Commentary: Why give on Giving Tuesday?

By Sheila Bravo

Giving Tuesday is the nonprofit sector’s answer to Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and even Cyber Monday. Nonprofits vie for any dollars left in people’s proverbial wallets after all the holiday shopping is done. Last is not the best position to be in, but it’s better than not being in the game.

Sheila Bravo

This year, with our world already turned upside down, we have a chance to reconsider Giving Tuesday and its real intention: supporting nonprofits, which support healthy and thriving communities.

We know that nonprofits directly contribute to the success of our local communities. Even if you didn’t know this, it became apparent this year when nonprofits stepped up in the wake of COVID-19 to fill the gaps that businesses and government couldn’t. They fed the hungry, assisted with providing nonurgent health care needs, kept arts and learning programs going when schools could not and found creative ways to keep seniors and other at-risk people engaged throughout the pandemic. And they did all this without being asked and often not being paid to do so. They did it because it was right, and it was what Delawareans needed.

In good times, nonprofits form the backbone of a community. They help communities thrive by addressing the emerging needs and filling gaps where for-profits and government agencies cannot or will not. Frequently though, nonprofits do not get credit for this work because much of it is unseen by the community at large. With the pandemic this year, many of those unseen needs were exposed, as tens of thousands of Delawareans lost their jobs, the hungry and homeless multiplied at levels no one could have prepared for and families had to suddenly care for sick, elderly and school-age children simultaneously, just to name a few.

I’ve often heard it said, “This year, Christmas is going to look a little different.” Yes, it will. For all of us. And, while it looks different, my hope is that it will be different — that it will be the most generous Giving Tuesday ever. So when you consider shopping locally or grabbing holiday deals online, please consider first setting aside some of your budget to support your local nonprofits. When you do, you invest in the health and success of your local community, which is a reward that can last a lifetime.

Sheila Bravo is the president and CEO of DANA, the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement. DANA’s mission is to strengthen, enhance and advance nonprofits and the sector in Delaware through advocacy, training, capacity building and research.