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May 18, 2022
Charitable Giving to Aid Ukraine Could Impact Other Nonprofits
Fundraising Future

March 21, 2022 —Americans are responding to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has ignited one of the largest humanitarian crises since the end of World War II, by donating to internationally focused charitable organizations, but that support plus increased economic pressure spawned by inflation could reduce giving to other nonprofits.

Although charitable giving is not a zero-sum game—where increased giving to one category of nonprofit automatically means less for others—large impact events can tilt support away from organizations in need of ongoing support.

Case in point. In the weeks following the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, which generated a nearly unprecedented flow of funds from individuals to a special fund established to assist those injured by the attack, several Massachusetts nonprofits saw major events fall short of fundraising objectives:

  • Project Bread, the only statewide anti-hunger organization in Massachusetts, raised $3.1 million through its annual Walk for Hunger, about a half million dollars shy of its goal.

  • Run-Walk to Home Base, based in Boston, which provides clinical care and support to Iraq and Afghanistan veterans and families, raised $1.9 million through its annual fundraiser, down from $2 million the year before.

Fidelity Charitable, a Boston-based nonprofit which is the largest grant maker in the United States, based on a survey completed March 9, last week reported that 25% of Americans have either donated to a charity or provided other forms of aid in response to the Ukraine crisis.

Two-thirds (66%) of those who hadn’t donated said they will or may make a donation, with many held back by concerns about how their support will be used or if their donation will reach intended recipients.

“In addition to these concerns, many respondents reported feeling economic pressures in their own lives—often related to current events, such as increasing inflation and rising fuel prices—that leave less discretionary income available for donations,” Fidelity Charitable noted.

Sunflower of Peace, a Boston-based nonprofit founded in 2014 to help displaced people after Russia invaded and annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, recently announced it has raised $4.45 million toward a $5 million goal to send medical aid to help Ukrainians affected by the current Russian invasion.

Last week, Sunflower of Peace received $1 million from #StartSmall, a philanthropic initiative created by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, the Boston Herald reported, augmenting other financial and volunteer support.

“It’s incredible that the Boston community has been so supportive,” Katya Malakhova, Sunflower’s founder, told the Herald. “I’m just grateful. “We appreciate that everyone has come together.”

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