Area charities and nonprofits are especially ready this year for today, a global day of generosity called Giving Tuesday, when they hope to make a dent in financial losses resulting from the cancellation of fundraising events due to COVID-19.
Every year on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, people in nearly 60 countries give back to their communities, and support for the international fundraiser continues to grow: Giving Tuesday yielded $511 million in nonprofit donations in the U.S. in 2019 compared with about $400 million in 2018.
“When Giving Tuesday launched in the U.S. in 2012, we believed that technology and social media could be used to make generosity go viral,” said Asha Curran, Giving Tuesday’s CEO and co-founder, in a statement. “We believed in the idea that people fundamentally want to give and to talk about giving; and that the social sector had the capacity to show more innovative leadership, creativity and collaboration.”
The Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri in Joplin relies on the day of giving as its biggest fundraiser of the year. The clinic located at 701 S. Joplin Ave. offers medical and dental services to those without insurance.
Executive Director Stephanie Brady said with the pandemic, the clinic is seeing a significant increase in patients but fewer donations. The goal is to raise $60,000 to continue to provide an array of needed services for the community. This will be the clinic’s third year to participate in Giving Tuesday, which has helped it raise over $100,000.
“This money will be for our women’s health screenings, which is our cervical and breast cancer screenings, our counseling services, our prescription assistance services and some of our other COVID-19 response services,” Brady said. “This year, some of our funders, whether they’re local partners or larger foundations, have reduced their funding. We’ve actually had a pretty significant reduction in funding of about $45,000 to $50,000. With that, we’ve also had an increase in requests for services because we have a lot more people out of work.”
Crowder College Foundation is participating in Giving Tuesday for the first time this year, aiming to collect funds for students in crisis. The charitable giving arm of the college will use the money for food, gas and other emergency situations to help students, said Jim Cullumber, director of institutional advancement at Crowder College who oversees the Crowder College Foundation.
“The area that we’re targeting for this year’s Giving Tuesday are those students who have a specific need because of a crisis situation,” Cullumber said. “We also have kids who have to decide whether they’re going to maintain their cars and go to class. The opportunity will be there to help with funds for gas cards for emergency situations.”
A donor has also pledged a dollar-for-dollar match for the first $1,000 raised. Cullumber said $1,000 can go a long way where the foundation can provide emergency scholarships and help restock the food pantry.
“At Crowder, we’re very fortunate that we have a way of making a few dollars go a long way, but if we can raise $5,000, it will make a tremendous difference in quite a few students’ lives,” Cullumber said.
The Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri is launching its Giving Tuesday fundraiser through its Facebook page where donors can give to four areas: club programs, sponsorship of a child, a capital campaign contribution and Fund a Future.
Regina Hammons, events and marketing coordinator for the club, said donations will help fund club memberships, food costs, building projects, as well as a variety of programs. The goal is to raise $10,000.
“If you sponsor a kid on Giving Tuesday, it will be used for the Holiday Heroes program that will last through Dec. 16,” she said. “We give Christmas gifts to select families in need, and we try to get most kids sponsored at some level. I feel like all areas are in need right now because of the lack of fundraising we were able to do due to COVID-19.”
‘Any amount is going to help’
Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States is also participating in Giving Tuesday. Donations will benefit its Gift of Love, Gift of Light campaign, and the Power of 10, a new initiative to help families.
Annette Thurston, executive director, said it recently developed the Power of 10, which asks for gifts of $10, after having to change the way it serves families this year.
“Ten dollars can help with lodging costs, a gas card for families, meals and comfort bags that are provided to families during this time of the year,” Thurston said. “Both of those campaigns are on our website. Gift of Love, Gift of Light is our largest fundraiser. and any amount is going to help us.”
A new report from Classy, a creator of online fundraising software for nonprofits, shows a favorable outlook for Giving Tuesday participants this year. Nearly a quarter of respondents to Classy’s September 2020 survey said the pandemic has caused them to give more this year in comparison with last year. According to the survey, 2 in 5 Americans say that they definitely or probably will give more to nonprofits in 2020 than they did in 2019.
Ways to donate
Here are ways to donate to some Giving Tuesday nonprofits in the community:
• Community Clinic of Southwest Missouri in Joplin: Visit joplinclinic.org, go to its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/joplincommunityclinic, mail a check to 701 S. Joplin Ave., Joplin, MO 64801, or donate over the phone at 417-624-5500. Nonmonetary donations such as office supplies, gift certificates and fruit are also accepted.
• Crowder College Foundation: Go to https://www.crowder.edu/foundation/ways-to-give or mail checks to Crowder College Foundation Inc., 601 Laclede, Neosho, MO 64850.
• Boys & Girls Club of Southwest Missouri: Visit https://bgcswmo.org/get-involved/donate or https://www.facebook.com/bgcswmo to donate online.
• Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Four States: Visit https://rmhjoplin.org to donate via PayPal or credit card; send checks to P.O. Box 2688, Joplin, MO 64803.