As a fundraiser, the worst three words right now are "with this economy." We're hearing it from all sides, "With this economy, I'm scaling back my charitable contributions." "With this economy, we aren't supporting X or Y causes." "With this economy..."well, you get the point.
Here's the problem--With this economy, charities are facing a double edged sword. Contributions will go down while need for the services provided will go up. Especially for organizations provided immediate needs of services such as food pantries, addressing homelessness, and fighting poverty. More clients will be coming to the doors of charities seeking help. They are going to struggle to meet the rising demand of needs from clients. Many of people coming to organizations for help may not have needed help in years past. However, "with this economy" they are now finding themselves struggling and turning for help.
If you're a frequent visitor to this blog, you know this is a topic I feel strongly about.
People are being laid off. People are losing bonuses or raises. Many are just thankful they have a job at all. It's scary times, I know. Today, I sat with my monthly leader's circle of Executive Director's at various nonprofits discussing what we're seeing. It's happening all over. I'm thankful to be in Dallas where the situation isn't quite as dire. I'm thankful that Heroes for Children is doing well comparably and able to provide for families with children with cancer. This post isn't about how HFC is doing or a plea for donations. This is about the national situation for nonprofit organizations.
What scares me is people cutting out charitable contributions all together. Sure, I cut my housekeeper for the time being and we cut our lawn services. We're not shopping for ourselves and spending frivolously anymore. One thing we're not cutting back? Our charitable contributions. We're thoughtful of where and how we give. We have our set charities (HFC, Princess Alexa Foundation, and LLS) that we will be supporting this year. Our selection is personal to us. We found the ones whose mission best fits our family. We won't be huge contributors this year, but we're not stopping either.
As you think about your upcoming year, I hope you will consider the same. Charities need you now more than ever. Read my post from December (linked above) for ideas of how you can make a difference without breaking your bank account.
My question, dear readers, is how are things in your area? What are you seeing? Are you able to contribute to nonprofits right now? Please leave your thoughts and comments here.