As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the impact on populations around the world compounds every day. In addition to those who have contracted the virus or care for people who have fallen ill, millions more are experiencing acute personal crises as a result of the pandemic. For example, shelter-in-place ordinances have led to spikes in depression, financial distress, hunger, and abuse.
During these moments of crisis, people who need help often turn to trained specialists at 24/7 crisis lines for support and resources. As a result, demand for these critical frontline services has increased dramatically. In a recent survey, 49 percent of mental health crisis centers reported an increase in inbound volume as a result of COVID-19. Organizations that serve victims of domestic violence have reported a surge in calls to crisis lines around the world, and 98 percent of food banks in the Feeding America network reported an increase in inbound requests for food assistance.
Social distancing has introduced additional challenges to providing crisis support. Many in-person social services are unavailable, requiring that organizations transition to digital services. Likewise, crisis lines that typically operate on-premise contact centers must adapt their services to support remote work and volunteering. In both situations, these organizations must find ways within this new environment to maintain the human connections that are central to crisis support.
We're at the intersection of three factors that strain the capacity for crisis lines to help people in need:
Escalating crises: People are experiencing many forms of acute crisis
Global need: These crises are happening at an unprecedented scale
Service disruption: Crisis lines need to adapt to remote work and virtual services
The question now is how can we come together to solve these challenges, and connect people in crisis with life saving support during these unprecedented times?
Grants to help build the next generation of crisis lines
When Twilio.org launched the Crisis Response and Prevention Initiative in 2019, we shared our vision that one day every person in crisis will be able to get the help they need right when they need it. With COVID-19 throwing more people into crisis each day, now is the time for us to work together and help those in need. That’s why in the next three months, Twilio.org will award $2 million in grant funding to support organizations helping people in acute crisis through hotline and helpline services.
In this grant round, we’re funding nonprofit, NGOs, and charitable organizations that operate crisis hotlines and helplines that connect people with help, information, and resources. We’ve seen how critical communications are during this difficult time, and our goal is to enable more organizations to rapidly scale the number of people they can serve, while preserving quality of care.
In particular, we seek to help organizations:
Help more people in crisis by scaling program services using cloud technology,
Provide life changing support through digital engagement,
Maintain staffing capacity by adapting to remote work for employees and volunteers,
Track and report on program outcomes using modern analytics tools.
Apply for a grant from the Impact Fund
We want to help you build and scale the next generation of crisis support services so we can meet people’s needs today and be prepared for the future. If you work on a hotline, helpline, or contact center that provides help to people in crisis as a result of COVID-19, we encourage you to apply for a grant. We are accepting applications through June 5, 2020.
Learn more about the Impact Fund, review frequently asked questions, and apply for a grant by visiting the Twilio.org Impact Fund. Watch the on-demand webinar and Q&A session about the grant round.