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During this complex and evolving crisis, we are committed to helping you make your giving count when and where it’s needed most.
In addition to specific guidance on how to support medical needs, protect vulnerable populations and sustain all nonprofits, here are answers to other common questions we’re hearing from our donors about how to give most effectively during the pandemic.
When is the most effective time for me to give? Is it better to give now, or wait until new needs emerge?
Give now, and give flexibly. “Unrestricted funds” – that is, donations given for use as-needed, without earmarks – allow experts on the ground to channel resources for maximum impact during a time where those needs can change by the hour. Philanthropic support for public health is critical for use alongside government funding, which is not always available, or may not be available quickly enough to meet public health needs as they arise.
I feel overwhelmed by the number of needs I’m hearing about. How do I figure out the most important areas on which to focus my giving?
Avoid “analysis paralysis.” When you start to feel overwhelmed, remember: No one person or their giving can fix the multi-faceted COVID-19 crisis. It’s going to take all of us, giving across an array of crucial needs. The most important thing you can do is take action. Accelerate your existing giving to quality nonprofits now – and, if you have the means, consider going above and beyond what you typically give.
One efficient way to pool resources is to contribute to one of the many relief funds that have been established, which can help deploy resources speedily to where they’re most needed on the front lines of this crisis. This map from the National Center for Family Philanthropy and Giving Compass lists local relief funds*. If you have a specific cause area in mind, our COVID-19 giving guidance has suggestions in each of three critical areas.
I want to give locally. How do I identify the most effective ways to direct my giving in my own community?
There are many ways to locate quality local nonprofits. You can search for local relief funds using this map from the National Center for Family Philanthropy and Giving Compass.* If you have issue-specific interests, community foundations are a great resource to find local organizations that address those issues. Many national nonprofits also have local affiliates or funnel support to local partners.
If you are already supporting a local organization with a great mission, that might be your best place to start – because so many nonprofits are struggling, reliable support is more important now than ever. Below are questions to reflect on as you consider which local nonprofits you may want to support.
How do I balance local, national and international giving?
Each individual will have their own answer, depending on their interests and priorities. If you want to support all three areas, we suggest creating a formula (and then sticking to it) – for example, giving allocations of 20% to international relief, 20% national and 60% local may be the right balance for someone who wants to help holistically but weight heavily toward local relief.
Remember: You will achieve the greatest impact if you concentrate your donations among a handful of organizations in a few key areas, rather than spreading your support across many.
How can I help provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to those who need it?
How can I help first responders?
Check with your local hospital. Many have started funds to assist first responders.
How do I put my Fidelity Charitable donor-advised fund to best use during this unprecedented time? Should I change the way I use my Giving Account?
When designating use for a grant, choose “where needed most” or “coronavirus (COVID-19) relief"
Consider accelerating your giving – if you usually recommend grants at the end of the year, recommend a grant right now instead.
Consider giving more than usual. In addition to giving to COVID-19 relief, continue to recommend grants to the nonprofits you usually support. The entire nonprofit sector is struggling in the face of the pandemic. Many Giving Account donors take a long-term approach to giving, but if it is possible for you to give more than usual during this unprecedented time, we advise that you do so.
*This resource is reprinted with permission from National Center for Family Philanthropy and Giving Compass. The views and opinions of third-party content providers are solely those of the author and not Fidelity Charitable. Fidelity Charitable does not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided by such third parties. Fidelity Charitable is not responsible for the accuracy of such information or the ability of any organization to achieve specific goals. Fidelity Charitable makes no recommendation or endorsement with respect to any particular organization.