NJ nonprofits need donations as they fight to survive amid COVID
In economic crises, nonprofit organizations seem to get hit the hardest and are among the last to rebound as people's wallets lighten and donations become scarce.
All the more reason, said Center for Non-Profits President and CEO Linda Czipo, for you to communicate with the groups you care about right now, offering them money if you have it, or time to volunteer, even if virtually.
The donations are critically needed, according to Czipo, but she added that nonprofits are finding creative ways to prop each other up during this time.
The Center for Non-Profits is New Jersey's only umbrella organization for these groups, and Czipo said her staff has been providing lots of information, trying to connect organizations to funding opportunities and government relief programs.
Coordinating such an effort can be tough, since every nonprofit's goals are different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to helping them out.
"Organization missions are so diverse, but the beauty is that organizations have a lot in common in that they are trying to make communities better, to provide services and programs that people need," Czipo said.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been "absolutely staggering" for nonprofits, in Czipo's words, and even those that have not had the chance to remain fully functional continue to see their expenses mount.
"There's so many different organizations that have been affected in different ways, whether it's having had to cancel events and programs or, for organizations on the front line, having so many more people coming to their doorstep," Czipo said.
And of course, there is the grim reality that some nonprofits just may never recover. Performing arts venues, Czipo said, are especially in danger, and even larger associations like the YMCA are finding it impossible to offer their full slate of services and programming.
"Some are looking at merging with other organizations, some are going to find that they're going to have to shut their doors, and our communities are going to be all the worse off if that happens," she said. "Some organizations went into this without any reserves and were just kind of living month to month, and others have had reserves but now have tapped them out."
One positive Czipo highlighted is the delayed, but necessary step taken by some organizations to finally and fully embrace the digital age. Although there is "Zoom fatigue" following five months of virtual gatherings, she is thankful such platforms exist, as they represent new ways to reach a targeted audience.
For more on what the Center for Non-Profits is doing while the pandemic lingers, visit njnonprofits.org.
Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email email@example.com.