The Best Ways to Give in a Pandemic

Back in December, my aunt sent me The New York Times article, titled “What’s the Right Way to Give in a Pandemic?” It covered some statistics around the increased need nonprofits are responding to from the global pandemic. The article also described some of the ways that nonprofits have shifted how they ask for support and creatively utilize technology. 

Reading the article, I was struck with how recognizable all of the charities it listed were. The Salvation Army has coordinated with Amazon to allow people to donate just by telling their Alexa that they are feeling philanthropic. Goodwill has continued accepting donations and serving visitors in their stores. 

I recognize that the work being done by national organizations is helping — it is. But I couldn’t help but feel that the article missed the opportunity to encourage readers to invest locally — to give to local nonprofits in their area that are deeply rooted in the community. There are local charity shops! Local shelters! Local food pantries!

To me, the article didn’t feel like a roadmap to encourage philanthropy or highlight the benefit of donating to a cause that you care about. It felt like a scolding for not having QR codes on donation buckets and electronic ears listening for the command to donate! 

The COVID-19 pandemic has required us all to look at our development practices with new constraints and new opportunities — to be creative and find new ways to connect.

I forget where exactly, but somewhere on the internet I read the phrase “give until it feels good.” That’s the message that I wish I got from The New York Times article.

The right ways to donate in a pandemic? All the ways. Give until it feels good.

Emily Wills



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