By Daniel B. Kaplan, Ph.D., Director of Adelphi University’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership
Coronavirus rates are low and our worst fears about the Delta variant have been held at bay. Government assistance has funded measures to prevent the collapse of essential sectors of our economy. Many families continue to grieve while others acknowledge the good fortune of their health. The work done by our healthcare heroes, community advocates, policymakers, school administrators, and vaccine scientists should be celebrated.
Yet while people rebuild the damaged parts of their lives, the difficult work being done in our communities falls, in large part, to nonprofit organizations. And it is now time to turn more attention to supporting their vital efforts.
I have regular contact with leaders of nonprofits who have addressed health, housing, eldercare, social services, education, employment, social justice, and other instrumental areas of community wellness. These organizations faced the daunting task of fulfilling their missions throughout the pandemic, confronting the hardships that have defined the past 18 months for us all.
Unfortunately, with new challenges that may not be easily overcome, I fear that many charitable organizations will not survive. The organizations report that this is a time of both unprecedented demand for the services of nonprofits and fewer resources available to support that work. Sparse gifts are being made by donors. Philanthropic foundations are justifiably investing most or all of their funding in immediate relief for those hardest hit by the pandemic. In-person fundraising galas and other events are still not always safe to host. Employees are seeking less intense work schedules and fewer responsibilities in order to manage new complexities of life at home, while resources are lacking for new hires. Fiscal reserves are seriously depleted and operating budgets are emaciated.
Consumerism made it possible for many to feel comfortable and reassured during a time of collective trauma. Now is the time to feel good about helping your neighbors and the people in your community who are suffering and struggling in the spaces you cannot see.
If you can give any amount, there are people in your town who really need help. The nonprofit sector will convert your dollars into life-saving and sustaining services. This is one of those moments for acts of heroism, to figure out how much you can give right now or on a monthly basis, and which charities you wish to support. Help to hold us steady so that we can be the safety net for those in greatest need and put an end to this crisis.