Dig deep: Giving Tuesday offers needed boost to Delaware nonprofits

By Mike Finney
Posted 11/30/21

DOVER — Nonprofit organizations throughout Delaware have been hit hard by rising prices on their necessary items, such as gas for Meals on Wheels’ vehicles or Habitat for Humanity’s construction materials.

That’s why Sheila Bravo, the president and chief executive officer of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, said that the 10th annual Giving Tuesday is so important.

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Dig deep: Giving Tuesday offers needed boost to Delaware nonprofits

Posted

DOVER — Nonprofit organizations throughout Delaware have been hit hard by rising prices on their necessary items, such as gas for Meals on Wheels’ vehicles or Habitat for Humanity’s construction materials.

That’s why Sheila Bravo, the president and chief executive officer of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, said that the 10th annual Giving Tuesday is so important.

“We would love every Tuesday to be Giving Tuesday,” Ms. Bravo said. “I’d say, for this year in particular with rising costs, we hear about it in the news that costs are increasing for many nonprofits that are going through the same thing.

“For those that deliver food like Meals on Wheels, for example, their mileage costs have gone up. We’ve got nonprofits that are working in the housing space that are seeing cost increases. Certainly, arts and cultural organizations are also seeing cost increases.”

She added that it’s a good time of year to consider “unrestricted gifts.”

“Many foundation grants, when it comes to the end of the year, … they’re done. So the way that nonprofits can help offset these costs is by getting unrestricted gifts, and Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to do that.”

Giving Tuesday has become a global celebration of generosity. It provides an opportunity for people everywhere to come together through acts of kindness and reminds everyone that every act of giving counts.

Last year, there were 240 Giving Tuesday community movements in the United States — with 33.1 million participants — that raised a total of $2.47 billion in donations over the span of 24 hours.

Those kinds of numbers are huge for the survival of nonprofits, especially in the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s a big day, I believe, for every nonprofit because it’s a day that is focused on so many different missions and helps people remember that there are a lot of different charities that are there for people to donate to,” said Cathy Kanefsky, the president and CEO of the Food Bank of Delaware. “It’s pretty big for us, too.

“Boy, since the beginning of the pandemic, we have just ramped up our (food-distribution) efforts incredibly, and after, I would say, the height of the winter last year and the spring and into the summer, it kind of started to slow down, but we’ve picked right back up again. People need us.”

Since March 2020, surveys of the Delaware nonprofit sector have been conducted as part of the COVID-19 Response Initiative, a collaboration among DANA, the Delaware Community Foundation, Philanthropy Delaware and the United Way of Delaware.

July’s survey of nonprofits revealed that revenue deficits in 2020 were not as dire as originally projected. Though most nonprofits lost revenue compared to 2019, fewer experienced it at the level they estimated.

However, many organizations, particularly in the arts, did see marked earned-revenue decreases in 2020.

There are also many organizations (39%) that are operating with less than 10 weeks of cash on hand, including 43% of health and human service organizations. Nearly half of small nonprofits — and also some of the largest — are also in this tenuous position.

Those wishing to give back can find a list of the 1,000 Delaware charities participating in Giving Tuesday here. To see how a charity is rated, visit here.

The organizations seeking financial assistance offer a wide array of services, such as supporting Special Olympics programs, battling domestic violence, aging with dignity, local journalism and more.

Jon Buzby, the director of unified champion schools for Special Olympics Delaware, said Giving Tuesday provides yet another chance to help keep his group’s programs rolling.

“Giving Tuesday is a wonderful opportunity for the community to directly support the more than 4,200 Special Olympics Delaware athletes who inspire us every day,” Mr. Buzby said. “Their resiliency shined bright during the pandemic, as they eagerly looked for ways to stay involved, both virtually and in person, under very stringent safety guidelines.

“And now, more than ever, they are back involved with a renewed appreciation of how much Special Olympics impacts their lives and those of their family members. We were told often by parents and caregivers during the pandemic that they never realized just how important it is to have sports as an outlet and that they appreciate what Special Olympics offers their children, regardless of age.”

Lefty’s shares in recent success

Lefty’s Alley & Eats, at 36450 Plaza Boulevard in Lewes, enjoyed a comeback in 2021, a year that started with owner D.J. Hill wondering if his bowling establishment would be able to survive.

Instead, it thrived.

Mr. Hill decided to share his good fortune by hosting a “Funds to Spare” Giving Tuesday event for 10 local nonprofit organizations. He will be presenting $500 donations to each from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday at Lefty’s.

“Up until the beginning of this year, we were just trying to decide if we were going to survive as a business,” Mr. Hill said. “We’ve had an incredible year, and all of the numbers are actually above 2019 for us, so we feel like we’re finally at a place where things are back to normal as far as the nonprofit giving that we do.

“What sparked the idea (of Funds to Spare) was that we’re finally at a place financially as a small business that we are starting to collaborate again with a lot of nonprofits. We wanted to kind of signal the fact that we were back by doing a bigger event for Giving Tuesday this year — normally, we just partner with one nonprofit.”

Tuesday, participants from the Children’s Beach House, Delaware Parkinson’s, the Developing Artist Collaboration, the Friends of Cape Henlopen State Park, the Sussex Family YMCA, the Georgetown Fire Co., the Community Resource Center, H.O. Brittingham Elementary School, the Cancer Support Community Delaware and the Georgetown Boys & Girls Club will be feted by Lefty’s.

“This was just a way for us to kind of announce the fact that we’re finally in a position that we feel comfortable that we’re back to the same level with our giving mission that we were two years ago,” said Mr. Hill.

“We’re inviting 10 nonprofit organizations to come in. Each one of them can bring 10 people, and we supply lunch and, of course, all of the entertainment that goes along with Lefty’s, like ax-throwing and bowling, the arcade and laser tag. It lasts for four hours, and then, each organization will get a $500 check.”

Another way to give back

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many families and individuals hard in the pocketbook over the past year-and-a-half, making it difficult for them to give back.

However, there is another way to give, according to officials with Volunteer Delaware: Volunteer some time to help out a nonprofit service organization.

After all, Volunteer Delaware recently estimated that one volunteer hour is valued at $28.54.

According to the organization’s website, volunteers contribute $11 billion in economic value to the state every year. To find out more about donating your time, go here.

No matter how a person decides to give back, Ms. Bravo said charitable organizations are appreciative of anything they are offered on Giving Tuesday.

“Whether you do it online, whether you mail a check — any way to give a gift to a nonprofit that has a mission that you believe in — is definitely appreciated and valued,” she said.

“Let’s hope it’s the biggest one ever. We hear about how it’s the biggest Black Friday and biggest Cyber Monday. … We’d like this to be the biggest Giving Tuesday.”