Non-profits struggle to raise donations as demand rises

Published: Dec. 4, 2020 at 10:46 AM CST
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Members of community outreach programs are saying that donations are needed now more than ever.

It’s no secret the pandemic has caused financial issues for people all over the world, but as families struggle financially, so do charities and non-profits.

“This year given COVID, obviously we aren’t able to connect with our donors the same way we have in the past,” Director of Development and Planned Giving Catholic Diocese of Wichita Mike Westscott said.

Westcott said he’s confident most non-profits have seen a downtick in donations during the pandemic. That in combination with not being able to have large fundraising events because of COVID-19 restrictions, has some worried about charities raising the funds necessary to meet the needs of the community.

“So many organizations have tried to do some virtual events -- and some have been successful at that, and some have been less than successful. Those are difficult. Ya know you can only participate in so many of those virtual events before their allure wears off. So, it is a challenging time.”

It’s a challenging time for fundraising, and for the services non-profits provide. Pat Hanrahan, recently retired president and CEO of United Way of the Plains, says adding to the stress, many non-profits are seeing an increase in demand, just when the possibilities for people to donate have been declining.

“We’re kind of hit with a double whammy because we had the high unemployment rates in the aircraft agency,” Hanrahan said. “That in ordinary times would be a challenge for the agencies, the non-profits to deal with.

“We’re starting to see, cases of alcoholism is up, spousal abuse is up, mental health issues is up. It’s much like a natural disaster. About six months after a major tornado, we’ll see those types of things start to surface. And that’s happening now.”

Westcott said even a small donation at this crucial time can make a big difference right now, and most non-profits will make it easy for you to help out.

“Most of these organizations are going to have a presence online, they’ve got a website. They have donate now buttons, you can go there now and make a gift,” Westcott said.

Whether you need help or want to give to an organization, Hanrahan said to call United Way at 211.

That’s United Way’s 24 hour 7 days a week telephone service. They’ve got a database of over 3000 different non-profit programs. They could certainly refer someone to the right agency.”

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