May has long been one of my favorite months of the year. The beautiful transition between spring and summer, with temperatures still bearable even in the Valley of the Sun. It’s a time for graduations and celebration of new seasons in life. During my time at the Arizona Small Business Association, we had a month-long celebration during May because it was Small Business Month. And now, at the Alliance, it is when we get to celebrate the successes from Arizona Gives Day and hand out more than $180,000 in prizes to participating nonprofits.
But, as we inch closer to yet another long, hot, summer, it also brings up a few concerns for the nonprofit sector. With charitable giving normally spiking around tax time, and then again around end of year, the summer represents a potential drought in more than one way. It is critically important that nonprofits have access to a steady stream of funding throughout the entire year in order to effectively sustain their missions — especially for those working on issues that are only exacerbated by rising temps — like homelessness or animal welfare. This is why consistently donating to nonprofits throughout the year is incredibly important.
With all the tax changes that have occurred since the Tax Cuts & Jobs Act was passed at the end of 2017, it also remains to be seen whether we will continue to see a spike in donations around tax time and end of year. The Alliance has been hard at work finding creative solutions to help mitigate an estimated $273 million annual loss in charitable giving to Arizona nonprofits. This is another very important reason we must continue to give of our time, talent and (especially) treasures to help nonprofits be able to continue to provide critical programs and support.
So, as the cooler temps waft away into the summer sun, as you are sitting around the pool or staying tucked away inside in the comfort of your A/C, please remember your nonprofit colleagues. Make a special gift this summer, or volunteer a few hours of your time. Let’s continue to make May a month that makes us all smile, especially those who need a smile the most.
Kristen Merrifield, CAE, CNAP, is chief executive officer of the Association of Arizona Nonprofits.