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Emergency Nonprofit Funding, Grants and Loans, where to look

As a nonprofit leader, there are times when you might need to look for emergency nonprofit funding, grants, and loans. In most emergencies, time is not your friend so let’s get right to the potential solutions.

Summary of Article on Emergency Nonprofit Funding, Grants, and Loans

  • Setting up nonprofit lines of Credit is faster than ever
  • Speak again to traditional banks about unsecured lines of credit
  • Nonprofit SBA loans, Paycheck Protection Program, Disaster relief
  • Referral Donations, It’s Who THEY know
  • Emergency grants: It requires a lot of research so delegate
  • Donor Line of Credit

Setting up a Nonprofit Line of Credit or Emergency Nonprofit Loan

Over the last few years, there have been a few companies that are now providing inexpensive nonprofits loans or lines of credit specifically for nonprofits. Getting a line of credit is a good idea to get in place regardless if your nonprofit is having an emergency now or not. Nonprofits are increasingly getting a credit line set up to act as a cash back up plan for emergencies.

Financing Solutions

Financing Solutions has been the leading provider of nonprofit lines of credit since 2012 and is A+/5-star rated by the BBB. FS’s nonprofit line of credit has become very popular because of the speed at which it can be put in place and its low cost.


Financing Solution’s nonprofit lines of credit can be set up in as quickly as 48-72 hours. You will receive a written offer within hours of filling out the online, no-obligation, 2-minute application. The application requires no documentation and there is no credit check done to receive a quote.


Your nonprofit will need to be doing at least $200,000 in yearly revenue. The line of credit DOES NOT require any collateral or personal guarantees.


There is no fees to set up the line and no fees when the line isn’t being used. Once the credit line for your nonprofit is used, it can be paid off at any time making the line excellent for those looking for quick short-term emergency funding for your nonprofit. The line can be used for whatever needed and is often used for payroll, unexpected expenses or new good opportunities.


If you decide to move forward once you receive your offer letter you will need to send in some backup documentation such as a 990, bank statements, and some other simple to get documents. You will also need to show board approval.  Apply here

Propel Nonprofits- Emergency Nonprofit Funding

Propel Nonprofits was created from the 2017 merger of Nonprofits Assistance Fund and MAP for Nonprofits. They serve organizations in Minnesota and the adjacent states of Wisconsin, Iowa, North Dakota, and South Dakota providing working capital loans, Lines of Credit, short-term facility projects, long term facility mortgages.

Requirements: A 5-page application will need to be filled out and the loans will need to be secured against personal or nonprofit assets or collateral.  Propel does not work with startup nonprofits. Loans are available to nonprofits in all fields of service.

Amounts: Propel Nonprofits can provide lines of credit and loans from as little as $20,000 to $1 million.

Speak again to banks about unsecured lines of credit or loans

All banks, regardless if they are local or national, have always required collateral and personal guarantees. However, a few banks are now willing to offer unsecured lines of credit for nonprofits. This could help you until you get some emergency nonprofit grants.

            Requirements: The bank will probably only offer an unsecured line of credit to you if you have a good prior bank relationship. The approval amount will be under $100,000. An unsecured line of credit isn’t always offered by banks. It approved based on the health of the economy and your finances.  The person signing for the bank line of credit will be personally responsible should the nonprofit default.

Emergency grants: It requires a lot of research so delegate

There are plenty of organizations that provide last-minute grants. For example, since 2012, the Open Road Alliance (ORA) has provided over $13 million in emergency funding to organizations that might have otherwise gone under.

ORA also launched a low-interest loan fund called Open Road Ventures in 2018, which plans to distribute an additional $50 million over the next five years. You can also call the United Way and other community foundations, or search “emergency funds” in the Foundation Directory Online (FDO)  to seek out grants when you’re on a time crunch.

Nonprofit SBA Loans, Paycheck Protection Program, Disaster Relief program

If you are reading this article during the time of the coronavirus pandemic then there are government grants and loans being offered but at the time of this writing, the program is running into a lot of problems.

The National Council of Nonprofits has published an excellent chart about the available loan programs here.

The Nonprofit Times has also written an excellent article about the Cares Act and some personal experiences from people who have tried to apply.

Referral Donations, its who they know

The old saying is, it’s not what you know but who you know. Your existing large donors are often your best resource and not because they might provide you will the loan or grant you need.

People with wealth often know other people with wealth. In times of trouble sometimes the best time spent is on networking. Ask wealthy friends who they know that might be able to hear your story. In times of crisis, people want to help and although you might be used to asking for a donation, it is time to really work your network.

Donor Line of Credit and Loans

As mentioned earlier, there are banks that are willing to provide a line of credit that is unsecured. You might be able to ask one of your wealthier donors if they could set up a line of credit for your nonprofit.

Donors who have a personal relationship with your nonprofit might very willing due to their knowledge of your character. Once the crisis is over you can agree to not use the line of credit again.


Now is the time to hustle and make things happen. Do your research but better yet, give someone else the job of researching while you go out and pound the payment. Talk to people. You will be surprised at the solutions they can come up with to help you through this crisis. There are emergency nonprofit funding out there. You just have to find it.

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