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The Push Is On For Nonprofit Pandemic and Workforce Shortage Relief

by Jennifer Hutchins

On Monday, a broad coalition of more than 60 national charitable nonprofit organizations sent a letter to President Biden and congressional leaders calling for “urgently needed pandemic and workforce shortage relief that will enable charitable organizations to fulfill their roles in our nation’s relief, recovery, and rebuilding.”

The letter identifies nonprofit-specific policy solutions that would provide disaster relief, address nonprofit workforce shortages, and promote volunteerism to aid our communities. The letter is now open for all charitable organizations to sign and circulate to show Congress and the White House that nonprofits in local communities throughout the country support these priorities.

Why Nonprofits, Why Now?

While all residents and sectors of the economy have been hurt by the pandemic, charitable organizations are now facing the combined challenges of both the harmful financial impact on their operations and chronic staffing shortages that impair the ability of nonprofits to serve their communities.

Financial Hardships and Realities

The pandemic continues to disrupt lives and the economy, factors that normally and rightly motivate Congress to enact disaster relief that provides funding and tax relief to those most directly affected. Charitable organizations have utilized many forms of relief over the past two years, but most of those supports crafted to help nonprofits help others have expired. Yet the needs remain great as charitable organizations struggle to provide pandemic relief in the face of continuing health risks, lost revenues, and the lack of available staff.

Further, once the pandemic is defeated and other sectors of the economy return to “normalcy,” the public will still turn to charitable organizations to help them recover through education and healthcare, social services designed to help rebuild lives and careers, and cultural and faith engagements dedicated to restoring hope, inspiration, and trust.

Nonprofit Staffing Shortages

As of December 2021, there still are 450,000 fewer employees in the nonprofit sector than when the pandemic began, meaning that existing employees are carrying a much heavier – and unsustainable – load.

Charitable organizations report significant difficulties retaining staff and filling vacancies. Recent data confirm that four in five (79%) nonprofits identified salary competition as a major factor preventing them from filling job openings and nearly a quarter (23%) stated that the inability to find child care affected recruitment and retention. The impact of the shortages can be seen in virtually every local community as nonprofits are forced to restrict needed services, institute waiting lists, or close operations entirely. Because individuals and communities rely so heavily on charitable nonprofits for their wellbeing, the nonprofit workforce shortage impacts everyone.

What Are Nonprofits Seeking?

As the pandemic has dragged on beyond all expectations, charitable nonprofits of all types report at least three areas of challenges that policymakers must address.

Generating Resources to Meet the Needs of Relief and Recovery

To deliver relief and recovery in their communities, nonprofits need resources; yet charitable giving is down and giving incentives enacted by Congress have expired. Nonprofits are calling on Congress and the Administration to restore and expand the universal charitable (non-itemizer) deduction, and extend the 100% AGI cap on individual donations and the 25% income tax cap on corporate donations through the end of the year.

Addressing Critical Staffing Shortages

Charitable organizations are also calling for action to help remedy the devastating and well-documented nonprofit workforce shortage. Solutions include extending and improving the Employee Retention Tax Credit, investing significantly in high-quality, affordable, and available child care options, enacting the WORK NOW Act nonprofit grants and jobs program, and making essential reforms to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to make it more accessible for nonprofit employees.

Promoting the Return of Volunteers to Nonprofits

Finally, lawmakers must help address the precipitous decline in volunteerism, both to ensure organizations can continue to provide pandemic relief and recovery to communities and to promote civic engagement and healing. Specifically, nonprofits are seeking capacity building grants to assist in volunteer generation and management and relief for volunteer drivers.

What Can Nonprofits Do?

Now is the time to join the push to secure urgently needed relief for charitable nonprofits. The nonprofit community letter urges Congress and the Administration to advance these policy priorities to help overcome the unique challenges charitable organizations are facing as they struggle to serve our communities through and out of the worst public-health and economic crises of our lifetimes.

  1. Read the Letter
  2. Sign onto the Letter, and share it with your networks and encourage colleague organizations to also sign on.
  3. Email your two Senators and Representatives, sending them the new Nonprofit Community Letter.
  4. Tweet your Senators and Representative (names and handles listed here)[Senator/Representative #handle] the pandemic continues to hurt the ability of charitable nonprofits to meet community needs. Enact #Relief4Charities to address financial, workforce, and volunteer shortages. https://bit.ly/3gUi5gF

 

MANP is a proud member of the National Council of Nonprofits, a network of nonprofit state associations across the country, and trusted resource and proven advocate for America’s charitable nonprofits.

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