The past year of events have taken a toll on people all over the world. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected individuals, families, and businesses in heartbreaking ways. One positive that has emerged, however, is the kindness that has been shown during this chaotic time. Areas require donations or aid and there are many nonprofits and charitable organizations that work endlessly to provide aid to those who need it. Their work takes some of the burden off of those that are struggling during these unprecedented times. Philanthropy is a powerful way to aid the work that so many are already doing. Those that are eager to dedicate themselves to the cause and respond to coronavirus can do so in a number of ways.
The first step to take is to determine the organization or charity that you are looking to contribute to. These organizations could be ones that you regularly work with/ donate to or it could be ones that are close to your heart in other ways. These organizations could be working with certain populations like those living in urban areas or organizations with specific goals of helping remedy housing or food insecurity.
One way to directly help those in need is by giving money. The pandemic has brought about financial pressures for everyone, especially nonprofits working to meet the needs of the community. Financial donors can make a big difference during this time by providing the means for organizations to buy medical equipment, supply food, etc. Just a few of the nonprofit organizations working on the frontlines include:
Those looking for general COVID-19 funds to donate to can look into GlobalGiving, GoFundMe’s COVID-19 Relief Fund, and The New York Times’ Neediest Cases Fund.
Where To Start
Not sure where to start? There are even organizations that help research charities and nonprofits. While it’s important for you to vet potential organizations yourself, these entities help with the legwork and provide you with a base level of knowledge. Explore websites like GuideStar, Charity Navigator, GiveWell, and CharityWatch for more insight. These organizations have rating systems, gold standards, and grading scales in place to help people be informed donors.
Outside of online research, look into charities and nonprofit organizations that those around you care about, for example, the places your alma mater, your pastor, or your employers have donated to. Finding connections within your own circle usually leads to helpful ideas since your personal values will usually align more closely with those that you surround yourself with.
Volunteering time is just as valuable as contributing money or supplies. Companies that have employee volunteer programs can look into organizations where more volunteer labor is needed. Many organizations are short handed due to health and safety considerations. A few volunteer opportunities to look into are:
Socially Distanced Volunteer Work
Nonprofits are also working to ensure that volunteers are safe, for example, activities like meal delivery can be done in a contactless environment. Many activities like making care packages, preparing food, and working in pantries have been modified so volunteers are protected. Many projects have coordinated delivery routes or even worked out a drive-through system to limit the amount of contact people have with each other.
In addition, those that are still wanting to donate time without having to be at risk of any exposure in a volunteer setting can look to online opportunities. Those with language experience can spend time getting involved with Translators Without Borders, a nonprofit organization working to make information accessible to diverse populations. It is even easy to volunteer using a smartphone. Organizations like Amnesty International’s Decoders Initiative requests help with flagging human rights violations on the internet. This involves dedicating time to sifting through digital content, documents, satellite data, etc. to help identify acts of injustice. Technology these days makes it simple for anyone with an internet connection to help out a cause and join global networks of other volunteers. The work that you and others do could help fill an important gap.