Taking action during a crisis is a daunting task to carry out. Although there are no definitive guidelines, setting up and managing emergency grants efficiently is still possible with some actionable strategies you can implement to stay on top of your game.

COVID-19 has reminded us that sending help can’t wait and that while the grantmaking process is often long and thorough for a reason, sometimes we have to expedite the process in order to do what grants do best: help connect resources to the people who need them most.

Here are some tips for setting up and managing emergency grants with maximum efficiency, for maximum impact:

Don’t Give Your Grantees A Difficult Time 

With them being strained by the consequences of the crisis and needing funds, anything you can do to make the process less tedious will be appreciated. This can come in the form of increasing your funding or changing its scope, easing requirements and providing additional support. Consider paying sooner or expediting the timeline of future payments.

Prepare For The Challenges Of Working Remotely 

To make sure everyone is protected against COVID-19, social distancing is required. This means in-person collaboration is no longer an option and working remotely is the only way to go. Many emergency situations, from national disasters to economic crashes, may also necessitate an increase in remote work. Being able to work remotely and virtually are vital to grants management.

Keep Channels Of Communication Open 

Ease the burden for your grantees by checking up on them and listening to their needs. Communicate your objectives clearly and share the best practices you implement to efficiently provide emergency relief. Try to understand the changes they are undergoing to adapt to the situation and continue making a difference.

Keep Your Guidelines and Rules Straightforward and Simple

Start by simplifying your processes to reduce the length and complexity of your grant application form. Try to eliminate all information that you would like to know, but don’t need to know. Remove questions that capture information for the purpose of analysis and reporting – you can do this at a later stage. Create a shorter application form for grantees that have previously applied for funding.

Keep Your Website Updated

Update your website to show the changes you’ve implemented to your current mission, priorities, and grant process. Make sure your website can handle increased traffic and create a landing page specifically for the emergency and your efforts. Ensure your guidelines and application form are accessible.

Streamline and Simplify Your Review Process

Just as your form will need to change in a time of emergency, so will your review process. This is not the time for long meetings that painstakingly consider the pros and cons of funding a grantee.

This is a time for quickly verifying the validity of an application, picking the right grantees for your mission, and getting one step closer to funding them.

Set Aside Exhaustive Reporting

One of the major strategies that large numbers of philanthropic organizations are leaning into right now is easing their reporting requirements, both for grants that are currently being funded and for their new emergency relief grants.

Consider changing your reporting requirements by:

  • Extending or suspending reporting deadlines.
  • Converting reports to phone calls, video conferencing, or short memos.
  • Streamlining reporting processes.
  • Minimizing, eliminating, or changing the scope of project deliverables, including events and conferences.
  • Canceling or postponing site visits, or making site visits virtual.

Crisis Work Is Not Organized and Easy

Applying the above strategies to your emergency grant response will help you expedite your giving and assist the communities you care about. But they will not change the fact that you are operating in uncertain, and perhaps unprecedented, times.

A crisis is a time for action, even if it’s imperfect. It can also be a time for amazing innovation and  acts of compassion. Keep an open mind, welcome innovation, and your new emergency grantmaking skills could improve processes for all your grants.

Carry out your Covid Relief Grants Management mission of any size seamlessly with CommunityForce.

Boost Community Giving with An Up-Scale High-Volume Relief Capability

With Covid-19 impacting millions, be part of the change with our Covid Relief Management Program – organize and automate the process for an influx of applications in a matter of minutes.

Wondering how to manage a large number of applications? Easily manage a huge influx of applicants with our high volume relief capability, with as much as 50k applications received in less than 30 minutes. Simplify the process further by automating tedious and repetitive steps to save time.

Eliminate Bias and Discrimination in your Review Process

Utilize the powerful and intuitive review tools to simplify the review process and eliminate bias in your relief funding process – such as hidden fields, and anonymous commenting and scoring. Make sure you never have to worry about discrimination and create an empathetic relief program.

Monitor your impact in real-time

Don’t be left in the dark. Access all your application and funding data in real-time with our Business Intelligence tool, and create powerful custom reports so that you can monitor your impact and ensure a seamless process every step of the way.

How will our Covid Relief Grants Management Platform Benefit You?

Build and Accept Applications

Choose existing forms or customize your own form to fulfill your requirements, and view and manage all your existing forms on one screen. Add eligibility screening and accept as many as 50,000 applications in less than 30 minutes.

Covid Relief Grants Administrator 1

Manage your Application Process

Communicate with applicants and reviewers, view applicants in real-time, and manage the evaluation workflow to make sure your review team makes equitable and unbiased decisions.

Distribute and Track Awards

Streamline your awards process with easy-to-use tools to notify awardees and disburse awards with a simple process. View allocated budget, top-ranked applicants, and scoring breakdown with a glance. Say goodbye to manually keep up with tracking, and monitor your funding process all within the same platform.

Advanced Reporting Tools

Slice and dice that data however you wish using real-time ad-hoc reporting. Create and organize flexible reports, export, and quickly transform raw data into useful and readily understood information. Easily measure your impact and make decisions for a more efficient grants process.

When tragedies like COVID-19 arise, marginalized individuals and communities often face disproportionate hardship as a result. Racism, violence, poverty, hunger, and lack of access to essential care and services make challenging situations that much more unmanageable—and the support of organizations like you matter more than ever.


Whether you’re a startup organization or a leading grantmaker, CommunityForce provides fully customizable, all-in-one online grant management solutions to maximize your efficiency, simplify complex processes, and improve collaboration so you can focus on increasing your impact. We’ve helped  organizations streamline their entire grant-making process no matter the size and scope of their giving.

We enable organizations to reduce the amount of time spent on administrative burdens and focus on what matters: increasing their impact.