Answering the nonprofit SOS at a time of increased civic need

A conversation with Tony Tapia, principal, Bridging Worlds Philanthropic Advisors

Nonprofits in America employ more then 10 percent of all workers, or about 12.4 million people. These organizations, like so many other businesses, are being hit hard by the current economic recession which started in February, just a month before we began shutting down the economy to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The global pandemic has fueled financial and employment uncertainty. More than 16 percent of nonprofits worldwide say they didn’t receive any new funding in May, according to the CAF America June 2020 Survey, leading two-thirds of them to say that they don’t know if they can survive beyond the next 12 months. 70 percent of their overhead, on average, go to salaries.

Nonprofits are still hiring, despite the economic challenges. Read more about working in the nonprofit are in this WorkingNation article.

This economic challenge comes just as the work many of these organizations do is needed most.   needed. In this episode of Work in Progress, we talk to Tony Tapia, a principal of Bridging Worlds Philanthropic Advisors, which consults with organizations and individuals on global philanthropy, corporate giving, Latino and aging issues, and many, many more issues. He is also an Encore Public Voices Fellow.

Nonprofits are Sending Out an SOS

Tapia calls this an “SOS” moment and urges philanthropies to continue to step in and answer the distress call. Tapia says the SOS, in this case, stands for survival, operational, and sustaining.

“There’s the most immediate need of survival—fast and immediate cash to nonprofits to survive the short term and keep their employees and the doors open and the services flowing. Beyond cash, a lot of organizations were not set up to be remote and suddenly they had to be remote. Operationally, nonprofits need not only equipment like laptops or other type of technology, but also kind of technical advice on how you do that,” he explains.

The third leg—sustainability—will need to be a combination of both cash and technical assistance to help the NGOs rescale and retool and move forward. Tapia says corporate funders could be of great help here. “There is a lot of knowledge and expertise within businesses that can help with some virtual volunteering to some of the nonprofits. They can give them advice on how to operationalize and sustain their nonprofit after we get through this crisis moment.”

Tapia is based in Denver and shares how one foundation—The Latino Community Foundation of Colorado—has been helping nonprofits using this SOS strategy. He also sits on the board of Borealis Philanthropy, which he calls a really good example of an intermediary organization that helps very large philanthropic organizations reach grassroots organizations.

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Episode 138: Tony Tapia, Bridging Worlds Philanthropic Advisors
Host: Ramona Schindelheim, Editor-in-Chief, WorkingNation
Producer: Larry Buhl
Executive Producers: Joan Lynch, Melissa Panzer, and Ramona Schindelheim
Music: Composed by Lee Rosevere and licensed under CC by 4.0.

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