MANCHESTER, NH – New Hampshire charities and nonprofits are counting on Granite Staters to remember their organizations – and their community and neighbors – during the frenzy of the holiday shopping season.
Giving Tuesday is Nov. 28 this year. With emails and social media messages already filling up consumers’ phones and laptops, it may be overwhelming for people to decide which cause to give to. Industry leaders say, however, it’s ultimately about how you’d like to help your community.
“Everywhere you look in New Hampshire, there is a nonprofit doing amazing work that makes all of our lives better,” said Melinda Mosier, vice president of donor engagement and philanthropy services at the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation. The foundation awards more than $60 million in grants and scholarships every year.
Some tips for picking which of so many worthy causes to donate to? “Find an organization whose work you admire, and that you see benefiting the community and make a gift of general support,” Mosier said. “Remember that the large, well-known nonprofits do amazing work, but don’t forget the small grassroots organizations and neighborhood groups.”
Karen Moynihan, vice president of philanthropy for Catholic Charities New Hampshire acknowledged, “There’s a lot of competition out there for Giving Tuesday.”
She said that a lot of donors support multiple causes, spreading out their giving budget. Nonprofits recognize that people are under financial stress, and that charitable giving is often low on the priority list when people are making decisions on how to spend on a limited budget, she said.
But the catch-22 is that the same economic issues that cause people to cut back on giving also spur an increased need for services, and nonprofits need donor support more than ever.
“Things have changed,” Moynihan said. “More people need more help.”
Mosier, too, said need has increased with economic stress. “Americans are generous,” she said. “People in New Hampshire and across the country really rallied to help one another during the worst part of the pandemic, with individuals giving more than $300 billion nationwide in 2020 and 2021 — which were record levels of giving. However, individual charitable giving was down nationwide in 2022, perhaps a result of inflation and economic uncertainty.”
But she added, “Unfortunately, there has not been a decrease in need in communities — in fact, many nonprofits have reported an increased need for services in 2023.”
Across the U.S., people gave $3 billion nationwide during Giving Tuesday last year, which Mosier said is a 15% increase over 2021. But with inflation and economic concerns, consumers are being cautious this year about spending in general, and also about giving, economy analysts have said. Nationally, charitable giving is down 10% this year.
Giving Tuesday and NH Gives, in June, are New Hampshire’s two major events that focus consumers on the importance of donating to nonprofits. NH Gives, sponsored by the New Hampshire Center for Nonprofits, has raised more than $3 million each year for the past four years, and in its seven years has raised more than $12 million dollars for more than 1,000 nonprofits.
Because Giving Tuesday is not a focused fundraiser, but a general promotion that encourages people to donate to nonprofits, it’s harder to quantify its effects.
Giving Tuesday began in 2012, “created as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good,” the website GivingTuesday.org, says. “Since then, it has grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.”
The day doesn’t just focus on donations, but also acts of kindness and generosity – for instance, volunteering with an organization or for a cause, or even just helping a neighbor who needs a hand.
Mosier said that donors should consider donations that aren’t aimed at a specific program.
“The way we can best help nonprofits meet pressing community needs is with flexible operating support,” Mosier said. “Nonprofits not only need support from generous people — but they need support that funds their whole missions, not just specific programs or projects, in the face of complex and changing needs.”
Catholic Charities New Hampshire welcomes general donations, but also highlights a program every year on Giving Tuesday. This year it is raising money for its monthly food delivery to homebound seniors. The organization is seeking to raise $30,000 to help support deliveries to 125 homebound seniors. CCNH delivered 167,000 pounds of food last year, but with 8,000 New Hampshire seniors experiencing food insecurity and another 10,000 who come close to experiencing it, the need continues to grow, Michael McDonough, executive director of marketing and communications for the organization, said.
The program is a way for seniors who don’t have many resources to stay independent, but still get help and resources, Moynihan and McDonough said. The food delivery may help ease a recipient’s budget enough that they can pay for needed medication, for instance.
CCNH has programs that focus on poverty, hunger, mental health, homeless, unsafe environments for children, as well as nursing and independent living homes – overall it serves about on in 12 New Hampshire residents a year. The organization doesn’t limit its services to Catholics.
“We are human services first,” Moynihan said. The organization reflects the Catholic faith’s belief “that everyone deserves to be met where they are” and be treated “with dignity and respect,” she said.
No matter what cause someone supports, Giving Tuesday is part of a bigger picture, McDonough said.
“Giving Tuesday is a day that celebrates generosity,” he said. “People really have an opportunity to improve the lives of people in New Hampshire.”