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Nonprofits prepare for generosity push on #GivingTuesday

Nonprofits nationwide and in Nevada are calling on supporters to be charitable with their time, goods and funds for Giving Tuesday next week.

Now in its 10th year, the “global generosity movement” on Tuesday calls on people to donate in some way to to communities and causes. Nonprofits use the day to drive support campaigns in the important last quarter of the year.

In 2020, at least $2.47 billion was donated in 24 hours in the U.S., according to GivingTuesday, the initiative that tracks the movement of the same name. Jenna Mulhall-Brereton, philanthropic services officer at the National Philanthropic Trust, said having the campaign push generosity on a single day helps people feel more pride in their gift.

“It’s one day, there’s an opportunity to galvanize people, to remind people,” Mulhall-Brereton said. “Nonprofits often use that as an opportunity to reach out and say, Hey, we have a Giving Tuesday campaign. Could you please remember to give to us on Giving Tuesday? And I think people feel like they’re part of something bigger.”

It’s particularly important for nonprofits’ recovery from pandemic disruptions, James Rensvold, director of private banking for the Nevada State Bank, said. The bank’s annual “High Net Worth” report described the philanthropic landscape to clients and showed how support tied to need in 2020 and 2021.

“A lot of our charitable organizations in Nevada this is kind of their Super Bowl quarter where a lot of their financial commitments are made,” he said.

Charitable giving went up in 2020 nationally, largely through an increase in individual giving as corporate giving declined when companies tightened budgets. Nevada households that made charitable donations gave 15.4 percent more in 2020 compared with 2019, according to a consumer expenditure survey.

Still, recovery is not even and big campaigns such as Giving Tuesday are meant to fill the gaps. Carol Chapman said this year’s Giving Tuesday and the following holiday season is particularly important because her nonprofit, the Foundation Assisting Seniors, is still trying to catch up on lost revenue from 2020. The foundation — which relies on public support for about 90 percent of its operations, according to its tax records — couldn’t host fundraising galas and golf tournaments.

“Those are usually very large money makers for us,” Chapman said. “All of the sudden, it wasn’t happening and we saw a downslide on contributions.”

For Giving Tuesday, the foundation will send mailers to the areas it services, comprised of about 14,000 homes, she said. Chapman declined to specify how much she hopes to raise Tuesday, but instead wants to reach people who wouldn’t normally give.

“I think Giving Tuesday, we’re reaching for your heart, not your pocketbook,” she said.

Beyond the holiday season

It’s estimated that a third of all giving occurs in December, both because of the cultural significance of giving and because of the tax year’s end, Mulhall-Brereton said. She recommends people consider the day as a reminder to consider giving throughout the year.

“If (nonprofits) start to see more reliable funding coming in at other times of the year, then that’s really helpful for their budget planning to know that they have reliable funding coming in besides just that last month of the year,” Mulhall-Brereton said.

Other ways to encourage giving could be by asking gift-givers to match a donation and creating annual aspirational budgets of giving — in time, volunteerism and financial support — that split giving into causes important to you, to your loved ones and to unexpected needs.

She also recommends donors amplify their gift on social media with a personal message so people can learn more about the charity.

“To be able to tell a story about it to make sure people know why it matters to you, I think that goes a long way,” Mulhall-Brereton said.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

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