A day that is usually reserved for the Tuesday after Thanksgiving is being recognized tomorrow to raise awareness to the needs surrounding the nonprofit sector during the coronavirus pandemic through #GivingTuesdayNow. 

Giving Tuesday began in 2012 and has expanded to a global campaign where people can contribute their time, donations or their voice to causes they care about. More than $511 million was donated online on Giving Tuesday 2019, with that number growing to more than $1.9 billion with “offline” contributions, such as time and money given to a cause.

Sara Bonney, chief marketing officer for the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, said the decision was made to launch Giving Tuesday Now tomorrow in response to what is happening as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“There is unprecedented need, and it’s important to raise awareness to those needs and the needs surrounding the nonprofit sector,” Bonney said. “We live in such a generous community and this is a wonderful way to encourage Iowans to think about the causes they care about or find new causes to support.”

It’s also an opportunity for nonprofits to “lift up their stories,” and tell the community about the work they are doing, she said.

The Community Foundation has a site www.givedsm.org where any nonprofit can post their needs, whether it be a short-term or immediate need, ongoing operational needs or their capital campaigns. This year, the Foundation has put up a COVID-19 field on the site to draw attention to needs related to the pandemic.

“It’s a great place to learn about nonprofits that have needs related to their recovery work, or their work on the ground right now,” Bonney said.

The website is also a place where people can find areas to help, she said.

“We always want people to give to the cause they care about, but if they’re looking to find out about what needs are in the community, (they can go to the website),” Bonney said.

She said any local nonprofit can post to the site for free, and people who visit the site can be linked directly to the organization.

The Community Foundation also has created a video with local leaders promoting the importance of Giving Tuesday Now.

According to the national site, Giving Tuesday will happen again on Dec 1, in its traditional spot after Thanksgiving.

Teree Caldwell-Johnson, CEO of Oakridge Neighborhood Services, which provides housing and related services for more than 1,000 people, said Giving Tuesday Now is, “an opportunity for the community and nonprofit sector to mobilize resources and provide support during these times of extreme uncertainty.”

“The urgency of this is front and center, but more importantly, the need is so great,” Caldwell-Johnson said.

She said much of what’s been happening so far is responding to the crisis, but Giving Tuesday helps provide the awareness and resources to help the nonprofit sector begin moving forward.

“For the nonprofit sector for Giving Tuesday and beyond, it’s about recovery, sustainability and our ability to do the amazing work that is really important as we move into the recovery phase post-COVID and what that looks like,” she said. “Looking into the rear view mirror won’t do us any good if we don’t see a path forward.”