Pandemic poses challenges for local nonprofits

Photo courtesy: 3 choices creative communications

Many nonprofit organizations are dealing with a drop in donations since the start of the pandemic.

This problem has occurred for two reasons. First, major fundraising events that took place in the spring had to be canceled. Local events within communities simply couldn’t occur due to social distancing.

Second, ordinary giving dropped as individuals battled with employment cutbacks and the monetary effect of COVID-19 on families.

Since nonprofits don’t operate as regular for-profit businesses, many don’t have the financial support to help during the past 19 months. A drop in income, even a little one, puts these nonprofits in danger of financial trouble.

A few nonprofits in Tallahassee have been struggling to fulfill their mission.

One organization, Girls 2 Divas, is a mentoring program for 5th-12th grade girls. Its mission is to help the next generation of women discover their purpose in life, build their self-esteem, and help them develop life, social, leadership, communication, job and college skills.

Janay White, director and C.E.O of Girls 2 Divas, said her organization has been facing genuine challenges.

White said prior to COVID, their account and funding was in a good position.

“When COVID-19 hit, Girls 2 Divas suffered tremendously, we had to pause some of our programming as a result of COVID, from then we definitely saw a decrease in support,” White said. “However in the middle of COVID the city helped us tremendously by awarding us a grant. That then allowed us to continue with our programming.”

The Leon County Nonprofit Services grant program donated $3 billion in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to local nonprofit organizations. The funding from the organization will provide up to $20,000 of one-time assistance to nonprofits.

“We haven’t seen much donations because everyone has their own personal things going on in their life due to COVID but because of the grant, we have been able to sustain it,” White said.

Many nonprofits such as Goodwill, Big Bend Cares or even the Salvation Army continue to see changes in their funding.

Farhan Ahmed, nonprofit donor and employee for “A life worth leading,” addressed the circumstances his nonprofit has been faced with.

His nonprofit  helps disabled veterans, and all kinds of people with their leadership and applicable skills.

“Classes have slowed down tremendously due to COVID-19,” Ahmed said. “People are afraid to come out and do activities, so we definitely have seen a decrease in funding and donations.”

He said that the organization gives away scholarships to individuals who are disabled or who may be a veteran. When students participate in the classes, it helps them provide scholarships for the individuals. Without students coming in for classes, they can’t provide as many scholarships.

“My hope is that in the future donations will continue to rise at least to the level that they were before,” he said. “It’s kind of hard to know exactly where we will be, especially with cases spiking again.

“It’s been a tough time for everyone right now unfortunately, I do think the best thing we could do is come together and support each other as a community,” Ahmed said.

You can find more information on nonprofits during COVID-19 at