach in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a report from Exponent Philanthropy and PEAK Grantmaking finds. The report, COVID-19: How Have Funders Changed Their Approach & What Will Stick? (18 pages, PDF), found that 79 percent of so-called lean funders had adjusted their strategy — while nearly one in five of those who hadn't done so planned to do so over the next year. According to a survey Exponent Philanthropy fielded in April, half of lean funders planned to give more while 32 percent did not; 53 percent were supporting those economically impacted by COVID-19; 42 percent were making grants outside their normal portfolio areas; and a majority had contributed to a local (49 percent), national (7 percent), or global relief fund (4 percent). A separate survey fielded by PEAK Grantmaking that was not focused on lean funders found that 48 percent of respondents contributed to a regional or national rapid response fund, while 44 percent had set up their own relief fund. To support grantees impacted by the pandemic, 72 percent of lean funders were awarding emergency response grants outside their normal grant cycles, while 67 percent of PEAK Grantmaking survey respondents were simplifying their application requirements or implementing more flexible requirements for their rapid response funds.

(Photo credit: United Way)