Written by Ginger Keller-Ferguson, MBA
A month ago, no one could have predicted a three-week federal government shutdown, and yet here we are. And as always, the nonprofit sector is springing into action to respond.
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors are going without pay, with the fallout from the shutdown acutely felt in all corners of the U.S.
- Federal employees are cutting expenses and applying for unemployment benefits.
- Contractors are borrowing money just so they can have their prescriptions filled.
- Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault don’t have access to life-saving resources.
- Researchers’ projects are stymied with grant funding on hold.
What I find simultaneously heartbreaking and heartwarming are the number of nonprofits that have stepped up to fill the gaps for these workers at a time when many organization’s coffers and shelves have been depleted by holiday needs.
Many of the same federal employees who regularly donate money to programs like Feds Feed Families and the combined Federal Campaign now find themselves accessing services from the nonprofits they’ve supported with their giving.
Food pantries are opening their doors, relief kitchens are popping up, and clothes, pet food and toiletries are being provided to those in need. Some are offering financial assistance in the form of stipends and no-interest loans. Corporations are making donations to nonprofits so they can increase their capacity, and United Ways are making special allocations to ensure nonprofits can meet needs sufficiently.
This is a crucial role of the nonprofit community. Going forward, this response will serve as an important reminder to those who think they’ll never need a helping hand. Or to those who think social service organizations serve only the very neediest among us.
So hats off and many thanks to the dedicated nonprofit employees who are working tirelessly to respond to this crisis. Your good works continue to make a marked difference in our world.
As part of our thanks to you, we’ll leave you with some words of advice and a new avenue of support. When the federal government inevitably reopens, be ready to spring into action yet again. Grants will very likely have abbreviated deadlines and previously published timelines will change. Watch carefully for new information as it’s released.
Federal agency employees will also be overwhelmed upon returning to their jobs. This situation isn’t of their making, and they’ll return to a madhouse. Be prepared for delays and slow responses; practice as much patience as possible.
In anticipation of the chaos that will follow the longest government shutdown in American history, we’ve created a new way to support you. We’ve added a Support Group to our Facebook page. Join today and we’ll all rally together to get answers to our most pressing questions when the federal grant floodgates reopen.
See you in the group, happy grant writing!