Eight years ago, the United Nations Foundation and New York City’s 92nd Street YMCA (92Y) teamed up to encourage holiday shoppers to think beyond the usual seasonal spending. The objective: to create a day, now known as GivingTuesday, to focus on doing good for others. And while it started in Manhattan, it has become a global movement to foster generosity and giving to nonprofits and others in need. This year, GivingTuesday is an opportunity to help mitigate the far-reaching impacts of COVID-19: strained medical systems, rampant unemployment, hunger, depression, and stress.
Mission-driven organizations fill an important gap between the private and public sectors. They reach vulnerable communities and causes, helping individuals gain access to medical care, housing, education, and life’s most basic necessities. To do this, they must rely on complex funding and service models. Donations are an important component.
Nonprofits are currently faced with doing more with less and are at risk for survival. Several findings underscore the need and the urgency surrounding this year’s GivingTuesday:
- A Columbia University study found that 8 million more people in the US alone are living in poverty this year.
- NFF reports that 75% of nonprofits’ revenues are down while demand for their services is increasing, volunteers are limited. This can force organizations to furlough workers, close locations, and end life-saving programs.
- Research group Candid concluded from an analysis of tax filings that tens of thousands of US nonprofits are likely to close without some kind of rescue package or assistance.
- According to Classy's 2020 State of Modern Philanthropy report, nonprofits can secure 4-6X as many donors on GivingTuesday than any other day. Such donations help nonprofits fund programs, buy goods, pay staff and rent, and more.
Many Ways to Give
Giving can go beyond dollars and take the form of services, goods, and time. Flexport.org, for instance, supports organizations with an often overlooked need: transportation. Even if nonprofits can access large-scale product donations, they don’t always have the funding or infrastructure to move those goods from point A to point B. But by forming good partnerships, urgently needed goods can reach communities in critical need. Below are some of the organizations Flexport works with.
- Project C.U.R.E. has donated medical equipment and supplies to clinics and hospitals around the world for 33 years. To date, they have shipped thousands of ocean containers filled with medical equipment and supplies to more than 130 countries.
- This year, Project C.U.R.E. shifted its focus to domestic relief and provided thousands of boxes of PPE including masks, N95, gloves, gowns, ICU beds, and ventilators to frontline healthcare workers. With COVID cases continually rising around the world, they need help to equip medical centers and help communities recover.
- To participate, consider giving supplies, volunteering, or donating to Project C.U.R.E.
- Catholic Charities, one of the largest nonprofits in the US, provides services for diverse, low-income communities across the country—regardless of their religious affiliation. And, more people than ever are turning to its agencies and food pantries for support.
- The number of people seeking assistance with food has increased more than 40%, and millions are turning to Catholic Charities’ 775 food pantries. At the same time, its agencies face shortages of food and volunteers and social distancing restrictions require new ways of distributing food. In addition to food and water access, Catholic Charities also provides emergency housing, basic necessities, and comprehensive services to help escape poverty.
- To participate, consider donating to Catholic Charities.
- Distribute Aid reaches an at-risk community that is sometimes unseen: people living in refugee camps. Its work supports over 100,000 asylum seekers, through every point in the supply chain: from assessing needs to gathering supplies to coordinating deliveries.
- On a regular basis, it ships tents, dry foods, and clothing to camps in Calais, France and throughout Greece. During COVID-19, the organization began sending hygiene and PPE shipments to protect those living in crowded camps. With Flexport’s help, Distribute Aid coordinates pickups from smaller grassroots organizations and consolidates them into shipments that fit each refugee camp's current needs.
- To participate, consider giving to Distribute Aid to help grassroots recovery.
Flexport urges anyone and everyone to help give back this year to keep social services and safety nets alive. Individuals can join the #GivingTuesday movement, volunteer in person or from home, or give directly to nonprofits. Companies can donate products and services, match employee donations, promote volunteer time off, and help spread awareness.
To help fund critical transportation movements for nonprofits and mission-driven organizations, please give to the Flexport.org Fund.