Local Nonprofit Organizations Facing Unprecedented Challenges

Innovia Foundation outlines five ways you can support the organizations that serve our community

“Emotionally exhausting”, “Overwhelming”, “Overload on our system”, “Real risk that COVID will be the final straw” – these were some of the reactions from Spokane-area nonprofit leaders responding to a foundation survey about the impacts of COVID-19 in this region. As the Director of Research at Innovia Foundation, I work to ensure that we use actionable data and reliable information in our grantmaking. But the impact of this unprecedented pandemic lies in the stories behind the numbers. The frustration, uncertainty and anxiety we collectively face is difficult to quantify but easy to feel in the strain placed on our community.

In times of prosperity and times of difficulty, nonprofit organizations in this area work hard strengthen the community fabric and meet the needs of the most vulnerable. From feeding the hungry, supporting youth development, advocating for racial justice and equity, providing access to affordable housing and more, nonprofit organizations right here demonstrate an ongoing commitment to improving the lives of people in this area.

Nonprofits rely on earned revenue, government grants and contracts, foundation support and contributions from generous community members like you to continue their work. And, as one survey respondent noted, “we need your help more now than ever before”. As a result of public health restrictions, three-quarters of nonprofits have cancelled a planned fundraiser and 64% reported having to cut back on programs at the same time demand for services have been increasing (source).

Over 350 registered nonprofits are active in Spokane County. Many of these organizations are accustomed to adversity – over 200 nonprofits have operated in this region for 20 years or longer. However, the depth and duration or this crisis remains unclear, and according to a nationwide study, seven percent of nonprofits are at risk of closing due to COVID-19 (source).

If you have not provided a tax-deductible gift to a non-profit in the past, or want to renew your giving, please consider supporting a nonprofit organization today. To determine where your support can make the greatest impact, you can take the following next steps:

  1. Download annual report from nonprofit’s website to learn about the nonprofits mission and message
  2. View the public profile of nonprofit on www.guidestar.org to review the financial strength and results achieved by the organization
  3. Ask questions – whether in person, or virtual, a shared conversation can highlight the unique value and approach of the nonprofit in this community
  4. Get involved – Volunteering is a great way to understand the work and grow your support
  5. Give – for the 2020 tax year, you can deduct up to $300 of cash donations without having to itemize.

In a rapidly changing world where social distance has become the norm, it is uplifting to hear about dedicated nonprofit groups bringing community members together to solve problems. At Innovia Foundation, we hear stories of resilience and innovation as nonprofits form new partnerships and find new ways to serve clients. We hope you take the Give Guide Initiative as an invitation to join alongside these problem-solvers to strengthen our community and build a better post-pandemic future.

Mason Burley is the Director of Research and Community Impact at Innovia Foundation.

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