This has been a most unusual year, but its challenges have not diminished our desire to give generously at the holidays.
Usually, donors have a list of familiar organizations they like to support each holiday season. This year we are receiving calls from fundholders and community members asking where the greatest needs are in this time of COVID. Donors realize that the unmet basic needs of people in the community have risen dramatically and that many charities and businesses are challenged and stretched to the brink of survival.
Bank of America noted in a presentation that the 2020 charity funding priorities are radically different from their needs in a typical year. Here are some of the ways COVID is affecting charitable sectors.
For educational entities, lower student enrollments, reduced state funding, and increased need for student financial support and scholarships have resulted in severely detrimental effects.
On top of these challenges, educational entities face a decrease in student enrollment and reduction or elimination of sports programs and other extracurricular activities and school-supported clubs. The effects ripple out to the foodservice providers and vendors servicing campus infrastructure and student needs. To make a difference where it is needed most, I suggest that donors interested in supporting education speak with the schools or educational programs and ask them about their new funding priorities.
Healthcare charities are facing declining reimbursement rates and low to negative operating margins.
They have considerable increases in sanitizing and cleaning costs and new expenses for communication and remote workers’ technology needs. Healthcare providers and services are serving on the front lines, while their businesses have been severely disrupted and much of their business operation has been suspended.
Similarly, human and social service charities are more challenged than ever. Fundraisers and donor activities have been canceled, and in many cases, office closures have made providing services difficult.
Organizations that provide local support to families and children are working harder as needs have been exacerbated due to school closures. If you support nonprofits that help families, please consider calling your favorite organizations to learn where you can make the most impact.
Arts and culture, humanities, and natural resource conservation nonprofits have faced their most challenging year as donors naturally turn in a crisis to charities providing direct services to those most in need.
Giving to nonprofits that form the cultural backbone of our community is critical to ensure they survive. Our quality of life is directly tied to these organizations. They bring us our most cherished resources and events and make life in northern Nevada sparkle. If you are a lover of the arts, humanities, and other public enhancement groups and facilities, please check in with them to see how they are doing.
We are not living through a normal year. If some or all of your charitable contributions have been redirected this year due to extreme needs stemming from COVID, I urge you to call the organizations you regularly support. Let them know that you love them and will continue to support them when you can. If you can increase your giving this year, I urge you to give big. I promise you it will pay off in a faster, better, and more complete recovery for our community. We are Nevada strong and Nevada proud. It is time to do a bit more. It is time to dig deep for our community. Call me if I can help you set up a giving plan through the Community Foundation.
Chris Askin, President/CEO
Connecting people who care with causes that matter.