The nonprofit industry is the third largest in America. Nonprofit organizations employ thousands of people and serve millions. They provide food for the hungry, safety for the abused, care for our seniors, and shelter for stray pets. They also provide the community with entertainment, art, trails, gyms, libraries, medical centers, parks, emergency services, places of worship, and much more. Without nonprofits, the US would be a dull place to live.

We support our favorite nonprofits because we care about the issues they’re addressing and believe the work they’re doing is making a difference. We’re fans and we’re loyal.

Like all businesses, nonprofits in this area are struggling right now. They’ve had to reduce or cease services and ask staff to remain at home, yet their expenses continue to mount. And some, like those serving seniors, providing hunger relief, or offering mental health services have seen a substantial spike in demand for their services during the virus crisis.

We must remember, most nonprofits don’t make products or sell services to derive income. They rely wholly, or in part, on donations from people like you and me. Many have little to no reserve funds because supporters often put pressure on them to use all the money they raise to support programming rather than save portions of it (this will surely change).

Money is tight for everyone right now. You may have lost your job, been furloughed, or seen your savings shrink due to a drop on your stock portfolio or 401k. It’s a rough time for everyone.

It’s also a time where it would be easy look inward and “look out for number one.” But if there was ever a time to look outward and express gratitude to those serving us and our community, this is it.

Therefore, I urge to you to make calls or visit the websites of your favorite nonprofits and make a financial gift. By doing so, you’re helping ensure that their services and staff can stay afloat during this time of crisis and be a better position to thrive during the recovery.

Besides a gift, you can support your nonprofit by offering to make phone calls, donate food, shop for seniors, and say prayers. Even sending a note of appreciation or a gift certificate for take-out meals can warm the hearts of staff and make them smile . . . something we all need more of right now. And when the isolation ban is lifted, you can offer to do chores, run errands, or simply offer to volunteer to help them get back on track.

If you’re a major donor, let me encourage you to contact your favorite nonprofits and offer to donate emergency funds or provide zero-interest loans. These funds can help pay for staff wages and health insurance, as well as business expenses, program expenses, and utility bills. It might just be the gift a nonprofit needs to free itself from the financial burdens and anxieties it faces.

The nonprofits in the US are the cornerstones for much of our culture, fun, and service. In these unsettling times, let’s reassure them with a financial gift and a commitment to help and show them our passion for their success and the well-being of their staff is authentic. In doing so, we’ll keep our nonprofits strong and stable and the community vibrant.