Nonprofit CEO: Give generously this holiday season
Winston Churchill famously said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” I think of those words each December, a month that is synonymous with giving. As we have celebrated Thanksgiving, a day where we can express gratitude for what we have, giving back in December is a way for all of us to complete the circle, as it is in giving that we truly receive.
So why is this time of year so important for nonprofits? Much of it is cultural. Thanksgiving is a time of gratitude. Christmas and Hanukkah, celebrations of giving, occur at the end of the year, hard-wiring many of us to give. With Giving Tuesday on the front end and a looming Dec. 31 tax deadline on the other, it’s a busy time for the charitable sector.
Last year, Americans gave $373 billion to charity. Eight of 10 of those dollars came through individuals, either by contributions or bequests. Thirty-one percent of all contributions come during the month of December, and 12 percent comes during the last three days of the year. These numbers prove the argument that the charitable giving incentive’s importance dominates the charitable giving landscape.
Oklahoma has always been one of the most generous states in the country. Our philanthropists help our nonprofits with transformative investments that change lives and create better communities throughout Oklahoma. Together, we create a unique and special environment where generosity isn’t just a virtue, it’s a tradition.
This year, nonprofits continue to meet needs at an ever-increasing demand. Families need assistance with food, shelter, health services, child and elder care, and so much more. This is also a time to celebrate and support our state’s esteemed cultural institutions, our museums, our researchers and our educators. Nonprofits are there to provide services and enrich our lives, and they need all of our help to continue that important, lifesaving and life-changing work while they operate with stretched staff and tight resources.
Because of state budget cuts from the past several years coupled with increased demand, we continue to depend on philanthropy more than ever to keep our most vulnerable families from falling through the ever-widening cracks. Your gifts have extra significance right now, and nonprofits increase the impact of your gifts by providing services for those left out in the cold.
Nonprofits rely heavily on people to help fuel the missions that alleviate so many of the challenges we face. By giving, we can ease someone’s suffering. We can provide a warm meal. We can mend a broken heart. We as philanthropists can step up and help our nonprofits — and the people they serve — thrive.
On behalf of the board of directors, staff and the nearly 19,000 nonprofits we serve at the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits, I wish you a joyous holiday season and happy new year.