Vanlandingham: Nonprofits need hand in post-COVID-19 recovery

The worst pandemic in a century has left plenty of mayhem to untangle before life can get back to normal. Small businesses are regaining footing amid a worker shortage, prices are rising and supplies of everything from new cars to washing machines are tight.

While those are among issues capturing headlines, there are other wounds in our community that need attention.

Imagine what it must have been like to operate a nonprofit last year. Many saw demand for services spike while income from contributions dropped and volunteer enthusiasm waned.

Like small businesses, nonprofits this year are struggling to get back, and they are competing for volunteers in one of the worst worker shortages in memory.

So, as we move into the second half of 2021, remember the role nonprofits play in strengthening communities. Nonprofits are on the front lines, feeding the hungry, providing supplies to new mothers in need, offering health care and rescuing abandoned animals. They support the arts, promote literacy, provide social services, and more.

Financial contributions and volunteer time go hand in hand, and both are necessary for an organization’s success.

Donations help organizations pay rent, utilities and administrative costs. All nonprofits depend on support from contributors, foundations, and grants, but sometimes, the most important gift is time.

Volunteers are an essential resource. They help with day-to-day operations, serve as board members, and provide professional services such as accounting, marketing, legal assistance and fundraising.

Donating time and being involved strengthens ties to the community because volunteers see a side of life they might not see otherwise. And volunteerism is not just for adults. Children can learn the importance of giving, and their experiences can show how much they have been blessed in their lives.

There are many ways to donate. There are conventional ways through credit cards, checks and cash, but there are methods that offer greater tax benefits. A Donor-Advised Fund functions a little like a foundation. The owner can make deposits into the fund, where it can grow through investments. At any time, money from the fund can be donated to a nonprofit organization. The benefit is that tax laws allow an immediate tax deduction when money is deposited.

Whether providing support through time or money, it is important to find the right fit. There are many organizations that serve a variety of causes, so volunteers and donors should follow their passions as they search for organizations to help.

The Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits is a first step in locating nonprofits that share similar interests. Follow the link to the center’s member directory to find organizations according to location, population served, and mission focus: Oklahoma Center For Nonprofits (okcnp.org).