Giving Back: It’s Time to Help the Helpers

Jun 24, 2020

By: Carol Wick
Page 96
May-June 2020
We have weathered unimaginable storms before in Central Florida. Hurricanes that wiped out entire communities. Terrorist acts that we thought would never reach our neighborhoods. A common denominator through each of these events has been the ability of nonprofit organizations to endure and even emerge stronger than before, as they help serve and heal our communities.


They help ensure that no child gets left behind, no senior is alone and hungry, no animal is left abandoned and abused. They bring joy and fill our senses with love, compassion, art, music and laughter. For the past month, we have been dealing with a new enemy. Many nonprofits have been working around the clock to fight different aspects of the COVID-19 crisis. Just through speaking to my nonprofit clients alone, I have heard from:

• Courageous social workers, who have gone to check on homeless men and women to ensure they get the healthcare they need.
• Senior centers ensuring their residents receive a hot meal and regular check-ins.
• Blood donation centers successfully pushing the FDA to change its rules so centers can make up for the dramatic reduction in donations, and actively collecting plasma from people recovered from COVID-19 in hopes of aiding others.

While we may not yet know the full extent of the repercussions of this pandemic on the economy, what’s clear is that we need our nonprofits more than ever to rebuild America’s safety net. The sad reality, however, is that without enough funds many nonprofits will be forced to close their doors when they are needed the most. Many nonprofits are struggling to retain staff, and pay rent, as they drained what little they had in reserves to make up for the cancellation of in-person events and spring galas, which they rely on for a significant portion of their annual revenue. Unfortunately, once nonprofits permanently shut down, they cannot easily be replaced or restarted and works that have been going on for decades or longer
may vanish.

Fortunately, there is still time left for you to help out those organizations that are so vital to our community — and you can do so in a variety of ways.

Consider giving to your favorite nonprofits the amount that you would have spent on that gala ticket or silent auction item. Many nonprofits are posting items that they need online in order to do their job. Keep in mind that nonprofits that normally would not have needed masks and hand sanitizers are now asking for those items. If you are going to donate items, I suggest you call or email first to see what they most urgently need at this time, as it might be very different from what they usually ask for.

Our community and our state face enormous confusion, stress and anxiety at every turn. As unemployment continues to skyrocket, nonprofits are suddenly being asked to do dramatically more with less. It’s time to think outside the box and lean on each other for ideas and resources that might be available.

No One is Immune to a Pandemic
These are historically trying times. Everyone’s lives have forever changed as a result of this pandemic. From the heroic doctors and nurses on the frontlines to those infected with COVID-19 or lost loved ones, to the hundreds of thousands that have found themselves unemployed.

The ripple effect of this pandemic has created an emergency, unlike anything I’ve ever seen in 30 years of working for nonprofits. As businesses continue to close, more families are coping with financial hardship. Less income means less individual donations and fewer volunteers. Unless our nonprofits receive immediate funding, the consequences to those they serve — the developmentally disabled, the elderly, the homeless, foster children — could be catastrophic.

But if there’s any silver lining, COVID19 has reminded us that we are all in this together and that we literally depend on each other for a healthy community. Everyone’s fate is connected.

If we are to bounce back and thrive as a region and state, we need to support our nonprofits that specialize in caring for the health and well-being of everyone in our community. Let’s show how we care for our own and let’s invest in our own future!

Carol Wick, president, and CEO of Sharity, which was founded with the goal to empower nonprofits to take control of their future and their fundraising, has worked in the nonprofit field her entire career.

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