When we began to hear the news of a coronavirus in early 2020, most of us never imagined we would still be dealing with a worldwide pandemic nearly eight months later.
But here we are: enormous parts of the economy still shuttered, millions experiencing unemployment, and a big “question mark” looming in the days ahead.
Despite our challenges – and arguably because of those challenges – America needs committed nonprofits more than ever.
If the nonprofit which provides food stops offering meals, who will feed our hungry neighbors? If the charity which offers services to the homeless scales back its programs, who will offer those living on the streets a hand up? If the after-school program shutters its doors, who will care for the children who depend on it?
We know serving others right now in the nonprofit word is scary.
Since the late 1970s, America has been through five economic downturns; in each of those downturns, the pain felt by Americans was harsh. But America’s spirit of philanthropy never wavered.
- Over the past fifty years, total giving in the United States increased every year (through several crises) except in 1987 when overall giving dropped just one percent.
- After the 1987 financial crash, philanthropic giving declined only 1.30% that year; 365 days later, total giving was up 7.10%.
- During the 2002 decline in the stock market (when the Dow Jones Average decreased 17% and the S&P 500 Index dropped 23%), philanthropy increased by 1%.
So here’s some encouragement for all of us involved in helping our neighbors and making our communities better: Crushing economies don’t crush philanthropy.
Generous people don’t stop being generous because of a crisis. Generous people continue to give - because they are generous and have an innate desire to make the world a better place.
Focus on Mission. Engage Your Donors. Move Forward Boldly.