last updated 2:45pm PDT, April 7
The US government has approved a stimulus package to help small businesses and nonprofits across the country. And it’s OK to use the Payroll Protection Program for church plants.
Have you seen the daily webinars about this? It’s been a fast moving target since the government wrote it, approved it and enacted it in about a week. Everybody’s scrambling to interpret and understand how it works and what to do.
Part of the larger CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security), loans are offered to small businesses, nonprofit and churches to help prevent layoffs and pay cuts. And the loans may be forgiven up to 100%. Others have done a better job of explaining the ins and outs of the Payroll Protection Program for church plants (see below), so I won’t duplicate that here.
It feels a bit like the California Gold Rush. The government has funded $350B, but that’s not nearly enough to provide relief for all the businesses, nonprofits and churches that will be applying. So it’s going to be a first come, first served situation.
After much watching and reading, here are my…
Tips & Tactics
Finish your research yesterday
This all happened so fast, but many fellow believers have already put together some great resources. Here are resources that helped me:
- Vanderbloemen’s various Live events and free resources
- ECFA CARES Impact on Churches
- US Chamber of Commerce Emergency Loans Guide & Checklist
- StartChurch’s How the CARES Act Impacts You and Your Ministry
- AccuPay’s What Lenders Need
Talk to your bank on Thursday, April 2
They are scrambling to be ready same as everybody else. And you want to deal with a banker that’s up to speed and ready to go when the program opens on Friday, April 3.
UPDATE: Referral to the wrong program
I’ve already had one church planter report that their bank told them they had to apply on the SBA website and gave him a link (which is wrong). It was to a different SBA program. I offer a lot of grace on that because all of this didn’t exist this same time last week. Just don’t be fooled.
UPDATE: Lenders claiming churches are ineligible
Some churches are reporting back to us that their lender declined to take their application since churches are ineligible for SBA loans. While that is usually true, the CARES act explicitly includes churches for the Payroll Protection Program. If this happens to you, offer much grace and gently guide them to SBA pages that speak to this directly, like this press release.
The program is backed by the US Small Business Administration (SBA), but administered by banks and other lenders.
Make an appointment to come back with your application Friday morning.
BANK UPDATE – Apr 7 at 2:45pm PDT
I’m getting reports that some banks are accepting applications online:
- Chase Bank (must have had already had a business account with them)
- Wells Fargo Bank (stopped taking applications due to high volume)
- CitiBank (application not available yet)
- US Bank (fill out their inquiry form to get started)
- ECCU (application now available through partner)
- PNC Bank (must have had already had a business account with them)
- BBVA Bank (temporarily closed application due to overwhelming response)
So you may be able to apply from the comfort of home. Maybe as soon as midnight tonight???
Have your paperwork ready on Thursday, April 2
Download and complete the Paycheck Protection Program Application Form and get it filled out. They only just made it available Tuesday evening, March 31.
Dig up all of your payroll expenses back to February 2019. To help compile everything, here is a free spreadsheet from my friend Sean Havera at Unite Community Church. He built this for the Payroll Protection Program for church plants and offers it as-is and on condition that you consult with your accountant and/or lender on all final calculations.
You’ll be averaging your payroll from last year. Common opinion is that if you haven’t been running payroll that long, you can average the months that you did have payroll expenses. That’s great for the newest church planters!
Apply at your bank Friday Morning, April 3
Seriously, you want to be at the front of the line.
Future Tip: Open a separate account for PPP funds
You’re going to want to have super-tight records of exactly what came in, what it was spent on, etc. Thanks, Mike Batts, for that tip!
Check Back Later
I encourage you to check back on this post as changes to the information and/or process are likely.
If you’ve decided to apply, I hope these tips & tactics help with applying for the Payroll Protection Program for church plants.