The pandemic did not faze non-profit organizations. They continued to operate as much as they could to help their communities. There is so much they can do, especially in times of crisis, for the hundreds of millions of people in communities that they serve across the country.
These organizations are not spared by hard times, though. They also need much help, especially from the government.
What Non-profits Need
In January this year, the Independent Sector released results of their survey among 900 non-profit organizations in the U.S. This was to help the government learn about the challenges these organizations face. They also wanted to know how federal policymakers can help in the next six months.
Among the respondents, 67 percent stated that their top concern was the health and safety of the staff and community. Also, 57 percent stated that they need to meet the growing demand for services, also 57 percent expressed concern about funding for staff, 53 percent expressed concern about systemic inequality, and 50 percent expressed concern about funding to keep their operations going.
On how the federal government can help in the next six months, 67 percent wanted the government to incentivize charitable giving, 61 percent wanted more direct relief to individuals, 57 percent wanted streamlining of government grants and contracts, 54 percent wanted new forgivable loans, 43 percent wanted expanded broadband access, 31 percent wanted a hundred percent coverage of unemployment insurance, and 28 percent wanted more payroll tax relief.
The respondents also voiced concerns about the needs of subsectors and marginalized communities. Many asked policymakers to focus on racial and economic inequality when drafting policies.
The National Council on Non-Profits acknowledged the American Rescue Plan Act signed into law on March 11, 2021. The Council asked non-profits to maximize the provisions of the law for their organizations and the people they are serving.
Helping the Campaign to Get More People Vaccinated
The Council called on all non-profit organizations, including small and non-health-related organizations, to play a role in the COVID-19 vaccination campaign to save lives. It cited how frontline non-profit leaders in Washington, California, and North Carolina eliminated obstacles preventing people from getting vaccination appointments and shots. Those leaders highlighted the barriers related to trust, language, reading, access to and use of technology, transportation, and others.
The Council directed non-profit organizations toward the COVID-19 Community Corps of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Non-profits can avail of vaccine safety fact sheets, tips on planning community events, tips on discussing the importance of vaccination, social media content for posting, and email updates on vaccine news and resources.
The Council also cited materials and resources from the National Forum on COVID-19 Vaccine. Organizations can get information on equitable vaccine implementation, increasing vaccine confidence through communication and community engagement, and engaging community-based organizations to become vaccination partners.
To support COVID-19-related efforts, the Council is directing non-profit organizations to apply for local funding from their state’s immunization manager. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is investing $3 billion through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for higher vaccine uptake and equity. The grant focuses on communities that are hardest hit by the pandemic. These include rural areas, minority communities, and places with a high social vulnerability index.
Launching Digital and Back-to-basics Campaigns
Non-profit organizations must recognize that they are operating in two extremes. While they are in a world that is developing at a dizzying pace technologically, some communities are still technologically excluded. It is therefore important to cover all grounds when planning and implementing vaccination confidence and availment campaigns.
To reach many who are digitally connected, mostly through cellular phones, non-profits can create digital campaigns with help from a digital marketing service company like C1 Partners. They can formulate and send a series of SMS messages and also post these on social media.
The digital campaigns can run at the same time as offline campaigns using traditional methods. Attractive and easy-to-read pamphlets can be informative to those who can read, written in the language they comprehend. For people with reading barriers, home visits and community gatherings are useful ways to engage and discuss the matter face-to-face.
The Importance of Non-profit Organizations
The interest of the government in the non-profit community shows how important these organizations are for the country. Based in communities, they are in direct touch with the grassroots and often serve as the conduit between the people and the government.
Non-profits are also often the first to know of the needs of the people and come to their aid. This is also why the government provides funding to these organizations. It will be beneficial if more volunteers come forward to help implement community-based campaigns that are for the good of all.