1. Donate to nonprofits helping to respond to COVID-19—and your other favorite causes as well.
The problem: COVID-19 is creating new needs, while putting enormous financial pressure on all nonprofits. From medical and public health needs related to the response to economic uncertainty impacting vulnerable populations, the COVID-19 pandemic is creating unmet needs above and beyond the usual. The nonprofits working to meet those needs require more resources to do so. At the same time—all nonprofits are feeling the pressure, even if they aren’t directly responding to the crisis. The economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic may cause many donors to dial back. Many nonprofits are also having to cancel many of their usual programs and fundraising events out of concern for public safety. Most nonprofits have limited financial reserves to carry them through lean times ahead, putting them in a difficult spot.
What you can do: If you are in a financial position to do so, you should consider making a donation. All nonprofits you care about will need your financial support in this time; sustaining your support at your usual levels or increasing it will help these organizations get through the crisis and continue their important work. Additionally, donors can support a variety of organizations that exist to serve the nonprofit community with resources, such as providing marketing or fundraising support, leadership training and more. Nonprofits need their committed supporters in these times.
2. Volunteer for organizations that are providing critical services in your community.
The problem: Due to health and safety considerations, many regular volunteers, particularly those who are at higher risk due to age or medical conditions, will need to restrict their usual commitments in the coming weeks and months. This will leave nonprofits who depend on these volunteer resources shorthanded in delivering critical services. At the same time, needs will continue to rise as COVID-19 spreads—for example, demand will likely increase for food pantries and other services, also increasing the need for volunteer time to deliver. Nonprofits may have to pay for services that were previously donated
What you can do: Reach out to local charities and ask how you can best support them, keeping safety in mind. You can also search online for volunteer opportunities in your area. Helpful things that you can do safely from home in support of a nonprofit’s mission could include everything from assisting with grant writing or doing a supply drive.
3. Your voice is powerful—use it to advocate for the individuals and organizations that need our help.
The problem: People are worried, but not sure what they can do as individuals to help. Additionally, the problems created by COVID-19 are too big for any one individual or group to tackle, and needs will vary widely by community.
What you can do: Share information about your favorite organizations on social media. Liking and sharing go a long way to help your charity reach a larger audience of potential supports - and costs you nothing! Remind people to keep supporting the charities they care about. Share local volunteer opportunities and guidance about where people can give to help those impacted. Seeing your example will help those in your network to realize that they can take action too. Even during a crisis that requires us to keep our distance from others in our community, we can support each other throughout. Speaking up for the needs that exist and sharing how you are helping can inspire others to action as well.
Adapted from Martyn, Elaine. “Three Ways You Can Help During the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Fidelity Charitable, Fidelity Investments Charitable Gift Fund, 2020, www.fidelitycharitable.org/articles/three-ways-you-can-help-during-the-c...