This FAQ sheet contains answers to the questions persons ask most often about the application process at Modest Needs.
If you're considering applying for help from Modest Needs, you should review this information BEFORE submitting an application. You'll stand a much better chance of receiving help if you've done so.
You are eligible to apply for assistance from Modest Needs if:
Modest Needs also provides grants to small non-profit organizations. For more information on this grant type and its eligibility guidelines, please follow this link and scroll to the bottom of that page. Or, please read our FAQ Sheet for Non-Profits.
Modest Needs offers four types of grants: Self-Sufficiency Grants, Bridge Grants, New Employment Grants, and Independent Living Grants. The grants we offer at Modest Needs come with no strings attached and do not ever have to be repaid.
To learn more about the types of grants we offer at Modest Needs, please read about our Grant Types and Eligibility Requirements.
No. For about a year, from October 2009 to October 2010, we did charge a fully-refundable $7.50 application fee as a means of controlling against fraudulent applications for assistance. However, we determined that this fee did not control against fraud as well as the other safeguards we had in place, resulted in enormous bookkeeping headaches, and caused legitimate applicants to question Modest Needs' own legitimacy.
For these reasons, we discontinued our application fee in October 2010. Going forward, Modest Needs will never again charge an application fee of any kind to our applicants, ever.
That depends on the type of grant you're requesting. During the application process, we'll tell you the maximum grant your household would be able to request under the grant program for which you qualify.
Just one. If you attempt to create more than one applicant registration with Modest Needs, our system will generate an error message that says that a duplicate registration has been found and will prohibit the new registration from being created.
If you've lost your login information, you should NOT attempt to create a new applicant registration. Instead, follow this link to answer your secret question and retrieve your login information.
If all else fails, you are also welcome to contact us directly for help to retrieve your login information.
Yes. At Modest Needs, we permit one active application per household at a time.
Additionally, Modest Needs has in place a lifetime limit of three funded grant applications per registered household.
In other words, once a registered household has received help from Modest Needs three times, no person living in that household is eligible to receive help from Modest Needs at any time in the future.
You can apply for assistance from Modest Needs ONLY by completing our online grant application.
To get started, just click the 'Apply for Help' link located on Modest Needs' main menu, above, and follow the step-by-step instructions.
You're welcome to contact us with general questions about Modest Needs before you apply. However, but this generally just slows down the application process for you. Your best bet is to go ahead and complete our grant application and allow us to review your situation in that way.
Yes. Our online application form will guide you through the application process and will tell you if you plan to apply for a type of assistance we don't offer, or if we do not believe that Modest Needs can effectively serve your household's current needs.
The best way to determine whether you qualify for a grant from Modest Needs is to complete our online grant application. To begin this process, just click the 'Apply for Help' link located in Modest Needs' main menu, above.
At Modest Needs, we evaluate all applications for assistance using the four-step process described below:
This depends on many factors, including the speed with which you - the applicant - provide us with the documentation we need to support your application, and how quickly our donors allocate to your application all of the points that it needs in order to receive a Modest Needs grant.
It is our goal to process everything that we receive from our applicants (new applications and complete documentation packets) within one business day. This is occasionally not possible, for example, during times when we're experiencing a heavy volume of new applications. In that case, it may take up to two or three business days to certify a new application for donor review.
However, you'll receive a daily status update from Modest Needs to let you know where your application stands every day that it is active. You can also check your Modest Needs Personal Page to see the status of your application at any time.
In a best-case scenario, it is possible to fund an application within one or two business days from the date it is certified for donor review. However, our experience suggests that it takes a minimum of seven days for an application to be funded after it has entered donor review, and is most likely to take two to three weeks.
The best way to 'speed up' the review of your application is to get all your documentation to Modest Needs as quickly as possible, and exactly as requested.
If you are prepared to provide us with the documentation we request from you within one business day, your application may be in donor review within one or two business days of our receiving your documentation.
Under those circumstances, it is possible for our donors to fund an application as quickly as the same day, though it usually takes a minimum of 7-10 days for an application of high interest to be fully funded by our donors.
If you need help more quickly than that - for example, if you're facing eviction tomorrow - Modest Needs is probably not the best resource for you. Instead, please consider calling your local Department of Human Services to see what types of immediate assistance might be available in your area.
Chances are you haven't yet marked your documentation 'ready for review.'
Once you've uploaded all of the documentation that Modest Needs has requested from you, you MUST click the button that says 'Mark my documentation ready for review.' Doing this signals your Client Advocacy Specialist that it's time to review your documentation.
If you do not click the button 'Mark my documents ready for review,' then your Client Advocacy Specialist will not be notified that your documents are ready, and your application will probably just 'sit there' until it expires. To avoid this, PLEASE be sure to mark your documents ready for review once you've uploaded all of the documentation to support your application.
Throughout the application process, your Client Advocacy Specialist will communicate with you EXCLUSIVELY via email, and through notations that will appear on your Modest Needs Personal Page.
For this reason, it is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL that you check the email account attached to your Modest Needs registration AND your Modest Needs Personal Page DAILY for as long as your application is active at Modest Needs.
Every day, we'll send you an email update to let you know the status of your application and how many more points you need to receive in order for your application to be fully funded by Modest Needs.
You received the name of and contact information for your Client Advocacy Specialist in the 'acknowledgement' letter that came to you via email as soon as you submitted your new application.
If you've misplaced that email message, you can find your Client Advocacy Specialist's name and contact information using the chart below:
|If you live in:||Then your Client Advocacy Specialist is:||Your CAS is in the office
(M-F, excluding holidays):
|To contact your CAS via telephone, call:||To contact your CAS via email, click the appropriate below:|
|AK, AZ, CA, DC, HI, ID, IL, IA, KY, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NM, NC, OH, OK, OR, TN, TX, UT, VA, WA, WV, WI, and all Canadian Provinces,||Alexandra Leff||9:00am to 3:30pm EST||(212) 463-7042, ext 112||Email Ms. Leff|
|AL, AR, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, IN, KS, LA, ME, MD, MS, NH, NJ, NY, ND, PA, PR, RI, SC, SD, VT, WY, US Outlying Territories, and members of the Armed Forces||Kate Danho||9:00am to 3:30pm EST||(212) 463-7042, ext 113||Email Ms. Danho|
One favor we ask: please do NOT call your Client Advocacy Specialist simply to check the status of your application. This information is already reported to you on your Modest Needs Personal Page and in the daily status email that we send to you every day that your application is active with Modest Needs.
Calling your Client Advocacy Specialist simply to ask questions already answered on your Personal Page slows the application review process for everyone.
If you're not receiving a daily status update from Modest Needs, then our letters to you are probably being blocked by your SPAM filter.
Please check your bulk/SPAM/junk folders to determine whether or not this is the problem. To fix this problem, simply add the domain 'modestneeds.org' to your safe-senders list.
If you're not sure how to add a domain to your safe-senders list, please contact your email provider for instructions on how to do so.
Pending applications (applications for which we have requested but not received supporting documentation) remain active for 21 days from the date that they are updated to 'pending' status.
If, after 21 days, you have not provided us with the documentation that we've requested in support of your application, that application will be closed due to insufficient documentation, but you will be able to resubmit your application for assistance right away.
Generally, pre-qualified applications for assistance remain in donor review at Modest Needs for 45 days.
If, after 45 days, your application has not received all of the points that it needs from our donors in order for us to approve your grant request, your application expires and becomes 'unfunded.' At that point, if you're still in need, you're welcome to resubmit your application with updated documentation for further consideration from our donors.
While you're welcome to submit an application for help as many times as you like, if the same application goes unfunded twice at Modest Needs, we wouldn't recommend that you submit it a third time, as this generally indicates that, for reasons beyond our control, our donors are unable to make the investment necessary to fully fund that particular request.
The point value of an application (the number of points an application needs to be funded by Modest Needs) is equal to the actual amount of assistance requested by the applicant, plus the costs we incur to perform due diligence on the application on behalf of our donors.
The additional amount that we include in the point value of each application makes it possible for Modest Needs to cover the costs that we incur in performing appropriate due diligence on the applications for assistance that we receive to ensure that the persons our donors help legitimately need our assistance.
By helping us to cover these costs each time our donors fund an application, they help Modest Needs to make the most of their charitable dollars by giving us the resources necessary to ensure that their contributions are allocated to persons genuinely in need of their assistance.
Unfortunately not. The reason for this is simple: Modest Needs' donors do not give (and in fact, are not permitted by law to give) to any single, specific individual at Modest Needs, or via any other organization. When our donors make a contribution, they are contributing to Modest Needs, the charitable entity, and not to the individuals who have applied for assistance from Modest Needs.
At Modest Needs, pending certain restrictions, management of Modest Needs approves funding for an application only after our donors have indicated via their votes that they would like to see an application funded by giving an application all of the points, or 'votes,' that it needs in order to receive funding. If an application does not receive this number of points, it is marked 'unfunded' and the votes returned to donors so that they can vote for other applications.
So, in short, when our donors 'vote' to fund your application at Modest Needs, they are not giving money to you. They are voting that we fund your application. In other words, even if your application closes having gotten some - but not all - of the votes that it needs in order to be funded, there is no actual money attached to your application until our donors vote to fund an application in full, and management of Modest Needs Foundation approves the grant. For this reason, there is really no such thing as an application being 'partially funded' by Modest Needs.
No. Once we've set the cost of your application according to the documentation you've provided for us, that information cannot be changed.
If you really want to change the cost of your application, you can do so, but you'll have to cancel your current application and start the application process over again. If you do this, any points donors have contributed to your application will be returned to those donors, and there's no guarantee that they will give these points to you a second time.
If you really would like to cancel your currently certified application and start over, please contact your Client Advocacy Specialist.
You received what is called a 'bad referral' from the agency that sent you to Modest Needs in the first place.
Individuals are often referred to Modest Needs by agencies that hope that we'll be able to provide the needed assistance. However, without knowing the specifics of your unique situation and the details of our guidelines, no agency or individual can give you the guarantee that your household will qualify for a Modest Needs' grant. To that end, because we do not guarantee funding, nobody can provide you with absolute assurance that you will be able to receive a grant from Modest Needs.
Sadly, some larger agencies refer clients to Modest Needs even when they already know - for a fact - that the client they are referring to us will probably NOT qualify for our assistance.
This is - again, sadly - common practice in the non-profit world and is how some larger agencies 'pass the buck.' When a larger organization refers someone to us for a type of assistance that they know we can't provide, that org generally gets to 'count' that referral as one more client served, and Modest Needs gets to look like the bad guy for having to say 'no' to a grant application that, in all likelihood, this organization knows that we should not ever have received.
When you're in crisis, you don't have time to waste with bad referrals, and all of us at Modest Needs understand your frustration. If you receive a 'bad referral' from one of the organizations listed above or another agency not listed, you should call that agency back and ask for a more productive referral. You should also - very vocally - voice your displeasure at this agency's having given you an improper referral in the first place.
Yes. If you believe that your application was not correctly processed, you may contact Mr. Forrest Mason, Lead Client Advocacy Specialist. Mr. Mason's email address is forrest.masonmodestneeds.org, and his telephone number is (212) 463-7042 x13.
While we understand that you may be frustrated if you believe your application has been improperly processed, please do your best to be courteous in your correspondence concerning this issue. We're here to help you, but we absolutely do not have time for or tolerate inappropriate behavior on the part of our applicants.
There are many ways to help spread the word about Modest Needs:
Certainly. All of Modest Needs' contact information, including our telephone number and physical address, can be found on the Modest Needs Contact page.
Let us hear from you with your question, and we'll do our best to answer it as quickly as possible.
Please note that due to the volume of correspondence that we receive at Modest Needs, we cannot return calls or respond to email messages that ask questions answered on this FAQ or elsewhere on the Modest Needs website.