December 23, 2020 | Geneva Flanagan-Benedict
The warmth of charitable giving is in the air and it has been snowballing this holiday season. The spirit of giving recently touched more than 900 customers at a Dairy Queen in Brainerd, Minnesota when they created a pay it forward train that lasted over 2 days. On Giving Tuesday, the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, 34 million people in the US donated over $2.5 billion to charitable organizations. That’s a 29% increase in the number of donors and a 25% increase in the value of donations over last year. In Maine, high school students participated in a week of giving food drive and collected over 2,400 items to donate to an Augusta food bank. The list keeps growing and would make any Grinch’s cold heart grow three sizes!
At NetImpact Strategies, we are getting into the spirit of giving as well by participating in Wreathes Across America, the Giving Tree, and our annual Supporting Your Favorite Cause campaign. The importance of community service has always been a part of our core values, although the global pandemic has challenged us to find ways to support our communities while staying safe. The wreath laying at Arlington National Cemetery is a time-honored tradition to pay respect to our service members that have dedicated their lives to our great nation. While this year we could not participate in person, we were still able to contribute to the Wreathes Across America campaign through sponsorship of wreathes. Krystan Silva, Talent Acquisition Manager, has volunteered with Wreathes Across America for many years and explained that, “Just because times are different, does not mean that our community does not still need us, and NetImpact employees always rise to the occasion!” This makes her even more proud to be a part of NetImpact than she could even explain.
For our Giving Tree donations, NetImpact partnered with Northern Virginia Family Services (NVFS), a local nonprofit that has served the community for over 90 years with resources for financial, emotional, and physical well-being. NVFS provided us with holiday wish lists from children whose families may not be able to afford to buy gifts for them. Our employees answered the call by donating over 70 gifts of books, clothing, games, and toys for children in our community. Anika Davis, Trusted Advisor, led the Giving Tree effort and wanted to ensure the children who received the gifts knew that they were special and loved by their parents and the wider community.
Another way NetImpact gives back is through the Supporting Your Favorite Cause campaign. Each year employees can vote for their favorite charities and the top three are sent a monetary donation. In 2020 the top three charities as voted by our employees, Mental Health America, Melwood, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, received donations of $15,200 each for a total of $45,600! Now that is what I call making an impact in our community for those who need it most.
Though nonprofits have seen significant increases in donations throughout the year they are still in need of our help as they face higher costs and demand for assistance due to the pandemic. According to the National Philanthropic Trust, December is the most important month for giving, with 28% of nonprofits raising between 26-50% of the annual funds needed to continue their work in this month alone. This year also happens to be a particularly good time to give with brand new tax incentives provided by the CARES Act.*
The year isn’t over yet and we can still make a difference! To ensure your donation makes the biggest impact, Forbes Magazine recommends finding a need that is important to you, doing your research on the organization before donating, focusing your donations on a few charities, and doing more than writing a check – get involved! If you’re not sure what cause to give to, you can find worthwhile organizations at GiveWell, Focusing Philanthropy, and Charity Watch. So, find your cause, donate time and money, and take joy in knowing that your gift means so much to others!
*See the IRS site IRS CARES Act or an accountant for more information.