COVID and Nonprofits

March 5, 2021

COVID has affected almost every aspect of our lives in the past year. All industries have been hit, including the nonprofit sector. We work with nonprofits regularly, and find that many of them have had to restructure and/or downsize. In fact, one in three non profit organizations is at risk of closing in the near term. DC, not surprisingly, is expected to lose the most nonprofits. And in many ways, the need for our services has never been greater - from food and diaper banks to healthcare to the arts - people in this country are in need of assistance.

The federal government has addressed this through some programs in the COVID bills. Notably, Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are available for nonprofits. PPP loans protected more than four million non profit jobs. Loans disbursed in the first half of 2020 need to be repaid in two years; the latter group of loans needs to be repaid in five years. Borrowers are eligible for loan forgiveness for maintaining staffing and other reasons.

The year-end appropriations bill contained numerous provisions of interest to nonprofits, including additional loan monies and charitable giving incentives for taxpayers. It also included money for grants to nonprofit organizations. The bill particularly mentions housing, farming and school meals.

The good news is that the majority of donors plan to maintain or increase their donations. And the CARES Act makes it easier for donors to deduct their charitable contributions.

In the meantime, advocates are adjusting to virtual conferences and virtual fly-ins. We are optimistic that with increased levels of immunization and herd immunity, we will be able to see our clients and constituents soon. However, we are cognizant of the fact that many of the media leveraged for COVID safety can be helpful to engage grassroots, help those with travel concerns (including the disabled); they should not be lost as we move toward a new normal.