Like much of society, the charitable sector is facing unprecedented stress and uncertainty, including:
- Closing of operations, and staff furloughs
- Increasing need among program beneficiaries, with radically reduced options for delivering services to those beneficiaries
- Disrupted income sources from cancelled conferences, fundraisers, and events
The primary need, of course, is more funding. Corporate donors are increasing the number and size of their grants, eliminating restrictions on existing funding, and relaxing administrative requirements. But what else can you do?
Companies have vast human and operational resources, which can be leveraged -- in creative ways -- to provide substantial additional support to charitable causes:
1. Virtual volunteering. With most organizations now operating remotely, there are perhaps more opportunities than ever before to provide remote assistance (including high-value skills-based assistance). For example:
- Raising volunteer turnout as an online voting captain
- Mentoring children online
- Moderating phone conversations with older adults
- Translating documents on the rights of women and newborns into Arabic
- Developing explainer videos for social media marketing
2. Safe, in-person volunteering. Many basic-needs providers continue to offer in-person volunteer opportunities, modified to incorporate social-distancing measures and other adjustments to help ensure participant safety.
3. In-kind goods or services. Donations of a company’s commercial products or services -- or leveraging their infrastructure -- can substantially reduce the operating costs or increase the capacity of nonprofit programs.
- In Alabama, Toyota fabricated and donated 6,000 face shields
- In Western Michigan, local dentists’ donated 17,000 face masks, 180,000 gloves and 90 N95 respirator masks to Spectrum Health
- Scholastic is providing a free free Learn at Home learning platform for parents and caregivers
- Garnier is pivoting operations at their New Jersey facility to manufacture and donate 2 million units of hand sanitizer for frontline retail employees.
Organizations such as Points of Light, VolunteerMatch, Taproot Foundation, Common Impact, and BoardSource are valuable conduits to nonprofits in need, and providing in-kind support. Good360 distributes requested product donations through nonprofit partners, Cradles to Crayons specializes in distribution of in-kind goods for children, and Dress for Success supports women’s economic empowerment through professional clothing donations.
But don’t forget to connect with your partners directly, to understand their individual needs. Either pick up the phone, or to get input en masse, try a short survey. Below is our simple, 10 question needs assessment tool, designed to help you and your nonprofit partners identify opportunities to collaborate in these trying times.
Nonprofit Needs Assessment Survey
To receive a copy of the survey, please click here.