Local nonprofits lean on generosity for Giving Tuesday during pandemic

Coronavirus

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Black Friday, check. Cyber Monday, check. Americans are shopping with their hard-earned money to buy gifts for others and themselves this holiday season.

However, one fundraiser is hoping you’ll take an extra day to use your extra cash and give back, spending it on your community instead.

(Courtesy: I Live Here I Give Here)

This Tuesday, Dec. 1 is Giving Tuesday — a global day of giving which happens the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving every year.

“A time to really re-center our focus on generosity,” Stacey Kaleh said.

Kaleh is the spokesperson for the local nonprofit I Live Here I Give Here.

The nonprofit joined the Giving Tuesday global movement in 2017 as the Central Texas community leader. Since then, the area has made millions of “actions” combined — dollars given, volunteer hours donated/pledged, social media posts shared.

“Over the past three years we’ve seen 15 million actions for good reported in our community, with eight million last year alone,” Kaleh said. “We’d love to beat that record this year and see even more actions for good.”

2020 has made things harder though, and nonprofits are facing difficulties.

“Our nonprofits are facing unprecedented need due to COVID-19. We’re seeing increased need but more limited resources, so it’s a really important time to stand together as a community and support our local nonprofits so that they can continue to serve us and make Austin the place we love to live, long beyond the pandemic,” Kaleh said.

Pandemic Impact

United Ways of Texas and OneStar Foundation reported the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on nonprofits in August 2020.

In the organizations’ findings, 70% of survey respondents said their budgets had been impacted or will likely be impacted by COVID-19’s strain on the economy. In addition, 82% of nonprofits have canceled or plan to cancel revenue-generating programs or events, which will affect their financial prospects.

A message about giving back on the Paramount marquee (Courtesy: I Live Here I Give Here)

“We’ve seen people lose their in-person events, places start to shut down, and they’re losing different revenue streams and unrestricted donations and recurring gifts that you can set up,” Kaleh said.

The survey also concluded that the pandemic is crippling the sector’s ability to sustain an important workforce and provide critical services that all Texans depend on. More than 24% of respondents reduced employee hours or instituted furloughs or lay-offs, and 19% instituted a hiring freeze.

The organizations highlighted that the resulting financial strain impacts the Texas nonprofit sector’s ability to serve communities on a day-to-day basis. Nearly 69% have experienced a disruption of services to clients and 62% have experienced an increase in demand for services from clients and communities.

You can view more of the survey’s results on OneStar’s web page.

Ways to give

“We think generosity is what fuels our community, and our nonprofits need support from the community more than ever,” Kaleh said. “…even the smallest gift that you can promise every month, to a nonprofit, that they can really count on, is so important right now.”

If you’re interested in giving back, you can donate, advocate, volunteer and more:

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