We are all familiar with the slogan “Shop Local.” Our community does a great job of promoting and supporting small, locally-owned businesses. We appreciate the special value they bring to our economic picture as well as our culture by offering product and service diversity.
A less often heard phrase is Give Local, which I’d argue is equally important for a vital community. Give Local refers to directing your charitable dollars to nonprofit organizations and charities that serve those in our community, especially those whose staff live here.
Nonprofits are businesses just like traditional for-profit companies. The primary difference is that nonprofits have no shareholders so their revenue is reinvested back in the community by fulfilling their charitable mission.
All businesses are facing unique challenges this year due to the pandemic and the resultant recession. But nonprofits, and especially those members of our community who are served by those organizations, are experiencing an even greater adverse impact.
The revenue stream for a nonprofit agency is largely, if not entirely, driven by donations from generous community members. Many depend heavily on fundraising events, such as galas, concerts, walks, or athletic activities. During the pandemic, nearly all of these events have been cancelled, postponed, or moved to a virtual platform, resulting in the loss of 50% or more of revenue.
Compounding this problem is that currently at least 40 million Americans are unemployed and others have uncertain job futures. The outcome will be that non-event charitable giving will also drop precipitously this year, as it did during the last major recession.
This situation is creating a two-fold negative impact on our local nonprofits, and those who depend on these agencies for essential services. Perhaps the worst effects of the pandemic will be felt by those who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus. People who are immune compromised, or living with chronic or debilitating diseases including ALS, Cystic Fibrosis or diabetes have among the worst COVID-19 mortality rates. These patients depend heavily on the services they receive from nonprofits for their daily
Today, more than ever, it’s important to support our local nonprofits by giving generously at home. If you have not been heavily impacted by the pandemic, consider celebrating your good fortune by making an extra gift to your favorite local charity this year. Give Local – your community will thank you!
By Stuart Obermann, Nonprofit & Community Leader
A resident of South Huntsville for 36 years, Stuart is a serial entrepreneur and small business owner. He serves his community as the Vice President of Field Operations for the ALS Association National Office.