Anyone who’s given to a charity may feel a bit overwhelmed this time of year with options to donate Thanksgiving meals, holiday gifts or just plain cash — and there’s a reason for that.
The end of the year is an important time for nonprofits as they strive to reach certain goals and fulfill their missions up to and beyond Dec. 31.
For those who work or volunteer for nonprofits and those who just want to kick a few extra dollars to a cause they care about, leaders of two Long Beach nonprofits have some advice for how to approach the season.
“The year end is significant because this is the last opportunity that charities have to meet their annual fundraising goals,” and it also helps them plan their activities for the next year, Long Beach Community Foundation CEO Marcelle Epley said.
The foundation provides grants to support local nonprofits and helps donors manage their contributions.
This is also a time of year when organizations review what they’ve been doing so supporters know how their donations were used and may be persuaded to give a little more, said Michelle Byerly, executive director of The Nonprofit Partnership, an organization that offers resources such as planning help and leadership training for charities.
Some advice for nonprofits: Thank whoever has already given and show the impact of their gift with stories of how it served the community, Byerly said, adding, “Reach donors where they are,” whether that’s on social media or with an email, phone call or letter.
Those who want to donate and are looking to have the greatest impact here in Long Beach should think about a time when they needed assistance — “because we all do at some point,” Epley said — and what kinds of help would have made a difference.
Where to give
For those who want to give before the year’s end, it can feel daunting to find and choose an organization to donate to.
According to Byerly, Long Beach Gives can be a good place to start. Although the annual campaign ended in September — raising more than $2 million for 244 nonprofits — its website (longbeachgives.com) is still active and can be used to search for local charities by service or by City Council district. There, people can find contact information to donate directly.
For those looking to help struggling families and the city’s unhoused community, Epley suggested looking into Urban Community Outreach and Long Beach Community Table. Both nonprofits are a resource for food and clothing for those in need and are among local organizations working with the most vulnerable residents, she said.
Beyond basic needs such as housing and food, Byerly and Epley said organizations that serve youth — particularly with mental health, learning loss from school disruptions, and activities and cultural programs — are struggling to recover from the pandemic and meet swelling demand. On the Long Beach Gives website, there are 54 of these organizations listed.
The Community Foundation website also organizes funds people can give to by the cause they benefit, such as education, animals and the environment.
For those who don’t have six-figure salaries or stock portfolios but still want to make a difference in their community, Epley said no donation amount is insignificant because nonprofits work to stretch those funds as far as possible.
“Every person who’s making a charitable donation should feel really good about their donation,” she said.