Friday Roundup: the CARES Act and Annual Funds

by Victoria Jones

Posted April 3, 2020

We are all being inundated with news about the pandemic. With this in mind, we have created a new weekly email blog series—what we’re calling our Friday Roundup. Each blog post will feature the most important nonprofit management, fundraising, and executive search news of the week and how this news may impact nonprofits. We hope that we may help you navigate these unchartered waters and identify strategies and actions you can take in response to our ever-changing world.



1. What the CARES Act means for your donors 

Last week, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. Under the CARES Act, donors can now deduct 100 percent of their cash gift to a public charity against their 2020 adjusted gross income, increasing from the previous deduction of 60 percent. In addition, donors can now deduct up to $300 in annual charitable contributions if the donation is made in cash and they do not itemize their deductions. We’re hearing from many of our clients that donors and Boards are stepping forward with a desire to give large gifts in this time of need and/or our clients are preparing to ask donors and Board members to strengthen their support – in both cases, the law’s impact on deductions is worth sharing. Learn more in the New York Times.

2. What the CARES Act means for your organization

The CARES Act provides nonprofit organizations with support in three key ways:

  • Small to midsized nonprofits with 500 employees or fewer can benefit from the Emergency Small Business Loan program, which provides a forgivable loan of up to $10 million if the nonprofit keeps their staff on payroll between March 1 to June 30
  • For nonprofits with 500-10,000 employees, the Industry Stabilization Fund offers loans with a maximum interest rate of 2% when organizations keep or rehire at least 90% of their staff at full compensation
  • The Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer nonprofits up to $2 million in assistance for payment of fixed debts, payroll, or other qualified expenses, with an interest rate of 2.75%. Learn more in Nonprofit Quarterly or on the federal U.S. Small Business Administration site.

3. Let your Annual Fund take precedence

Right now, nothing is more important than supporting the core operations of your organization; and right behind, or beside it, the new work you might be doing to address the impact of the coronavirus. Our current reality is requiring nearly every one of our clients to prioritize their annual funds. Without that strength, other things will struggle to thrive regardless of what you do. The reality is that many of the things that were priorities a month ago—campaigns for capital projects or other targeted fundraising initiatives—have choices associated with them. Making this pivot will require other considerations, as well; you may need to think about how this impacts active conversations you have been having with donors or how it affects board giving, and you may even need to ask donors who have already given this year to give again. Whatever the case may be, we encourage you to—as you always would—make the case thoughtfully, at the right time, and with tangible stories so donors understand the bottom-line.

Nonprofit Spotlight

Highlighting the tenacity and creativity of nonprofits in unprecedented times…


blair-academySchool is still in session – for everyone! Blair Academy has invited their community to ‘attend’ their long-standing Society of Skeptics lecture series, which is now being conducted virtually. Learn more and view the upcoming speakers schedule on their website.


In some cases, delivering bad news to your constituents will be inevitable. Should that occur, jacobs-pillowconsider the example of Jacob’s Pillow. When it became clear that the renowned dance center would have to cancel their summer festival, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors and has occurred annually for the past 70+ years, they did so with a video announcement from Director Pamela Tatge. Heartfelt and sincere, Pamela’s video statement provides an example of adapting with grace – and in a way that will likely ensure continued and renewed support. 

For more information, visit our COVID-19 Resources page.

All of us here at Development Guild recognize the critical role our friends and clients are playing in supporting the most vulnerable among us during this crisis. As we face these uncertain times together, it is our top priority to support you. Reach out with questions. Call if you want to brainstorm an idea. We are here.