How We Can Support Each Other and Our Communities During the Coronavirus

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Now - more than ever - we, as a society, must come together to do the best we can for one another.

With the unprecedented shutdowns and cancellations happening all over the country to slow the spread of coronavirus, charitable nonprofits are stepping in to provide shelter, food, child and elder care, education, cultural and spiritual fulfillment, and peace of mind. 

Hospitals and healthcare centers -- the majority of which are nonprofits -- are literally the first line of defense to care for the sick and prevent further exposure.

While politicians and world leaders look to help for-profit businesses, we need to ensure they don’t ignore those serving the most burdened and hurt by the public health and economic crises.

The nationwide network of the National Council of Nonprofits is educating lawmakers about how nonprofits are on the front lines responding to the dire straits their communities are facing. 

Hospitals, community health centers, and senior living communities are being hit hard by the coronavirus.

And it doesn’t stop there.

Nonprofit shelters, food banks, domestic violence services, early childhood care and education centers, after-school facilities, and houses of worship are being called to feed, house, and care for the people whose lives have been disrupted by illness, job loss, and closures. 

Adding to the pressure is that many nonprofits have canceled their fundraising events and conferences, which threatens an essential source of revenue that funds many nonprofit missions. Nonprofit venues are calling off concerts and shows and other events, and that causes them to lose revenue and hurting their ability to pay event workers. 

Churches are closing and stopping services, which places many in disarray and removes them from their normal communal, spiritual comforts, especially in times where everyone needs just a little bit more love and a little bit more understanding.

As nonprofit leaders and staff, we’ve all been immersed in learning, brainstorming, and implementing how we can respond to the crisis within our own organizations and within the networks so that the people we serve are being taken care of. We’ve posted steps nonprofits can take on our own website. We’re continually updating it, so look at that.

But there is more to be done and more that we, as individuals, can do. We must increase our support for local charitable nonprofits – and encourage our friends and families to do so. 

Here are a few ideas of how you can help that you might not have thought of so far:

  1. If something you signed up for is cancelled -- like flight or hotel reservation, concert, or sporting event  -- consider donating it to a nonprofit on the frontlines of the crisis. It’s a simple act that makes a big difference financially for organizations who may be shut down or being forced to reduce services. 
  2. If you’re registered to attend a nonprofit conference or fundraising event and it cancels, donate your registration fee back to the organization. They’re losing money already spent on hosting the event and the fundraising that they are expecting from the event.
  3. Call your member of Congress, Senator, state and local officials, Governor, and all of these public officials who are making these decisions, and ask them to provide funding for nonprofits -- not just to for-profit businesses. They need to hear from you and what is happening at home. 
  4. And here’s one that may not seem related, but very is directly in line with the work of nonprofits. Fill out your census forms. Do it online or by phone or ask for a written questionnaire. This will reduce burdens on Census workers and on nonprofit staff and volunteers who are committed to getting out the count. Invitations went out last week and you can go to www.my2020census.gov. 

Nonprofits are mission-based organizations serving their communities. Today -- and every day -- our mission is to come together as a society and help each other. Do one small thing today to achieve that goal and we’ll get through this. Together.

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