This Funding Approach Can Help Social Entrepreneurs Weather the COVID-19 Storm
A “crisis” is generally defined by an acute, time-bound period of disruption, hardship, or challenge. A crisis comes, and it goes. And when it does, calm and a return to normal typically follow. Yet, what happens when crises follow one another at an accelerating scale and pace? How do you respond when the crisis is the new normal?
When the COVID-19 pandemic took hold around the world in March, there was a massive surge of organizations tumbling into immediate crisis, as the crisis caused an urgent and often existential need of the employees and customers of these entrepreneurs for basic goods – be it food, education or healthcare.
In response, Open Road Alliance, an emergency funder of social entrepreneurs across the world, doubled its grantmaking budget to rapidly support entrepreneurs operating on the front line of the crisis. However, within days, the number of grant requests far outnumbered the funds available, with no end in sight for the pandemic.
As time has gone on, it has become painfully clear that, with COVID-19 set to be around for the foreseeable future, a different set of responses is required as most organizations move from a focus on survival to longer-term resilience. The role of funders must therefore adapt too.
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