Local nonprofits see drop in donations amid tight economy

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Some nonprofits in Rhode Island are starting the new year struggling to make ends meet to deliver services to the community.

Local nonprofits see drop in donations amid tight economy

© Provided by WPRI Providence
Local nonprofits see drop in donations amid tight economy

With the need for help increasing, local charities say donations have decreased even though data shows giving is at record levels.

On Giving Tuesday, records were shattered with Americans donating $3.1 billion, and locally, on the Day of Giving, the Rhode Island Food Bank raised $50,000, which is $10,000 more than the previous year.

Yet, many nonprofits say their donor dollars are going down.

Robin Tagliaferri spends her days connecting with donors who support students at St. Patrick’s Academy in Providence while George Ortiz spends his time making sure shelves are stocked at the Elisha Project Pantry in Pawtucket.

Report: RI nonprofits in dire need of help

“They aren’t giving in the large amounts that they were able to give before,” said Tagliaferri.

Two different nonprofits serving two different demographics in the same financial boat.

“The top are still giving, those of us that need to figure out what we’re gonna do with our discretionary spending, that’s down,” Ortiz said.

Rhode Island Foundation President and CEO Neil Steinberg told 12 News the problem is the struggling economy.

“It’s tough out there,” he explained. “The demand has gone up for services, the cost of those services has gone up, it creates more need on the nonprofit side.”

For those who are still giving, their patterns have changed because of market uncertainty. The big spikes in donations around the holidays are now replacing the charities’ steady stream of income.

“The average donor that used to be able to do the $10 a month, the $5 a month, those have fallen off,” Ortiz said.

The lack of donations has left the R.I. Foundation filling the gap since they are the largest funder of nonprofits in the Ocean State.

“This is not the end of the world, everything is a cycle,” Steinberg said.

The Foundation announced Tuesday they will be awarding nearly $160,000 in additional emergency grants to three nonprofits to help keep hundreds of Rhode Islander families fed and warm this winter.

Steinburg’s advice to nonprofits is to educate and inspire to try and get support, and for donors, he says to look at your budget and as long as it doesn’t hurt you or your family, to give even just a little bit.

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