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Other’s opinion: Don’t wait to support nonprofits this year

The Free Press (Mankato)

Typically many people make the bulk of their charitable donations toward the end of a year, with donors often motivated by tax deductions or prompted by stepped-up fundraising campaigns.

That behavior needs to change in 2021 to help provide much-needed extra support sooner. Strained by the COVID-19 pandemic and its far-reaching effects, nonprofits will need help from the get-go as the year gets under way.

Nonprofits have been slammed by COVID-19. Some already have closed their doors or significantly reduced staff and limited operations. Others are adapting the best way they can, finding new ways to fundraise and connect with supporters. The Greater Mankato United Way, an umbrella organization that supports 56 partner programs, is urging donors to take advantage of a $35,000 anonymous donor’s matching offer that will be used when new donors give or current donors increase their contributions through Jan. 15.

If you have noted the good work of a local nonprofit, don’t wait to get that monetary donation to it this year. When government stimulus payments arrive, consider using some of that money to help out someone who needs it more.

By the end of September about 40 percent of nonprofits’ employees in the state filed for unemployment, according to a report by the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits. By the end of the second quarter of 2020, the overall nonprofit workforce saw a 10 percent reduction from the first quarter. The nonprofit sector makes up about 14 percent of the state’s workforce.

Those numbers are significant because they reflect the overall unemployment picture of the nonprofit sector and people’s livelihoods, but they tell more than that. With fewer staff members and volunteers at those organizations, fewer people are served, whether it be through an after-school arts program, a food shelf, a recreation program for people with special needs — the list is long and deep.

If you’re able to give more in 2021, do so and know you are helping strengthen your community for the many challenges that lie ahead.