Special gratitude for donors who give to local nonprofits

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In less than two weeks, the seventh annual #GivingTuesday launches the unofficial beginning of the “giving season,” following the commercial days of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. We’re hoping for another record-breaking day of generosity, benefitting the missions of many of you reading this newsletter.

Thanks to the folks at the Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y who founded this special day, more donors are learning about and helping advance the missions of nonprofits that may be streets, miles, time zones, or even oceans away. Online platforms, such as GlobalGiving, are removing borders and barriers to make giving farther away easier than ever before.

Yet, as the world continues to shrink, we express special gratitude to donors who give local.

One of most common questions we are asked is: “How do I decide what nonprofit to donate to?” And the first answer we give is to get to know a nonprofit and see its work in action. Seeing a nonprofit’s impact first-hand is the best way to know if that organization is doing good work – far more effective than that misleading old myth about overhead ratios. You can even make a double contribution: as a donor and as a volunteer!

Giving local is going to be especially important this year. First, more than half of nonprofits responding to a national survey reported that they can’t meet existing demand for services – and that demands continue to increase. Second, experts project that, as a result of the new federal tax law, about 21 million fewer taxpayers will claim charitable and other deductions. Who is most at risk as a result of the tax law changes? The people who rely on their local small to mid-sized community-based nonprofits, such as the local food bank and rural healthcare clinic. Unless donors make an extra effort this year to give to nonprofits in their local community, those nonprofits will be further constrained in meeting their missions, meaning that the biggest losers will be the people in need who are served by local nonprofits. That’s why we salute the actions of donors who intentionally give local.

Local donors also help improve their local economy. Those donated dollars don’t just help the beneficiaries of the nonprofit’s services; they also help provide jobs for that nonprofit’s employees and spur additional economic activity in the local area as the nonprofit purchases supplies, pays for rent, utilities, and more, and the nonprofit’s employees spend their salaries locally. Indeed, when you see the upcoming ads about Small Business Saturday, encouraging people to “buy local,” think about how those same messages apply to nonprofits in your community: Give Local.

Wherever you decide to donate this holiday season and throughout the year, THANK YOU!

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