View our on-demand webinar to learn more about the COVID-19 crisis line grant round.

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COVID-19 crisis lines grant round FAQ

What is the objective of’s COVID-19 crisis line grant round?

This grant round will support the long-term and far-reaching impact of Covid-19 on our collective communities. Much of the acute suffering caused by this pandemic stems from a loss of connection to critical support and resources needed by the most vulnerable amongst us.

We believe crisis lines play a unique role in getting people the help they need right when they need it — especially when in-person delivery of social services is not feasible for the foreseeable future. The nonprofit organizations that run these hotlines are on the frontlines of crisis response. The problem is that most of these organizations are underfunded, understaffed, and lack the technology tools needed to adapt to unprecedented demand in an era of quarantining and social distancing.

Through this grant round, we want to provide crisis lines with the tools and resources they need to keep up with the unprecedented demand for their services.

How do we define what a crisis line is and what purpose it serves?

While the term “hotline” is ubiquitous and used in a variety of different contexts, is specifically looking to fund organizations that operate hotline contact centers that help people in acute crisis re-establish a sense of safety and stability.

The two types of crisis contact centers we are looking to fund are:

Crisis Counseling: Ensuring vulnerable populations experiencing an emotional crisis get immediate counseling from a trained crisis expert to reestablish a sense of safety and stability. Examples include:

· A suicide prevention hotline for LGBTQ+ communities
· A sexual assault hotline for survivors of sexual violence

Emergency Resource Allocation: Providing vulnerable populations with urgently needed information and/or supplies. Examples include:

· A grocery-delivery hotline for elderly people who cannot leave their home
· A hotline for displaced populations to receive life-saving information in refugee camps

Who should apply?

If you currently run or are planning to build a crisis line to scale your impact and support communities in acute crisis or those at imminent risk of acute crisis as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we encourage you to apply.

How do you define people in acute crisis?

We define people in acute crisis as those individuals who are impacted by an emergency and unable to meet their basic survival needs or those individuals who face serious and immediate threats to their life and well being. These emergencies may affect whole communities or specific individuals. From the lens of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, people in acute crisis include vulnerable communities/individuals currently experiencing, or at imminent risk of experiencing, the following:

· Mental health
· Substance misuse
· Refugee / Conflict
· Sexual violence / Abuse
· Acute food, housing or income insecurity

Does a crisis line have to provide 24/7 services in order to be eligible for grant funding?

We are looking to fund crisis lines that serve people in acute crisis as a result of COVID-19. If you currently operate a crisis hotline or helpline that helps people in acute crisis re-establish a sense of stability and security, we encourage you to apply. In your application, tell us about the communities you serve and the challenges they are facing. If you do not provide 24/7 services, give us context around the services that you do provide and how you’d like to scale or expand your services. Tell us about the challenges you face and how a grant could help you overcome those barriers to amplify your impact.

Would you consider an application that does not use new or upgraded technology for an existing crisis line?

At Twilio, we have seen the impact that communications technology can make when used by social impact organizations to scale their services to meet the demands of COVID-19. We will give preference to organizations that are incorporating modern communications technology as a component of their proposal. However, this is not the only programming cost that we would like to support. We will also support other costs to scale your impact such as increased staffing and costs to improve operational efficiencies.

Are you looking for crisis lines that have a minimum number of calls in order to be eligible for grant funding?

We do not have a minimum call volume for crisis lines to be eligible for grant funding. We seek to fund organizations that offer both scale and depth of impact on people’s lives and we will evaluate both of these impacts during our review. Please describe how grant funding would enable you to increase the number of people you serve and/or expand or improve your services.

What is the timeline for the crisis response grant round?

The application and review process for the 2020 crisis response grant round is as follows:

· May 11, 2020: Grant round launched and application open
· May 19, 2020: Informational webinar
· June 5, 2020: Deadline for grant applications
· August 2020: Grant recipients announced

Is the June 5 application deadline specific to a timezone?

We will accept applications until 11:59pm PST on June 5.

What size grants do you plan to award?

We will award grants up to a maximum of $150,000 for activities covering a period of up to 12 months from the date of the grant being awarded.

What are your evaluation criteria?

We are looking for applications that:

· Outline a critical need brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and a plan to address that need with crisis lines
· Plan to serve (i) a large number of people in acute crisis who need help (impact at scale); and (ii) serve those who are most vulnerable with resources that have life-changing impact (impact at depth)
· Break the status quo by reaching communities that couldn’t be reached before and/or provide new services or information. Examples include: preserving staffing capacity by enabling hotline staff to work remotely through transitioning to cloud-based contact centers; reaching more people in need by offering multichannel communications (voice + SMS + chat) that bridge the digital divide; optimizing human capital by intelligently deflecting non-urgent contacts to automated resources and keep service delivery staff focused on more complex and higher-risk cases
· Provide better tracking and reporting of crisis state through modern contact center analytics and business intelligence tools
· Identify clear success measures
· Align with’s mission to fuel communications that give hope, power and freedom

In addition to the above, we prioritize funding organizations that demonstrate:

· Organizational financial sustainability
· Efforts taken toward diversity, equity, inclusion and justice in terms of your organization’s workforce and leadership, as well as the communities you serve.
· Commitment toward sustaining technological innovation

How strict are the word limits for application questions?

We are serious about applying the word limits. If your response is beyond the stipulated word limit, we will only read the response up to the word limit. We anticipate a large number of applications and we want to ensure that we evaluate each application on the same criteria. We encourage you to be deep but brief in your responses.

Do you have a budget template?

No, we are not requiring that you use a specific budget template. However please organize your budget under cost categories, for example staffing costs, program costs, operational costs and indirect costs. We encourage you to add additional cost categories specific to your program. Please be as specific in your answers as possible so that it is clear how you intend to spend your funds.

I started my application but need to come back to it. Can I save it?

The application is hosted on Airtable, a cloud collaboration platform used by many funders to streamline grant applications. Unfortunately, Airtable does not have an autosave function. We recommend that you complete the application in a separate document and copy/paste your responses into the online application form so you don’t lose any of your work.

Can the application be completed in another language?

Unfortunately, the application can only be submitted in English. If you are using online translation services such as, please let us know in your application. The interviews for the finalists and ongoing grant communication will take place in English so we encourage you to prepare accordingly if selected as a finalist.

If given a grant, what are the reporting requirements?

All grantees will be expected to submit a 6-month and 12-month report. The report will include the number of people in crisis and/or at risk reached via grant funds, the impact of the project on their lives, and how grant funds enabled the organization to scale impact in a way that wasn’t possible before. We may request that grantees report on additional measures of success, including measures that were included in the application.

If I am not selected for a grant in a given round, may I apply again in the future?

Yes. We invite interested organizations to apply for a grant each time we open a funding round. To receive communications about upcoming grants, please sign up for our email list.

I just submitted my application. What’s next?

Congratulations! Our goal is to respond to all applications. We will invite the top 20 applicants for virtual interviews in July and plan to announce the grant winners in August. In the meantime, we encourage you to take advantage of the additional resources that we are offering at to help you leverage communications technology to achieve your mission during COVID-19.


Grant round eligibility criteria FAQs

Will you accept grant proposals from organizations based outside the United States?

Yes, we accept grant proposals from organizations based anywhere in the world.

Is current Twilio product usage a prerequisite for eligibility?

No. We are committed to supporting organizations that will use our grant funding to leverage communications technology to effectively scale their efforts and better serve the communities they support. Our grantees include organizations that are already using Twilio products, as well as those who do not.

We prioritize organizations that plan to or are already using communications technology to scale impact. To that end, we have found that organizations best suited for a grant from Twilio have (or plan to bring on) technical staff to build and manage the proposed solution, have sustainable funding sources for technical products, and have a demonstrated track record using technology.

Are there any other qualities you look for when evaluating grant proposals?

In addition to the aforementioned evaluation criteria, we look for organizational alignment with our company values, what we call the Twilio Magic. These values are core to Twilio, and we look to fund organizations that share our vision of creating a diverse, inclusive and healthy workplace for all.

What size and stage organizations do you fund?

We provide grants to organizations of any size, ranging from early stage, small teams to large organizations operating in multiple countries.

Is my organization eligible for grant funding if we are already an Impact Access member?

Yes, absolutely! Great to hear that you are already a member of’s Impact Access Program.

We are a volunteer group and don’t have a non-profit registration. Are we eligible for funding?

We are only able to award grants to registered non-profit organizations. However, we encourage you to visit our Impact Access program, as we’ve expanded our eligibility criteria to include volunteer groups working on response and recovery efforts for COVID-19. This program offers a $500 kickstart credit to try out Twilio along with discounts on products.

My organization is based outside the U.S. Am I still eligible for grant funding if I don’t have a 501(c)(3) registration?

If you are a registered non-profit organization in your country, you are eligible for grant funding. Please submit your registration document when you submit your application.

Can my organization submit a joint application with several organizations?

If you are working on a multi-organizational crisis line initiative, we recommend that you identify one organization to submit the application and be the prime holder of the grant, if awarded. You may budget for multi-organizational activities with the understanding that grant funds will be transferred to the organization that is the holder of the grant award.

Can we use grant funds to pay our Twilio bill?

No. Your grant funds may not be used to pay your Twilio bill. We encourage you to use the funding to support work related to building a software application, technical staff, programmatic support or other communications work, but do not use them to pay the bill directly.


General and Impact Fund FAQs

I’m new to Twilio. How do I get started and what benefits do nonprofit organizations receive from Twilio?

Sign up for a Twilio account. While you’re at it, sign up for the Impact Access program to receive your nonprofit benefits, which include:

· A $500 kickstart credit which is good for approximately $80,000 text messages to try out Twilio.
· Discounts on Twilio product usage
· Volunteer support through the Impact Corps
· Access to Twilio resources, including tutorials, guides and customer support
· Expanded eligibility criteria to support COVID-19 response

Nonprofit organizations and social enterprises are eligible for’s Impact Access program, regardless of whether you apply for or receive a grant from Twilio.

Where is my Twilio Account SID?

Your Account SID is located in your Twilio Console on the account dashboard.

Does the grant include access to any additional Twilio resources?

Absolutely! We like to call this the bear hug. If you have additional questions about Twilio products, new features, or have a business question, we’re happy to connect you with Twilio employee volunteers with expertise in areas ranging from technical architecture, user experience and analytics to fund raising, strategy and marketing via our Impact Corps program. Twilio volunteers love to support social impact organizations achieve their missions.

What is the Impact Fund?

Twilio allocated 1% of our company equity as part of the Pledge 1% movement to fund the Impact Fund. Through this fund, we support nonprofits and social enterprises that are generating impact that align with’s mission to fuel communications that give hope, power and freedom. Learn more about the Impact Fund, our grantees and investees here and see who we’ve funded.

Who administers distribution of grants?

The Impact Fund is managed by Tides Foundation as a donor advised fund (DAF). Grants and investments are administered by the Tides Foundation.


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