On-Demand: Fundraising in the Cloud
During this webcast, EisnerAmper was joined by three New York-based nonprofits and we discussed their experiences over the last few weeks; how their organizations are handling this “new normal;" and what they’ve learned so far.
Candice Meth:Thank you everyone for joining us today. I would be remiss if I didn't first share my deepest sympathies for anyone that has lost a loved one to this pandemic. I think at this point we've all been touched by it and therefore we want to start by saying that we hope our audience is safe and well joining us today. As Lexie mentioned, my name is Candice Meth. I am EisnerAmper's national leader of our not-for-profit practice. And I'm joined today by my colleague Marie Arrigo, and I'll turn it over to Marie.
Marie Arrigo:Thank you Candice. And I am Marie Arrigo national leader for our not-for-profit tax services. And also want to start off by talking a little bit about the circumstances we're in. So COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of life. Many families have been unfortunately directly impacted. The economy has gone into a tailspin. Many individuals who live paycheck to paycheck are strained and in fact there are record numbers of unemployment and forced extended periods of isolation creates its own stresses. Mr. Rogers says, in times like these I always look for the helpers. And we certainly have many helpers who have really stepped up and try to ease the issues of the COVID-19. The healthcare professionals, law enforcement, firefighters, transit workers, the essential businesses such as the grocery stores and the pharmacies, the truck drivers to bring the goods to the stores.
And not-for-profits have risen to the challenge with record breaking speed. We're imagining how they operate and providing relief to the public. Grant makers have poured millions of dollars into response efforts. But as the deadly virus progresses nationwide, it has placed the strain on many not-for-profits. Affluent donors may soon be financially strapped, may not want to continue to give. Volunteers who run the programs and help not-for-profits may not want to return to that. And it's really not clear that all nonprofits will survive. Candice?
Candice Meth:Thank you so much Marie, for setting the background for today's call. Although we are social distancing, that's no reason why we can't get together and share our stories and when we were envisioning what today's session would look like, we really thought it would be great to get together a group of diverse nonprofits located in New York to really share their stories from nonprofits that rely on foot traffic that's been impacted by the close of Broadway to those that rely on special events that unfortunately have had to have been canceled. Organizations whose program rely on mentoring and social interaction and how they've been able to do that in a virtual way. To private foundations. Those organizations that are out there really helping to try to work with charities and support them, but at the same time keeping an eye on the economic impact to their own investments in their endowment.
And so, we're joined today by three wonderful panelists. I'm delighted to introduce them, and I do want to remind everyone that we will be taking your questions at the end of the session. So please feel free to enter your questions as we go along. With that, it's my pleasure to first introduce Vivian Walsh. She is the director of finance and accounting at the Dyson Foundation. Vivian lives in the Hudson Valley of New York and began her career with the foundation in 1999. Prior to that, she started her nonprofit career with Cornell cooperative extension of Douglas County. She's a member of the foundation for financial officer's group and holds an AAS in accounting from Dutchess Community College. We're also joined today by Lawrence Cook, who the director of finance and administration for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. Larry comes from Western New York. Earned BA from Lafayette College, and his MBA at Syracuse University.
He admitted through the HUD Community Development Block Grant Program for 10 years, and was a CFO for an engineering and architectural firm in Corning, New York prior to moving to New York City. He's been with Broadway Cares since 1995. And rounding out our panel today is Charles Bozian. Charles is with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City as their chief administrative officer. And he's had a 25 year career in the publishing industry prior to joining with his most prior role being with McMillan Publishing where he was vice president of finance and administration for almost 10 years. Prior to that, in another lifetime he was chief financial officer and operating officer for Columbia University Press in their nonprofit publishing division. He holds a BS and an MBA in finance from Fairleigh Dickinson University, and also attending Columbia's Business School Program where he completed a three year executive development program.
We're so glad to have you all join us. And I think where we'll start today is sort of how we compare this particular disaster to other disasters that the nonprofit community has experienced in the past, whether it be the hurricane or going way back to recession. I want to get your thoughts on how you see this as compared to other disasters. And with that, I think we'll start with Larry.
Larry Cook:Hello everybody. Good morning. This is definitely unlike any other disasters that we've dealt with. We made it through 9/11. We made it through a few union strikes, and we made it through the hurricane. The most difficult part of this is the uncertainty for how long it's going to last. Right now with the theaters closed, that's our primary source of fundraising. We've had to sacrifice a six week campaign that we normally do every spring, which brings in five or $6 million. That's just been completely shut down. And we've had to cancel events at least through September. We're hoping that we can maybe pick up some more activity in the fall, but it's really going to be dependent on when tourism picks up and the audiences can come back into the theaters and feel comfortable doing so. So we're trying to do as much as we can sort of in the early stages here when that's a lot of interest in a lot of activity.
And our team here has been really successful so far at fundraising. Just sort of off the starting box when the theaters closed on March 12th we jumped right into some online campaigns that have been very successful. So, I think we're going to make it, but I just wish we had a better idea of timeframe, that's all.
Candice Meth:Sure, sure. Absolutely. Thank you for sharing that. Vivian, I'll turn to you in terms of your experience here versus what you saw during 9/11 or the hurricane.
Vivian Walsh:Well, for us the big difference in this time from past disasters is that we're working remotely. In the past, we've always been able to go into the office and a kind of business as usual as far as being able to work in the office. There are some similarities to past disasters for us. With the financial crisis the foundation was looked at to step up the financial support to our grantees at the same time. This time we've taken a hard hit on our endowment as we did then. What we've done this time, we chose when we had the financial crisis, our board chose to not pull back on our grant-making at that time. So we continued to pay out our grants at the same level. When the hurricanes hit and affected our grantee community we added more funds to our budget for that year for disaster relief for those grantees. So, at this time we're not taking back any of our financial support, but we're actually adding to it at the same time that we've been hit in our own portfolio.
In additions we made some of these changes this time to our cash flow loan program, which we hadn't done in the past, and we're collaborating more so with other area funders to create disaster response funds at some of the community foundations in our area. We've also stepped up our communications with our nonprofit community to provide resources and guidance in the forms of newsletters and we've done some webinars of our own in cooperation with other organizations and consultants in our area. So there are some similarities and there are some definite differences this time.
Candice Meth:Absolutely. Thank you. And I think it's really important for a lot of charities to hear that and know that there's foundations such as her Dyson Foundation that's out there really trying to step up whatever they can do to support organizations that need the funding. With that, I think maybe we'll move on to where are the current sources of donations. Larry, you touched on this a little bit in terms of the online fundraising campaign, but maybe Charles you can speak to where you see your current donations coming in from as compared to business as usual.
Charles Bozian:Sure. Certainly we rely most heavily in the short term on our board. Our board is our greatest source of strength and they have really stepped up. We have an extremely large board. We have 60 board members. So, they are a tremendous resource and using them and their networks has really been very helpful. And despite the fact that we've had, and I think we're going to talk about cancellation of events. But despite the fact that we've had events canceled we've continued to fundraise for those events and have been moderately successful at doing it remotely, even though we didn't have the event.
Candice Meth:Go ahead.
Larry Cook:I was just going to say we've had to cancel two events and it's been really remarkable how people have just turned around and donated their ticket purchases to us as a fully tax deductible donation. So, that's been inspiring just to see the community support.
Candice Meth: Absolutely. Charles, I just wanted to step back for one second and just briefly touch on maybe if you could just talk about briefly how Big Brothers Big Sisters stepped up at the time of the hurricane. And if you've been called upon by any of your grand tours to do something similar, that sort of outside of your usual business as usual in response to the crisis.
Charles Bozian: So at the time of the hurricane we established an office, a sort of a beach head in Coney Island and delivered some specific services to that community, which was really severely impacted by Sandy. And that program went a couple of years and really helped the kids that were really impacted by the devastation that happened for Sandy. We certainly have stepped up our efforts electronically to continue to provide services. It's remarkable to me how much we've been able to continue our programs virtually. And we really haven't missed a beat in what we're doing both in our workplace programs and in our one-to-one matches in the community. And I think at this time it's critically important, especially the underserved problem that we do serve to be there for them, because right now they're in isolation.
And to be able to have that connection and to give them the support that they need and make sure that they know that there are people that care and that can help them and want to help them and give them whatever it is that they need is really comforting. And that's what we're there for.
Candice Meth:Thank you. Larry, I want to get back to something you said. I just want to maybe give everyone a flavor for what the typical Broadway Cares fundraising season looks like. And sort of how the red bucket collections go through their theaters and then sort of that gives color as to what you're doing now.
Larry Cook:Sure. Normally we would have two, six week fundraising periods that all of the theaters participate in and as well as the national tours. And it's a lot of logistics. It's hundreds of volunteers that are part of the process. It's really remarkable. And those two are really our major source of fundraising through the year. Then we have several special events. In the winter we do an event we called Broadway Backwards, which was scheduled for March and has been canceled. And June we do a very amazing event called Broadway Bears, which is this sort of wild burlesque event that the event alone raises a million dollars. And then in support of that, all of the participants do peer to peer fundraising online, which raises almost another million dollars. So, that's all been canceled. We're helping to maybe be able to do some more peer to peer fundraising without the event and see how that works.
And then in the fall we will have normally at the end of September, our Broadway Flea Market, which is another big community event with hundreds of volunteers involved. There's Dancers Responding to AIDS event that we've canceled this summer, which is the Fire Island Dance Festival that's breaking all our hearts because we just love being out there for that event. And then beyond the fall, we are not sure just where we can go. Normally we would have another dance event, the Hudson Valley Dance Festival in October, and then start our fall campaign in all the theaters at the end of October. So right now right off the day that they closed the theaters on March 12th we started a campaign that we're calling the COVID-19 fund. And that's been totally online. Today that's raised just about four million. We may be over four million right now.
And the primary purpose of that campaign has been to funnel grant money to the actor's fund, which is really the organization that provides direct services to the whole entire entertainment community. It's an incredible organization. And they've set up the health clinic that's open to people that are not currently insured, and all kinds of support services to help people navigate their finances and their rights and opportunities through state unemployment. They've had over 5,000 cases that they've helped I've been dealing with just since we started the program. So, we're going to continue to fund that, and we're hoping to be able to acquire some major from some large corporations, which would be money that we would just turn right around and grant out to our national grants program.
Because on top of the actor's fund, we normally fund almost 400 organizations all over the country that are direct service organizations, mostly for AIDS support, but also all kinds of food banks and churches and health groups and harm reduction organizations. It's really remarkable. And we had really announced to those organizations that we were not going to be able to do any grant-making this summer that we were suspending it. But now it looks like we're going to be able to do a fairly significant amount if some of this corporate donations come through. So, we're just working every angle we can.
Candice Meth:Much needed support. And to Charles' point, we are going to be talking more about special dance a little bit later in the program. But now I'll turn it over to Marie.
Marie Arrigo:Thank you Candice. So the next question I wanted to ask is, are private foundations under pressure to accelerate grants? If there has been a surge in grant making. And I'll look to Vivian to lead off that discussion.
Vivian Walsh:There's definitely been more call for grants and more funds. For us, we are fortunate in having a lot of long-term relationships with our grantees, allowing us to take a bit of an individual approach to this so that we can best fit their needs. And that means for some of our grantees, it does mean accelerating payments. We have a COVID fund that we set up, and as an additional budget line. So we are out of that with new grants. We're making payments outside of our regular payment cycle. We do payments normally once a month. But right now if the need is there, we will send out payments outside of that regular cycle. We have also amended some of our programs support grants so that they can be used for general operating purposes. We have softened or even waived some of the reporting requirements for our nonprofits.
They have enough on their plates trying to deal with everything as it is. We want to make sure they're not being bogged down by reporting requirements that we don't need. And like I said, we have these long-term relationships. So we know our grantees, we know the organizations. So, it gives us the ability to do that. Some other things that our foundation has been doing is we added a $500,000 budget line for disaster relief to our budget this year. We doubled our cash flow loan program. It's a revolving fund, which is now a fund of 500,000. We eliminated the fees on that program. We extended the term on that program. It was originally set up to be a short term six month kind of bridge loan setup, and we've extended to loosely a year. Again, it will be on an individual basis with our grantees, how we decided to do the terms on that.
We've also contributed to three area community foundations and the local united way and added to their disaster response fund. And we've stepped up the communications with our grantees.
Marie Arrigo:And I've seen as I do a lot of work with private foundations and I'm hearing the same type of things of accelerating grants and converting the purpose to operating so that there's more flexibility and whatnot. I think also you mentioned the response funds, and that seems to be also a trend. The national center for family philanthropy has indicated that there was more than 165 emergency funds created in March. And the New York City Community Trust has a New York City COVID-19 response and impact fund giving grants and loans to New York City based nonprofits trying to meet the needs of the city. So, that tends to be the trend that the need is out there, and to provide some mechanism to get the funds to those who need it the most. Thank you. And so, the next question I wanted to ask is, what are the fundraising do's and don'ts? How are you keeping in touch with donors grantees during COVID-19?
And for that, let's start with Larry. How are you keeping in touch with donors and grantees, Larry?
Larry Cook:Well, we're very lucky to have a nice young staff that's very social media savvy. So they've been doing all kinds of social media stuff. And primarily though the contacts have been through email and social media. We're in a position where we can offer a lot of different online entertainment, which we just did recently, a streaming of a program that we did in November for Disney's 25th anniversary celebration on Broadway, which is a really beautiful show. But we were able to stream that and online, sort of as a telethon raised almost a little over $600,000 just in that one evening. So, we're trying to come up with entertainment opportunities like that, which we can blast out to our donors and keep people engaged and we have all kinds of people volunteering. We'll do special like one night live streams. And I think it's really creating a lot of positive energy amongst our donors.
And then really our development team has been just terrific in terms of really pulling together a lot of the primary backers in the business and producers and theater owners that have made major donations to us, allowing us to set up matching programs. And it's really been very heartening to see the support at all levels from the owners, the producers down to the unions, right even to the front of house people. Everybody is pitching in.
Marie Arrigo:That's great. I was going to turn to Vivian. Communication with grantees. How are you managing to do that?
Vivian Walsh:We've updated our website so that to put out the information for our disaster response fund. And we do have a Facebook presence, so we've put a post-up on there. We're sending out newsletters more often than we usually do. And those include resources on the different stimulus packages, and other resources to help nonprofits in our area, connecting them with consultants or the council on nonprofits, the New York council on nonprofits. We also have reached out individually to certain grantees or program staff has, and we've been providing some just-in-time technical assistance to them, helping them navigate the operational issues and decision making that they have to go through at this time. We hosted a nonprofit financial planning webinar in response to the COVID-19 in cooperation with the community foundation and a local consultant that we work with often.
We also initiated a survey through the center of effective philanthropy. It was a quick five minute survey in cooperation with other area funders to get some feedback on the impacts of the nonprofits in the Hudson Valley and how the funders can best support them. The responses were confidential, so it was encouraged that they provide candid responses to us, and we got a good response on that with almost 40% response to the survey. So that helps us to decide kind of how to move forward and how to respond.
Marie Arrigo:That's great. Charles how are you communicating with donors?
Charles Bozian:Well, no question social media plays a big role these days. I don't know what we did before social media, and it wasn't that long ago. And really direct contact, email, newsletters, phone calls. Number one, you lead with program. You want to let your donors know that you continue to provide the critical programming that they contribute to, and that we're really trying to take care of our clients. And at the same time we've lost significant funding along the way, and we really need their help now more than ever. And that's not only from events, but it's government funding and it has been across the board. Money has just evaporated. And so, that appeal is a real … It's real. The need is real, and we've been lucky enough to be able to get the paycheck protection program, which again, we'll talk about later. But still, even with that, we're in a significant hole with it here.
It's conveying that to our donors. Our board obviously is critical and helping them craft messages to their networks. So they can do reach out communications for us to their own folks is really critical. So, it's been a patchwork, but we reacted quickly, and we've seen a good success, but the hole is deep. The hole is very deep, unfortunately.
Marie Arrigo: Thank you. So, we had talked a little bit I think about the loss of the spring gala season. And I just want to change the question a … Maybe add a little extra questions. Do you believe that given the economy was in good shape prior to all of this happening? Do you think that there is an economic rebound over the summer as saving the fall gala season? Charles, thoughts on that?
Charles Bozian: Sure. The spring for us is our most critical time. We have five events raised 40% of our revenues in these three months, and that we've had to either cancel or delay. Luckily our largest event, we were about a million dollars into a $2 million fundraising goal when it was canceled. So, we continue to fundraise for that, and that's an outright cancel. That's not being delayed. It's been canceled. And with the money that we're saving we hope that within a couple of $100,000 of our net goal, because we're not having the actual event. And frankly it's been a tough road. Like I said, we've pushed off three events to the fall. We canceled one outright, and then push three events to the fall. And now here as of this week, we're actually going to cancel one of the fall events as well and do a virtual fundraiser trying to raise again a net number that we would have committed to before.
We're hoping that by the time the summer comes and the ball comes around people will feel that they are willing to give. I do think, like I said, we were halfway to our largest fundraising goal. And I do think that we will see a rebound. We will see a rebound in the summer and fall. However, I think the need is going to be great across the country with everyone and people are going to be very selective about who they give money to. And so, I think the pot has shrunk a little bit. And I think that it's going to be very … The competition is going to be very fierce for fundraising, and it's going to make it very difficult. And frankly, by the way, we've been able to cancel all those events with no penalties. We've been able to push everything off and roll over deposits and all that. So there's been virtually no loss from a cost side on those events. People have worked with us and we've been pretty stressful and being able to do that.
So, everyday changes. There's not been a day that something hasn't popped up that has changed something that we thought was going happen kind of happened differently. I just had a finance committee call this morning, and it was a follow-up to a call we had two weeks ago, and half the numbers changed. And I said, by next week the other half will change. So, that's the thing that our board that our board and our finance committee and the donors have to understand is, we're in an uncharted territory, and we're doing our best to figure it out. But there's many things beyond our control that we have to put a stake in the ground and say, "Okay, this is what we think it is." But anything can change backstage. And that's what we're having to deal with every day.
Marie Arrigo:Absolutely. Thank you. Larry, any thoughts about the spring gala season?
Larry Cook:Well, I think that's already gone for sure. And as I said, we've canceled events into the summer. We're hoping that we might still be able to pull off this flea market at the end of September, but it's all a question of how quickly things free up and how quickly tourism picks up and people feel comfortable with getting together in crowds again. I think, I'm trying to be optimistic, but I think we're in for a longer slog than we really want to be. And I'm also worried that there's been tremendous support and enthusiasm in the early stages of this, but donors are just going to get exhausted, and there's just going to be a loss of energy. Because if this is just going to drag on, I'm afraid. So we have such an incredible team here that one of our primary goals is to try to hold the team together. We have been able to get the payroll protection grant or forgiven loan and that's going to definitely buy us time.
So, I don't know. It's very hard to plan when you really don't know how far out we're going to go, whether the theaters will be open in the fall or not till next spring. So, we're just trying to be as conservative and careful as we can and raise as much as we can. And we are really fortunate that the second sort of pool of funding is coming through that we can actually continue to make grants, which we were not expecting to be able to do.
Marie Arrigo:And I think that we've kind of covered the digital fundraising. It sounds like both you and Charles would have done some work with this. Do you have any further thoughts? Have you gotten, in terms of getting donors evolve with the fundraising events, Larry?
Larry Cook:Oh, definitely. We've certainly, we have a lot of people that are performers that are just eager to get online and do different types of shows or songs or whatever they can come up with. We've had Lin-Manuel Miranda do some fundraising for us on the Jimmy Fallon show from his home with their kids. It's some really cute different opportunities that people have been engaged in this through social media. And I'm still sort of a neophyte with Facebook and Instagram and all of the subtleties of those programs, but it's really remarkable how much has been accomplished just through those, just through the social media.
Marie Arrigo: Terrific.
Larry Cook:Broadway Cares has a Facebook page, we have a YouTube page. You can go to our YouTube page and really see full length streamings of performances that we've done in the past, so check it out.
Marie Arrigo: That's great. Charles, any thoughts on the digital fundraising over what you've said? Have you gotten donors to help out in that regard?
Charles Bozian:Yeah. I think we've put together a strategy that we're going to have, we're going to ask that our board members are going to host virtual wine and cheese parties in their living rooms, and as fundraisers, and bring a glass of wine and a checkbook. And so that's a strategy that we are putting in place, and we're hoping that even if you only get 10 or 15% of your board for us that would be eight or 10 people. If they all raise 10 or $15,000, all of a sudden you have a number that's meaningful. So, and any one number doesn't have to be huge, but a lot of a lot of smaller ones end up to be a huge pile. So, I think that's the goal at this point.
Marie Arrigo:That's terrific. Candice, over to you.
Candice Meth:Great. So, I think now we want to switch gears a little bit and talk about operations. Because I think a lot of us are trying to get creative as to how we keep business as usual. How do we cut checks, how do we get the mail, and keep the programs afloat in this virtual environment. So, I'm curious to know what sort of software you're using. If you're doing department meetings in a virtual environment like Zoom, etcetera, and essentially how you're getting your checks out the door and how you're collecting the mail. So with that, then I'll start with Vivian.
Vivian Walsh:Well, we've made some changes to how we evaluate our grantees and how we meet with our grantees. Because of course we can't do it in person now. So there's been a lot of virtual meetings or programs staff they're now meeting as staff with our grantees. We used to just meet once a week. They can be responsive in a more timely manner. Like I said earlier, we have long-term relationships with most of our grantees, so they feel very comfortable reaching out to us. We have also had … It's a bit challenging working from home because we've had some … We're all dealing with distractions, kids and other things as we deal with it. So, we try to be very flexible in our work hours. We work when we can, and we don't have our 9:00 to 5:00. If you need a break, you go take a break, you come back later. And so, that's been helpful. I think as we can all relate, it feels like we've been in this response mode for the last two months.
And making it kind of difficult to get to our usual business or your usual workload because we're responding to everything going on. So, it feels a bit more like we're working harder but we're not accomplishing more. It feels like we're accomplishing less, I know that's not really true. But when you look at your regular workload, it kind of feels that way. And dealing in a home office, we also don't have the same technology. We don't have … I'm used to working with two monitors, and so we don't have the two monitors. We don't have sometimes connection is an issue. If you don't have that high speed internet connection it can slow things down. It can make it a little difficult. But we're doing … Everybody is adjusted pretty well. Our grantees are understanding, our staff is understanding. So, we're making it work. We've moved to our, for a number of years now our IT person has been setting us up to work remotely.
So when we had to all of a sudden make that shift, it wasn't a hard transition for us, because we've all worked from home periodically, not all the time, but occasionally, once a week we've all worked from home. So, we were fortunately set up to do that. That helped a lot in this situation. It helped the call you call forwarding and our phone system. Everything, glitches doesn't work quite the same over remote desktop. But remember we're making it work and it's going pretty well.
Candice Meth:Thank you so much for sharing that. That's very important and it's the truth, for those that invested in technology upfront and it's really paying dividends now, Larry, a little bit about sort of what your internal controls look like now and how you are running your operations.
Larry Cook:Sure. Other than actual production activities, we've been able to do everything with remote desktop. All of our record keeping is in the cloud now. We work with Blackbaud and Raiser's Edge. And so most of the online processing is getting imported into our records. All that's happening remotely, which has been excellent. I'm the one that gets to come into the office and open the mail and deposit the checks. Unfortunately, City National Bank set us up several years ago with a check scanning right in the office. So, I don't have to actually leave to go to a bank or anything. We can make all the deposits right here. And then it's basically scanning and getting information to the development people so that they can respond quickly to the very generous donations that we're getting. And we're cracking out letters. We're really keeping up with most of the recordkeeping as we need to remotely.
So, I'm amazed at what we can accomplish. I totally missed though, the comradery. Candice, you know our office and how much we work together, and how much just general creativity happens just in the gang here. And it's very, very desire being in here with nobody here.
Candice Meth:Sure. Larry, this is a question that has been coming up for a lot of our clients, but given the success in a sense that we've had all working remotely, is there a thought to reducing square footage to reducing your New York city footprint or is that really the heart of the organization and that's where you need to be?
Larry Cook: We definitely need to be here. For those of you who don't know where we are, we're right in Times Square. We're in the Actor's Equity Building so that so many people in the industry it's so convenient for them to participate in all of our activities because they're in and out of this building all of the time. So, we might be able to reduce our footprint, but I think that we probably won't attempt to. We're very fortunate to have a very supportive landlord. Gural Family Properties has been very generous to us and patient with us. And I think this is a good setup that we've been developing over the years, and I don't think there's going to be any sense that we can suddenly all work from home. And when we have to, it's wonderful that we can, but I think we really need the in-person effect.
Candice Meth:Sure. And Charles, I want to comment, I want to pick up on something you mentioned, which is the fact that you were able to get the security deposits back for the gallows and, or apply it going forward. That is fantastic. I'm so happy to hear that the vendors are being as flexible as they are and when everyone needs it the most. And so now I want to also turn it over to you to just talk about how you're running your program and your operations, and how you've restructured your internal controls for this new environment.
Charles Bozian:So, on the program side it's been really remarkable. Like everyone else, we were not set up to work remotely. We did not have a work at home policy. That's how not non-remote we are. And so, in the span of a week we literally went virtual and everyone went home and we maintained communications and everything has been operating like accurately. From the program side, we converted on the workplace side, workplace has a specific curriculum that they follow through the year, and we were able to in the span of about a week and a half or two weeks make that all virtual. And now we hold workplace meetings with the various companies and all the littles, and have the bigs and littles breakout into Zoom Rooms separately so they can have private discussions and all that. It's really been amazing to see. And I actually haven't attended one, but I understand it's really very, very powerful.
Because again, as I mentioned before, these kids are in isolation as we all are. And then we're all operating in our basements, our spare rooms or whatever. These kids really have limited resources and for them to be able to access the outside world and talk to their mentor and get the support that they need, and get the programming. We have a very specific … It's a three year program that these kids go through in the workplace. Especially like the juniors and seniors that are doing college prep and then going through that whole process, these are critical times right now and to be able to continue to provide those services for those kids is really important. On the community side it's been, again, everything is being done virtually. We've moved our orientations or trainings virtually. We've moved to online recruitment. We actually just … Our volunteer response has been down to … Normally we channel everything through online.
Everybody has to register online. Lately it's been down to one to three people volunteering a day. That's drastic. That's horrible. We switched to online recruitment and everything being virtual. Yesterday we had 25 people volunteer as a result. And so, it's been really effective. Everyone is sitting at their computers at home doing work and taking five minutes and looking at Facebook and then they're seeing our ads. So, it's really been very effective. As far as working virtually, we've migrated to Teams and Zoom and BlueJeans and has been a tremendous asset and we really … Again, I think communication has really been critical. We have a town hall meeting every week for the entire company that we can all communicate what's going on, ask questions, very interactive. And that's been really, really powerful and helpful.
Keeping people engaged, keeping people focused on our mission and moving forward in the right direction all in the same way. And it's really, the technology has been tremendous. We had a meeting last week where we had individual breakout rooms where we had a meeting and then we wanted to split up and we had four different topics and we split the meeting of the 60 people into 15 people in each room. And it was really amazing what happened flawlessly. Just all of a sudden we moved into another room, we had our group discussion, then we went back into the main room. And we were reported out. It was remarkable. I've never seen anything like it. But it was like we were all together and really, it was amazing. It was really amazing. And so, the technology has been tremendously helpful, and really keeping that sense of community in the office, and really been very effective in being able to deliver services.
Candice Meth:Great. And actually you even spoke to my next question, which is, for organizations that are so heavily reliant on volunteers such as your organization, it scares me to hear that it had dropped, but I'm so happy to hear that it's back up to being 25 a day. Obviously that is critical and there are many of us that find ourselves with extra time on our hands, because of this situation, so really tapping into that power of volunteerism is fantastic. And with that I'd love to turn it over to Larry about the volunteers as well. I know that you are heavily reliant on your Red Bucket Brigade as we call it. And I'm curious to know how you've been able to maybe channel their energy in a different way.
Larry Cook:The Red Bucket Brigade is this community unto itself. All age groups, all backgrounds of people that just are always there for us. And so, they're doing a lot of social networking and Zoom meetings as well. And we're trying to just keep them engaged. And as I said with online fundraising opportunities, a lot of them have started their own fundraising campaigns on Facebook, and Google, which is funding that's coming through to us. Everybody is just still staying engaged, which is really remarkable. And just to reiterate what Charles said, we do two staff meetings, full staff, 50 people on Zoom a week, and everybody gets to just see everybody's faces. And it's really been incredibly helpful in terms of keeping our team spirit alive here.
Candice Meth:Thank you so much for sharing that. So, I would be remiss, the auditor in me would be remiss if I didn't at least mention what the internal control testing environment is going to look like for upcoming audits. And it's going to be very interesting. So, as part of any audit, the auditors take a look at the internal controls that design plan and perform their audit procedures. And as part of that, they identified the key controls in a transaction cycle and they walked through those controls. But we have to recognize for a period of time and we don't know how long that period will be. Those internal controls change, and the players involved and the segregation of duties all had to adapt to the situation that we're in now. And so, I think we'll all obviously be updating our understanding as to how the controls were functioning during this period of time. And there will be some specific testing related to this period of time.
But certainly, obviously this has an impact for the audit. And I think it's going to be widespread. Everyone recognizes that we're all functioning in an environment of trying to keep business operating. And therefore, normal best practices, perfect segregation of duties may have had to have been set aside. And then resume the minute that everyone can kind of be back in the office setting. And so, stay tuned for that. We're certainly awaiting more guidance to come out of the ACPA. But we're certainly thinking about it, which is part of our audit planning for this year and we're engaging in a dialogue with our clients about it for sure. With that then, I think we'll start to talk a little bit about the cares act and what portions of that act you've taken advantage of. And I'll turn it over to Marie.
Marie Arrigo:Thanks, Candice. We could spend an entire day discussing this act but we're going to just touch on a couple of aspects. For more information you can visit our COVID-19 response page on our website and we have also presented many in-depth webcasts and webinars on the cares act which is available for playback. So that that resource is available to you. So what I just wanted to discuss is the status of the SBA PPP program. As you all know, the initial funding dried up and was basically tapped out. There's a second way that just first was made available yesterday, starting at 10:30 in the morning. And I heard that their computer systems were crashing. Hopefully they got it back online. Larry, I know that you've mentioned a little bit along the way about your status of the PPP loans. Anything further you wanted to add? Maybe mention the bank again?
Larry Cook:I think the secret to success is your relationship with your bank. And we have a terrific relationship with City National Bank. And we were right in the front of the line when the portals first opened with the small business administration. And then there was a long waiting period, but we finally everything was approved, all the paperwork was submitted and the funds were actually deposited into our account today. So, we were lucky to get through the first round before they ran out of money. And I don't know how fast this next bundle of cash is going to get used up, but the real secret is to work as closely as you can with your banker, because they really do the lion's share of the submittal. And it's really going to be a huge help for us in terms of our primary goal, which is to try to hold it together here.
Marie Arrigo:That's great. Charles, what is the status of the PPP and your bank?
Charles Bozian: We're with Chase, and we actually were in the door the first day and we actually got our money about a week and a half ago. So, we were very fortunate to be in that first wave. And you're absolutely right, Larry. The relationship with the banker is so critical. I was on the phone with him all hours of the day and night, multiple days on the weekend. He literally was emailing me at midnight on a Saturday night and I called him at 9:00 on a Sunday morning. And that's the level it got down to. And he was remarkable. He really stepped up and made it happen. And I think evidence by the fact that we got our money a week and a half ago, which I think relatively speaking was really good. I know a lot organizations, a lot of companies that have applied for money that were either shut out of the first round, or still haven't gotten their money or they'll have even heard back on the initial application.
Charles Bozian:So, we were very, very fortunate and we have a very strong relationship with Chase. We have all our debt with Chase. So, there was every incentive for them to make sure that we got this money.
Marie Arrigo:Terrific. And I'm in Vivian, Dyson foundation had decided not to apply for the PPP. Can you give us some background as to how that decision was made?
Vivian Walsh:Sure. We didn't do okay. In the beginning of the year, we had started a process to apply for a line of credit and we actually got that in place right at the beginning of this pandemic, which was very fortunate. So we've tapped to our line of credit for our grant payments until the market can recover. And since we were already set up to work remotely and we've had all that technology in a place for a long time we haven't incurred a lot of additional expense in this environment to continue to work. And as an organization we really felt like those funds should be left to those organizations that had greater needs than we do at this time.
Marie Arrigo:Candice, did you have a comment to make about potentially the forgiven funds, and how that's going to impact audits?
Candice Meth:Sure. So a lot of people are asking us once the funds are forgiven and i.e., essentially turned into a government grant, whether or not that will trigger the need for the single audit, which is an audit of attributes, if you will, under uniform guidance. And some organizations already have that type of audit, because they have a government program that they receive over 750,000 of funding. But there are many nonprofits that are not subject to that current requirement, but we'll have more than $750,000 forgiven under PPP. And so unfortunately at this moment, I don't have an answer to that question. We recently put out a blog on this topic a couple of days ago. But the question was raised to the OMB office of management and budget, and were waiting for their guidance. They typically put out guidance in June to July timeframe.
So we're waiting to find out if it is subject to a uniform guidance, what compliance supplement would be used. And we will definitely stay tuned and we'll be sharing that information as soon as we have it.
Marie Arrigo:Terrific. So, we are getting very close to the end of our time, but I wanted just to go round robin once with our panelists to get any of their final thoughts. Charles, let's start with you. Any final thoughts on all this?
Charles Bozian:Forgot to unmute myself. Listen, we all deliver critical mission services to our constituents. And every organization is struggling right now. And it's, as I said earlier, there's tremendous competition for fundraising. And Larry, as you mentioned, we worry about donor fatigue, but the continuity of services is critical. And we have gone … We've made a commitment not only to our constituents, but also our employees of keeping our staff intact over this time and continuing to deliver services that are critical. And it's been remarkable how people have stepped up and made it work under very, very difficult circumstances. So, it really gives you a good sense of community and a really good sense of mission and it gives you hope. We all need a little bit of hope right now.
Marie Arrigo: Absolutely. Larry, final thoughts.
Larry Cook:Pretty much the same thing. It's been so inspiring to see how the theater community has stayed with us through this and really be a team working together because they really need the support as much as we can get for them at this time. And it's been inspiring to see people are eager to help and volunteer where they can. It's just going to be a challenge to stay optimistic and keep going as this drags on. So, we're hoping to be able to interject some exciting online opportunities for people that will inspire and keep the energy going. So, that's my advice to everybody, is just to try to stay positive. The power of positive thinking, and ignore all of the media attention that every detail is getting and try to stick to your … Focusing on your mission and on the incredible response that you're getting from your donors.
Marie Arrigo:Terrific. Thank you. And Vivian?
Vivian Walsh: For us we understand that nonprofits need extra cash right now with very few restrictions. And as a funder we don't want to add to the burdens that are on an already strained organization with any more than what is absolutely necessary for requirements. And we have the ability to do that with our long-term grantees. And it gives us the confidence that our grant funds will be used in the best possible means. As a funder wheel so would say to nonprofits, encourage communication with everyone that you can, not only the recipients of your services but your funders as well. Be realistic in the expectations of who might be able to help. Have honest communications. And we're all in this together and we will get through it together.
Marie Arrigo:Thank you. Candice, you get the final word.
Candice Meth:Thank you so much, Marie. I just want to share that obviously fundraising in the cloud and working from home presents its own set of challenges, but certainly its own set of opportunities. And I hope everyone comes away from this chat that we've had today feeling inspired. We will stay tuned and find out whether or not the single audit will be needed for forgiven funds. Possible thoughts about what the workforce is going to look like in the future, and what impact this will have for certain. But I'm incredibly inspired by what I heard today. I cannot thank our panelists enough. And I just want to really just thank everyone for coming together today because … Especially in a time of social distancing, it's really nice to come together and we are certainly stronger as a specter together and sharing our thoughts just demonstrates that.
We do have a question online. So I do want to share that. Give me one moment. So the question is for Larry. The question is, how are you managing forgiveness with the PPP with the theaters being closed? So I guess in terms of structuring how you'll be using those PPP funds and the plan for applying those funds.
Larry Cook:Those will be exclusively applied to our own payroll for Broadway Cares for our employees. 75% of it has to go to that by the way of the program is structured. So, that's really our plan is to use those funds exclusively for payroll continuation.
Candice Meth:Great. Fabulous. Well we are right at the end of our time so thank you again to our panelists. Thank you so much Marie for joining me as a moderator.
Transcribed by Rev.com
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