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#GivingTuesdayNow is an emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. It’s an opportunity to give back to communities in safe ways that allow for social connection; to support the critical work of the nonprofit sector; and perhaps more importantly, to redefine the role of business.
From New Delhi to New York, from Oakland to Auckland, the
COVID-19 crisis has
devastated the lives and livelihoods of communities across the globe — exposing
how utterly vulnerable society is when deep-rooted systematic issues such as
inequalities in race, gender, health, education and income are addressed with
That’s why, particularly in times of crisis, the world needs nonprofits.
Nonprofits are social-centric by design — with the networks, procedures and
solutions in place to ensure people’s needs are constantly met and social issues
are consistently addressed. They act as a critical lifeline for women and girls,
veterans, individuals with disabilities, LGBTQQIA+, and other groups that are
all too often overlooked and underserved.
Today, these organizations are on the frontline of the global crisis — ensuring
that children from low-income families can learn remotely, vulnerable seniors
have access to food, and healthcare workers are equipped with medical supplies
and protective gear.
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Yet the very nonprofits that society relies on are approaching an impending
funding crisis, at a time when a majority of the issues they’re solving are
being exacerbated by crises such as COVID-19. Our imminent challenges — climate
change, social inequality and world hunger to name a few — disproportionately
hurt low-income communities, but their effects ultimately hurt us all. While the
through the crisis, the nonprofits that are critical to the health and survival
of people across the country are at risk of closing their doors permanently.
In recent weeks, companies big and small have risen to the
donating millions of dollars and proucts to support COVID-19 relief efforts —
but, given the magnitude of the crisis, financial relief by the public sector
alone cannot solve the vast challenges we currently face. Yet the model for
corporate philanthropy as it stands runs the risk of depletion. The very
companies that society is turning to for funding are also threatened by the
We saw this during the last major crisis. During the Great Recession, corporate
giving in the US fell by 4.5
— an indicator of what could come over the coming year. This is because the
standard model for corporate charity is limited by financial constraints: A
company determines its donation based on what’s left over after it’s conducted
its key business operations. Unfortunately, this results in woefully inadequate
contributions to support critical social causes, revealing just how fragile our
charitable infrastructure is.
What we need now is a new paradigm, one that delivers growth for business while
at the same time creating a robust and sustainable funding stream to address the
fallout from COVID-19 — and, going forward, future crises and systemic issues
such as climate change, educational inequality, homelessness and the gaps in the
delivery of healthcare, the seriousness of which have been highlighted by the
Today, we celebrate #GivingTuesdayNow as an
emergency response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. It’s an
opportunity to give back to communities in safe ways that allow for social
connection and kindness even while practicing physical distancing, and celebrate
and support the critical work of the nonprofit sector.
But perhaps more importantly, it’s an opportunity for us to redefine the role of
business. The birth of Giving Tuesday Now serves as an inflection point in the
role companies play to address societal challenges. It’s time to ask ourselves:
How can we redesign business models and rewire operations so that people in need
are at the center of business — not just now, but every day?
My company, Givewith, is taking steps to help
corporations reimagine the way they give, because social challenges are
proliferating — and the funding required to tackle them is, too. Now more than
ever, we need to tap into new revenue streams to expand the total funding
earmarked for nonprofits and their social impact initiatives.
We have great faith in the ingenuity of the business community to problem-solve.
Now, it’s time to ignite our innovative spirit to address social-centric
challenges. It’s short-sighted to outline a path back to “business-as-usual.”
Instead, we need a new business model that ensures that the pursuit of profit
simultaneously advances the good of
What we need are business models that embed social impact into everyday
operations so that people’s needs are always addressed.
We can no longer wait for times of acute uncertainty and desperation to support
those in need. As we grieve this
moment, we must
realize that we have the power to make an impact, no matter how small it seems,
and that’s precisely what #GivingTuesdayNow aims to do. Charitable giving can
no longer be an afterthought, businesses must bring it to the forefront of their
day-to-day operations. This is the only way for businesses to grow while also
creating a robust and sustainable funding stream to address COVID-19, and other
crises on the horizon. How the business community acts today will determine the
quality of life for generations to come.
Published May 5, 2020 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST
This article, produced in cooperation with the Sustainable Brands editorial team, has been paid for by one of our sponsors.