The Beatles once sang this truism: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” Along the same lines, the poet John Donne wrote, “No man is an island entire of itself.” Do you see the pattern? We all need assistance and support from time to time — even the most ambitious and independent of us all.
Perhaps no scenario has made this as clear as the COVID-19 pandemic, with its economic implications still making themselves felt for individuals and businesses nearly two years since its start. According to recent data, many businesses suffered temporary closures as a result of coronavirus, while others had no choice but to shutter their establishments for good.Many organizations have experienced challenges related to revenue, supply chains, and staffing.
Here’s more on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected U.S. small businesses and tips for companies seeking out fundraising resources in its wake.
Types of COVID-19 Fundraising for SMBs
Although we are living in unprecedented times, there are resources out there specifically meant to help small businesses weather the ongoing storm.
A list of relief resources compiled by Verizon Small Businessdemonstrates how wide-ranging fundraising for small businesscan be — including both nonprofit and private sector opportunities. This list outlines a few different types of funding, such as:- Grants: Often administered by not-for-profit organizations, grant recipients receive a sum of money to use for purposes outlined by said grants. For instance, some grants are meant to cover urgent business expenses like rent, payroll, and supplies. Others must go to employees for causes like food, medical bills, and other basics. Some can be applied toward paying down debt accrued during the pandemic, too.- Loans: Many lenders are offering low-interest or zero-percent loans to eligible businesses, helping them get their hands on working capital without worrying about steep interest accruing in the background. Some of these lenders have loosened their approval criteria or extended repayment grace periods to make it easier during these tough times.- Relief funds: Different organizations, firms, and communities have pooled resources to come up with sums of money specifically earmarked for small businesses. Qualifying companies can apply to become recipients of these funds, often hosted through platforms like GoFundMe.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury also has a number of ongoing assistance programs worth checking out.
Other Small Business Fundraising Ideas to Consider
Whether you’re having a tough time meeting the criteria for existing COVID-19 fundraising resources or you want to enlist other forms of support, there are other ideas worth considering.
For instance, if you believe your business serves a community and thus could drum up support from its patrons, you may consider crowdsourcing your own fundraiser. Going this route requires complete transparency about how you plan to use the money — as well as the provision of receipts to show participants you utilized the funds exactly how you said you would.
Even if the pandemic has affected in-person gatherings, it’s still possible to host events online as a way to connect with customers and drive revenue. For instance, some retail stores utilize live features on social media platforms to host special sales — or just a space for customers to hang out and build rapport with the brand, which can encourage support. Similarly, some organizations have found success holding contests in which customers can enter online to win products or services. Word-of-mouth continues to be one of the most important tools in any small business toolkit for staying afloat.
Small businesses know firsthand how challenging it’s been to cope with the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the good news is there are fundraising options available.1