By: Scott Pansky
As many respond to the national pandemic by helping food banks, donating PPE supplies, or making financial donations to international and national relief charities, we can’t forget those who make a difference locally.
For the past eight weeks, Allison+Partners has donated services to numerous local nonprofits, including providing senior counsel, helping compose board and donor communications, developing online fundraising strategies, and responding to crisis situations. It’s important to us to offer our expertise and experience.
But we must remember smaller and local nonprofit organizations suffer too. Many have had to furlough staff, cancel events or learn how to change formats. Many do not have funds in the bank to survive the remainder of the year.
Now is the time for us to roll up our sleeves and see what else we can do. For example, I sit on the board of a local YMCA. When Los Angeles closed gyms and fitness centers, the Y had to close its doors to the public. They had been servicing families and seniors, many who were at risk. As a board, we began developing strategies to respond. All of us committed to making additional financial donations; all reached out to a minimum of five contacts to ask for support.
Yet, we still had to furlough much of the staff. The executive director, one of the most creative men I know, said we could do more. He wanted to be more of first responder. He hosted food drives, blood drives and emergency childcare programs at hospitals for care-giver responders.
The Y has an unused facility. He outreached to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office and volunteered to let the city use it. It is now a facility for regional homeless to shower and have a place to relax. This brought new funds to the Y and allowed us to bring back several team members.
We also discovered those using the showers would put back on their old dirty clothes afterward. To make their experience more valuable, the YMCA hosted a clothing drive in which our donors and volunteers could make a positive difference too. I am so proud to be a part of this local nonprofit.
Here are ways you can help local nonprofit organizations:
- Offer your skills and services
- Make in-kind donations of supplies and products
- Donate cash or gift cards
- Volunteer from a safe space
- Call or email friends and family
- Use social media to post blogs, calls to actions. You have followers, let them know what you care about and what they can do to help
If you’re a nonprofit in need of advice, get in touch at email@example.com or sign up for our weekly COVID-19 updates.
Scott Pansky is a co-founder of the agency and leads Allison+Partners’ Social Impact group. Scott has extensive experience providing communications and crisis counsel to nonprofit organizations and developing board + ambassador training programs.