Giving Tuesday is an annual international movement that encourages support for community-based organizations and charitable causes. Since its founding in 1992, Priority Marketing has donated pro bono and discounted professional services to more than 200 charitable organizations. The total value of those services is estimated at more than $2.6 million. Additionally, individual team members have donated their time, talents and resources to countless nonprofits.
This year, Giving Tuesday will be held Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Across the world, nonprofit organizations will be sharing their mission and telling stories of success, triumph and impact. These organizations need our help.
Florida alone has 100,845 registered nonprofits, according to GuideStar. So how can you decide which nonprofits to support? Priority Marketing’s team of philanthropic-minded professionals has put together this handy “How to Help” guide to assist Southwest Florida residents.
Choose a Cause
Pick an issue, cause or movement that is near and dear to your heart. Options include hunger, poverty, education, health care, the environment, animal welfare, human services, children, seniors, veterans, culture, arts and many more.
Think about how you’ve been impacted over the course of your lifetime. Did a hospital help you or a family member overcome a serious illness? Did a foundation provide a college scholarship that opened up new career opportunities and professional connections? Did an organization fight against development that would have impacted your quality of life?
Having a personal connection to a cause means you’re vested in the organization and its outcomes. Consider partnerships as long-term investments.
Find a Local Nonprofit
After identifying a cause, it’s time to choose a local organization that is addressing the issue. You also could identify a national organization with a chapter in the region. Pay special attention to the organization’s mission statement to make sure it aligns with your values and personal connection.
For example, if a niece or nephew has cancer, a good cause might be Barbara’s Friends, the pediatric cancer fund at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. To honor a family member with breast cancer, the Sharon MacDonald Breast Health Fund would be a great fit.
Not all nonprofit organizations are built equal. Some have histories dating back decades, while others are startups. Some have seven-figure fundraising goals, while others maintain bare-bones budgets. Regardless, you want to support an organization that does what it says it’s going to do. Ask to see an organization’s Annual Impact Report, which outlines programs and services while demonstrating its accomplishments and needs.
Charity Navigator is a reputable online source that evaluates and rates thousands of nonprofits based on financial strength, accountability and transparency. This helps potential donors gain confidence that their contributions will be spent responsibly.
Decide how to help
Monetary donations are immensely important for nonprofits to carry out their missions. Cash helps pay for staff, equipment, facilities, utilities and supplies. These administrative costs must be paid before funding programs and services. Beyond immediate financial needs, donors also can consider planned giving options like creating an endowment or trust.
In addition to monetary gifts, organizations also appreciate in-kind donations. This can include “hard” items like office supplies, furniture and equipment, as well as professional services offered by an individual or company. Many nonprofits operate resale shops that accept donations of clothing, furniture and household items.
Another way to help is by volunteering. Nonprofits always need manpower. That can include distributing food and supplies, mentoring children, building structures, organizing inventory and cleaning natural habitats. Many nonprofits rely on volunteers to serve on their board of directors or advisory councils. Volunteers also can be vocal advocates championing a cause within the community.
Make that first telephone call. Send that first email. Show up at that first event.
The mission of every nonprofit is to help others, but those organizations need our help, too. They need individuals willing to give their time, talent and voice. In fact, those supporters are just as valuable, and appreciated, as individuals who offer monetary donations.
Priority Marketing counts dozens of charitable and community-based organizations among its partners. When considering a nonprofit to support on Giving Tuesday, and beyond, consider these exceptional organizations:
- Avow Hospice
- Better Together
- Charity for Change
- Child Care of Southwest Florida
- Community Cooperative
- Conservancy of Southwest Florida
- Dress for Success of SW Florida
- Greater Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce Foundation
- Growing Climate Solutions
- Guadalupe Center
- Guadalupe Resale Shop
- Guardian ad Litem Foundation
- Habitat for Humanity of Lee and Hendry Counties
- Healthcare Network
- Hope Healthcare Services
- Kids’ Minds Matter
- Lee BIA Builders Care
- Lee Health Foundation
- National Alliance on Mental Illness-Collier
- Pace Center for Girls, Lee County
- ReStores of Lee and Hendry Counties
- SWFL Children’s Charities, Inc.