It’s no surprise, or secret, that charities are being adversely affected by the current economic recession. In fact, the Association of Fundraising Professionals reports that “52 percent [of non profit organizations are] already experiencing cuts in funding. Of those receiving less funding, 49 percent reported a 10 percent to 20 percent decrease in funding, while 25 percent of these nonprofits revealed that funding had been cut by 21 percent or more.”
A reduction in revenue is even more harmful to a nonprofit than a for-profit if you think about it. For-profit organizations can cut “luxury” spending on things like glitzy conferences, pet project R&D, and so forth. Nonprofits usually operate pretty conservatively, so there is less “fat” to cut.
When belts are tightened, charitable donations are often viewed as a discretionary expense which can be immediately eliminated. In some cases, that is a matter of survival, which is understandable. In other cases, it is a matter of selfishness, which is sad.
I have come across many articles – such as this one in the March 19, 2009 edition of Time – that have said that despite decreased donations, charitable volunteering is up. This makes some sense, given that there are so many unemployed people with relatively few job opportunities. They have the time to spend.
But it bothers me that I know many successful people who are giving both less money and less time to charity. I even recently tried to organize a charity event where 10 individuals could “win” up to $2,500 for their favorite charities with a modest investment of their time. Plus, the event would give them targeted recognition for their philanthropy (thus building their personal brand) and the time would be spent in an intelluctually stimulating way.
Despite these benefits, I didn’t get enough “takers,” so I am forced to cancel the event. We’ll use the funds to support the charities of our choice, but am disappointed in some of the excuses I’ve heard. Sure, the idea wasn’t perfect, but I didn’t exactly get any suggestions for how to make it work, either. Now, most of the invitees were gainfully employed and some may be affected by President Obama’s threatened tax hike on those earning above a certain threshold. But, hey, good causes are hurting. I just wish that those who are able to support charity would do so out of choice, rather than having the government do it for them via taxes. That applies to successful folks in general, not necessarily just those I invited for the charity event, some of whom I know to be generally charitable people.
So, for those of you who aren’t in a desperate financial situation, I’d like to urge you to consider giving a little more support to your favorite charities. The increase in volunteerism will subside as the recession lightens and people get back to work. The 20%+ drop in donations will take longer to correct itself without people like you.
I won’t endorse any particular charity here but, rather, encourage you to identify one that is close to heart of the issues that you feel strongly about. They probably need your support now more than ever.
Don’t be selfish. I won’t.
To Your Career,
Charles Dominick, SPSM
President & Chief Procurement Officer
Next Level Purchasing, Inc.
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