The holidays are a time when many of us give back — whether we’re volunteering at a food pantry or donating to a cause we believe in — and this year, our donations could be more important than ever. Nearly 5 million fewer people gave to charity in 2022 than in 2019, according to Charities Aid Foundation, and from 2021 to 2022, charitable giving dropped by 3.4% overall, according to The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Further complicating the picture is that today, there are more than 1.5 million nonprofits in the U.S. alone, so deciding where your donations will make the most impact can be a challenge.
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Soraya Alexander, Chief Operating Officer at GoFundMe and president of Classy says the reason for the decline in giving is that people by and large feel powerless to make change. “They feel anguish for these communities, they feel heartbroken for what these individuals are losing and they want to show up and help. But they’re saying, ‘I don’t see myself in these huge, scaled, non-profit response efforts, and so I just may as well not give,’” she says.
So how can online giving platforms build connections to show the importance individual donations have? “When you look at GoFundMe, you know that your $100 will have an impact on someone’s ability to buy textbooks, to pay for your cancer treatment, to pay rent. They’re very, human-scale problems and so then your impact is very tangible and real,” Alexander says. “And what we’re trying to do is show how these stories of solidarity actually do translate and play a role in curing cancer at large, trying to address homelessness in massive metropolitan areas — things like this that need big dollars.”
Her advice for younger donors (or anyone who feels like they are on a tighter budget than usual this season) is to figure out how you want to show up and represent the things you care about in the world. She also says that before people give, they should take the time to engage with a cause — whether that’s via volunteering or doing research online — and then decide where your dollars or time will have the most impact.
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MORE ON HERMONEY:
- What You Get When You Give (To Charity)
- How To Find A Place To Volunteer When You Have Nothing To Give
- How Women Can Combat Holiday Spending Stress
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