COVID-19: 5/18/20 NAO Update

by | May 22, 2020 | Event

May 18, 2020
Dear Nonprofit Colleagues and Supporters:
As we kick off a new week, it’s important that we help fuel our teams’ mental and physical health as much as possible during these times. NAO nonprofit member and NAO subtenant Living Yoga is training healthcare providers and local county staff and have generously opened up a 90-minute online immersive and practice-oriented group session for anyone interested. I encourage you to check out their Saturday, May 30 session, which will focus on how to cope with stress, overwhelm, and trauma through mind-body movements that down-regulate the nervous system. Register for the session here.
Governor Brown has slowly loosened the stay-at-home order and many counties in Oregon entered Phase I this past Friday. With these loosened restrictions, more of us are venturing out (carefully!) to test the possibilities of bringing our staff and volunteers back to work on site. As you consider your options, please make use of the curated materials we have put together on how to protect your team, program participants and workplaces. You can find those materials here. Also, be sure to sign up for our session: Ask the Experts – Legal and Practical Realities of Reopening the Workplace on Tuesday, May 26. Register for the session here.
Another big conundrum hanging over our heads as we emerge from quarantine is how to realign our nonprofit to this new reality. Many of us are wondering what comes next, as we try to imagine what the future may hold and how to guide our organizations with so many unknowns. Last Thursday, we held the first of a three-part series on Rethinking your Strategy: Planning Recovery for COVID-19 with Steve Patty and Jessamyn Luiz from Dialogues In Action.
I was struck by the clear opportunity we all have to evolve as a result of these unprecedented times. Steve counseled that rather than double, down on current strategies (set for the pre-COVID-19 reality) or simply throw ideas at the problem and hope some stick, there is a third way… He and Jess reminded us to examine the opportunity of adaptation, the value of holding fast to key parts of our identity, the importance of focusing on impact, and ways to become re-oriented to the new context.
If you missed the first session, don’t fret! You can view the first session: Opportunity of a Crisis recording and slides, as well as register for the second and third sessions on Thursday, May 21 and Thursday, May 28 respectively. As with all of NAO’s COVID-19 programming right now, this three-part series is free for Oregon nonprofits, thanks to the gracious support of foundations and sponsors.
Now on to the latest public policy and advocacy-related news!
One Step Closer to PPP Loan Forgiveness
On May 15 evening, the Small Business Administration released the application and instructions for PPP loan forgiveness. This is not the guidance we’ve all been waiting for, but it is a start.  SBA shared in releasing the application that “SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.”
(For those of you who were keeping count: the PPP application and instructions were 4 pages (plus 47 FAQs on 17 pages!). The forgiveness application/instructions just released are 11 pages.)
SBA states that the application for loan forgiveness is designed to “reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers.” They highlight the following:
  • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
  • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
  • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
  • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
  • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined
Even though the very first PPP customers will reach the end of their 8-week covered period during the week of June 8, just three weeks away, we don’t expect many to be ready to apply for forgiveness right away. Many borrowers will wish to utilize safe harbor provisions on the two forgiveness modifiers (FTE and compensation) which are available up to June 30. This application is clearly a first step towards more comprehensive guidance about PPP loan forgiveness. For most of us that borrowed money under PPP, there is still insufficient direction to confidently complete our forgiveness application. Nonprofits can comfortably wait before asking questions and seeking advice because in many cases your lenders cannot answer all your questions today. For now, you should gather, maintain and organize the information needed as outlined in the SBA’s forgiveness application package (Page 10). This is the critical first step toward maximizing forgiveness.
We therefore expect most forgiveness applications will arrive after the July 4 holiday. Banks will use this time to build their processes and bank specific application. Most banks won’t begin accepting applications until the program is better defined and our systems are ready.
As I mentioned, although the forgiveness application is now public, it is not nearly sufficient on its own. Lenders are still looking for:
  • Much more definition surrounding eligible compensation, including bonuses, profit sharing contributions, union dues and fees, lump sum payments, hazard pay, etc.;
  • Similar to compensation, more definition is needed about eligible utilities;
  • More flexible definitions of health and pension benefits;
  • Clarity on the duties and responsibilities of the Lenders in reviewing their forgiveness application.
It is important to remember that banks expect the forgiveness cycle will take longer than the original application as it is more complex. The banks (in light of the complexity) will have up to 60 days to decision these requests once your application is submitted to the bank. You won’t be making any payment on the loan for six months, which together with interest forgiveness included in the forgiveness calculations mean that you are not under pressure to submit early. It will be more important to submit a complete application, with supporting information, and to have the knowledge from the currently unknown details to maximize the forgiven portion of the loan.
We anticipate many more details, guidance, and corrections in the coming days and weeks. Some contacts in Washington D.C. have told us that additional forgiveness guidance may be issued this week. NAO will keep you updated as soon as more definitive guidance is made public. Hang in there!
HEROES Act passes the House
The U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 6800, the “Health and Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions Act,” the HEROES Act on Friday, May 15. The vote was 208 to 199, with one Republican voting yea and 14 Democrats voting nay. We reported on this last week, so I won’t go into details here on what is in the bill. (For reference see NAO COVID-19 Alert – May 14.) What is clear is that this bill will not have an easy passage in the Senate.
News releases announcing the introduction of S. 3747, the Work Opportunities and Resources to Keep Nonprofit Organizations Well Act (the WORK NOW Act) came out on Friday, May 15 and NAO was proud to be mentioned for our endorsement. The news release from Senator Wyden and Senator Merkley  and eight Democratic co-sponsors also highlights the endorsement of the National Council of Nonprofits. The following Democratic Senators cosponsored the bill: Blumenthal (CT), Brown (OH), Carper (DE), Coons (DE), Duckworth (IL), Klobuchar (MN), Markey (MA), Merkley (OR), Schatz (HI), and Wyden (OR).
Upcoming Online Sessions for Nonprofits
Ask the Experts: Building Your Plan for More Meaningful Donor Engagement, May 19, Noon – 1 p.m. PT: Laurel McCombs, Consultant of The Osborne Group will discuss how and why building even stronger relationships with your donors is more critical than ever before. Relationship building has always been the core of fundraising efforts; however, the past couple of months have brought these even more clearly into focus. Many organizations have seized the opportunity and built even stronger relationships, while others continue to struggle to connect. Laurel will discuss how to engage your donors no matter where you are today and how to plan for the transition that is here and now. Register for the session here.
Rethinking Your Strategy: Planning for Your Nonprofit’s Recovery – a three-part series on Thursday, May 14, Thursday, May 21, and Thursday, May 28, Noon – 1 p.m. PT: Steve Patty, Founder of Dialogues in Action will guide nonprofits on how to rethink our pre-COVID strategies and plan for recovery in this three-part series. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the way nonprofits deliver services and programming and continuing to pursue our pre-COVID-19 strategies is not an option. Steve will discuss how nonprofits can make it through this crisis, emerge better, and be even more valuable to our communities for greater impact. The series consist of: Session 1 – The Opportunity of a Crisis; Session 2 – How to Adapt Your Strategy; and Session 3 – Create a New Future for a New Normal. If you hadn’t previously signed up for these free sessions, register and view previous session here.
Ask the Experts: Legal and Practical Realities of Reopening the Workplace, Tuesday, May 26, Noon – 1 p.m. PT: Jenna Reid, Vice President of HR Services and General Counsel at Cascade Employers Association will cover the many challenges all employers, including non-profits are facing in reopening the workplace, keeping employees and returning employees to work. From the Phase 1 Reopening Guidelines to employees refusing offers to return, this session will give you insights into the current and potential future state of the new workplace. Register for this free session here.
Nonstop Presents: Workplace Strategies to Support Mental Health, Thursday, May 28, 10 – 11 a.m. PT: Nonstop Administration and Insurances Services, an NAO partner, will be hosting Laura Green, SHRM-CP of Nonprofit HR, who will share how employers can best support their employees during these uncertain times. She’ll discuss tangible, simple solutions to help employees feel connected to the organization, as well as provide resources to assist with finding personal peace of mind. Register for the session on Nonstop’s site here.
QuickBooks Desktop Edition Made Easy for Nonprofits, June 16, 17 & 18, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. PT: Gregg S. Bossen, CPA of QuickBooks Made Easy, is partnering with NAO to offer an updated three-part QuickBooks® training webinar for nonprofits. This webinar is for the Desktop edition of Quickbooks. Gregg will cover the basics of setting up and entering transactions specifically for nonprofits, an overview of the software updates included in the QuickBooks® 2018 Desktop Edition, as well as advanced topics covering a host of specific processes that will help you do more helpful and amazing things! Register for the three-part webinar here.
QuickBooks Online Edition Made Easy for Nonprofits, June 23, 24 & 25, 11 a.m. – 1 pm. PT: Gregg S. Bossen, CPA of QuickBooks Made Easy, is partnering with NAO to offer an updated three-part QuickBooks® training webinar for nonprofits. This webinar is for the Online edition of Quickbooks. Gregg will cover the basics of setting up and entering transactions specifically for nonprofits, an overview of the software updates included in the QuickBooks® 2018 Online Edition, as well as advanced topics covering a host of specific processes that will help you do more helpful and amazing things! Register for the three-part webinar here.
Other Updates
Oregon Business’ 100 Best Nonprofits to Work for in Oregon survey launched: Oregon Business has launched its 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey for 2020. The coronavirus pandemic has created a lot of uncertainties for organizations across all sectors of the economy, including Oregon’s nonprofits. It is more important than ever to keep communication flowing with employees as many are working remotely. Register for Oregon Business’ 2020 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey to find out how satisfied your employees are and what their concerns are in these uncertain times. Taking time to listen to your employees will set you up to be an even stronger organization. Join our effort to support strong workplace culture and celebrate successful employers by participating in the 100 Best Nonprofits to Work For in Oregon survey. The survey must be completed by mid-July. Click here for survey information; to register for the survey, click here.
Stay safe and healthy!
Jim White
Executive Director
Thank you to the following SUPPORTERS and SPONSORS who are supporting NAO’s online COVID-19 events and communications during these challenging times. Their support is vital in helping NAO to bring much-needed resources and information to Oregon’s nonprofits – thank you.
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