Posted on 04/02/2020 at 09:00 AM
4/20/20 Update: Facebook is now accepting applications for the Grant program listed in this article. Scroll to the bottom of this post for details.
How Facebook is helping Small Businesses through a $100,000,000 Grant
March 15 through March 22, 2020, saw the true rise of the Coronavirus impact in the United States as nearly 2.3 Million people filed unemployment claims, according to The New York Times, quadrupling the previous record set in 1998.
With a vaccine likely several months away, panic buying at an all-time high, and Small Business owners being forced to lay off their staff, citizens are understandably concerned about what America’s future holds. Businesses have also been forced into a state perpetual evolution as they find new ways to do business and satisfy customer needs while prioritizing the safety of their own employees.
Changing Evolving business models mean turning to resources like social media to connect and communicate with customers. This should have always been a part of doing business in modern times, but now more than ever it has become vital.
Facebook Understands the Plight of Small Businesses
Facebook has always had little-known tools (like a business blueprint) for businesses of all sizes to help make the most of its platform. In response to COVID-19, Facebook has upped its game.
“At Facebook, we’re working to keep people safe and informed about the recent outbreak of COVID-19. We know that as members of the communities you serve, businesses like yours may also be experiencing unexpected challenges, and we’re committed to providing as much support as possible.” – Facebook Business Resources
Facebook has vowed to fight disinformation about the virus and the latest news by creating a Coronavirus Information Center, an advanced Business Resource Hub with new training, help, and advice, and recently announced a large grant specifically for SMBs.
The $100,000,000 Facebook Grant
Facebook will be giving $100 Million in the form of grants to assist 30,000 SMBs across 30 nations where Facebook operates. The grant is designed to help cover the costs associated with company overhead as well as in-kind Facebook Ad credits to promote businesses.
"Small businesses are the heartbeat of our communities, and many of the people who run these businesses are heavily affected by the crisis – especially as more and more people sensibly stay home. The longer the crisis goes on, the greater the risk to small businesses and to the livelihoods of their owners and employees. That’s why today I’m announcing that Facebook is investing $100 million to help 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries where our employees live and work." – Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer
Facebook claims that the grants will help business owners keep their workforce going strong, help with rent costs, cover operational costs and assist with connecting with more customers. To attempt to qualify for the grant, business owners will need to apply via an official dedicated website and encourages visitors to the page to sign up for updates to learn more.
In other measures, Facebook has banned ads seeking to capitalize on COVID-19 fears and internally has provided their staff with bonus payments to help through economic hardships caused by the situation (a move that will cost the company around $45 Million or more). Facebook’s total pledges across various platforms (before the grants) total over $150 Million through direct funding.
$20 Million Donation Match: On April 1, 2020, Facebook announced via email that they will match $20 Million in donations to support COVID-19 relief efforts.
Facebook LIVE and Workplace by Facebook
In a previous post, we recommend staying connected with your customers via social media. Facebook LIVE is a great use of the platform for this purpose, and Facebook suggests utilizing the resource to keep customers informed about your response to the pandemic and share important information or announcements.
Another little-known tool to utilize in this time of social distancing and telecommuting is the online collaboration tool Workplace by Facebook. Workplace, much like 3CX and other virtual meeting tools, allows users to hold effective meetings with video chat, connect with your business page for better Live video, create more effective video posts, and integrates with other popular tools such as Google Drive, Zoom, ADP, Office 365 and others. Typically, this tool has a cost associated with it but is currently being offered for free for 30 days... hopefully long enough to get us through the pandemic.
TikTok Chimes In
Social media up-and-comer and new heavy hitter TikTok also wants to join in on relief efforts both by providing updated information as well as donating funds. In a partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) to provide a platform for the organization to Livestream updates and provide other information.
To assist with vital information, TikTok created a page they call the Safety Center which provides a place for local health resources, safety videos, and more. TikTok, owned by the Chinese Beijing-based ByteDance, has also committed to donating $10 Million to the WHO’s COVID-19 response efforts.
"It's been gratifying to see the global community rally behind the true heroes of this crisis: the health care professionals around the world who are battling on behalf of us all. We believe it's essential to do everything we can to help the global health community in this fight, and today TikTok is donating $10 million to the World Health Organization's (WHO) Solidarity Response Fund. This fund helps the WHO carry out vitally important work, including sending essential supplies to front line health care workers, ensuring communities have access to the latest science-based information, and accelerating efforts to discover life-saving treatments or vaccines."- TikTok
Google and LinkedIn have also pledged to help with Google pledging several million dollars across multiple platforms and LinkedIn is working with other companies to donate $22 Million.
For the latest COVID-19 related news, updates and announcements, we encourage you to visit who.int.
To donate to the WHO’s COVID-19 response efforts, click here.
Updated Application Information from Facebook:
The following information was sent to businesses who requested updates about the Facebook Grant Program:
How to Find out if you’re eligible for Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program
"We appreciate your patience as we launch Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program. We’re taking great care in how we accept, review and deliver grants to over 30,000 businesses across 30 countries who need help. To start, this week we’ll begin accepting applications in the following locations:
- April 20 - San Francisco Bay Area
- April 22 - All other eligible US cities
*We’re already accepting applications for Altoona, Papillon, Forest City and New Albany as part of our initial pilot program.
Visit Facebook’s Small Business Grants Program and answer a few simple questions to find out if you’re eligible for a grant from Facebook. The application will be open for 2 weeks."