UPDATE: What if your Charity Disappeared Tonight?

May 15, 2020

In light of this pandemic we are experiencing, perhaps I need to rethink my article on “What if our Charity Disappeared Tonight?”

There actually will be charities that disappear — some will realize that they don’t have the proper resources to continue. Some may merge with other like-minded charities. Others lack the professionals to execute the plan (which must be reworked anyway). A few may not have a plan at all. Some will be regionalized. I contend that this ‘culling’ is not necessarily a bad thing — it will separate the chaff from the wheat and potentially create more stable non-profits in the long run as opposed to having numerous charities struggling to survive.

A New Winner?

The Social Services group of charities has the potential to come out much stronger after this pandemic is over as opposed to their state of affairs prior to the pandemic. People’s priorities have shifted. As a society, it is incumbent upon all of us to help our most vulnerable populations. At its core, fundraising is about urgency.

This pandemic has shown just how fragile our social safety nets are. It has also shown just how easily one can slip through the cracks. I personally believe that the government will have to completely overhaul the social safety nets that are currently in place, but that is a separate topic.

I find it interesting that the world’s leaders have invested billions of dollars in supporting their country’s populations during the pandemic. This is as unemployment is at a rate we have not seen in almost one hundred years. While I find it heartwarming to see the country coming together, I must ask myself what if the same attention was put toward fixing one of society’s issues?

Dare to dream

Just imagine, for a second, that billions of dollars were invested into permanent residences for the lower-income populations. There is obviously a need for more affordable housing throughout the country. When politicians see the need as an emergency, they react swiftly and decisively. This would be a true emergency, not one that is done as a PR stunt.

To re-examine my earlier article about charities disappearing, perhaps this is the time to work collaboratively with other charities for the greater good.

I have often said that if a loved one passes away from cancer and you wish to donate to a charity in their memory, there are dozens (if not hundreds) of charities that you can donate to that have similar mandates — does this not get confusing for donors?

Are you unique?

I think that examining your unique value proposition is probably a very worthwhile exercise to undertake now. I’m not saying that your organization has little value (or, on the flip side, is invaluable). What I am suggesting, however, is that a frank analysis needs to take place. But the first step needs to be checking your ego at the front door. You may very well conclude that your organization is not the best poised to take on the future. And that’s okay. What you need to do now is decide what the next steps should be.

In a worldwide economy where geographic location is playing less importance on people’s philanthropic decisions, what would happen if your charity disappeared tonight?

Until next week.