In the wake of COVID-19, nonprofits across the United States find themselves at the intersection of service and survival. The initial spread of COVID-19 left millions of Americans suddenly out of work and unable to pay bills. Food banks became the poster child of the nonprofit assistance cavalry, and other nonprofits began experiencing the overwhelming surge in demand and a steadily depleting supply.
Months later, Americans still find themselves at a desolate impasse. Those that once were able to donate to charities are now lining up in hopes of receiving help. According to research conducted by the Candid group, without community support, nonprofit groups that provide social services, medical care, and spiritual needs are likely to close without some type of rescue package or government assistance.
A mass shutdown of nonprofit groups would not only be a blow to those who rely on their services but would also do further damage to the economy. The sector is the nation’s third-largest private employer, with 1.3 million nonprofits employing roughly 12.5 million people, about 10 percent of the total who are working in the private sector. A study at Johns Hopkins University reported that 1.6 million nonprofit jobs were lost between February 2020 and May 2020.
According to Charity Navigator, more than 75% of the 150 responding nonprofits that provide key social services such as shelter, and food, reported that their organizations had suffered financially from the pandemic and the economic shutdown. Meanwhile, 66% have seen an increase in demand for their services. And more than half have cut programs.
Without community support, the trend of loss will not stop. Nonprofits will continue to run their resources dry and will eventually be unable to provide help. One man understands the importance of nonprofits, charity, and community support.
A Light in Dark Times
Roy Dekel, CEO and co-founder of SetSchedule, a software company that specializes in building tools that enable real estate professionals and buyers to connect and conduct business with ease, set out to help. Dekel found his company uniquely positioned to thrive on the shift from in-person real estate transactions, to solely digital interactions. SetSchedule had been building for the digital shift in the industry and they were ready for the change. But not all businesses were so lucky.
In an effort to support small businesses, nonprofits, and startups that are struggling to survive the pandemic, Dekel looked to his passion for philanthropy. He set up the SetSchedule Community Support Fund through which local businesses and nonprofits can offer their goods or services to be contracted by SetSchedule for the upcoming fiscal year. To stimulate the local economy, SetSchedule will disburse the agreed upon funds once the application is accepted, regardless of when the applicant will fulfill their end of the contract.
“Small business owners and entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of American business,” asserts Dekel. “Unfortunately, current circumstances are unfairly killing small businesses because operations for many have had to freeze, but these are often the circumstances that ingenuity thrives on, and I want to do our part to support our friends and neighborhood businesses.”
Leading by Example
As a community leader, Dekel has earned the reputation of being a person of conviction that has a genuine drive to help others. “For as long as I can remember, it has always been my passion to help others.” He actively looks for opportunities to support establishments that encourage education, technology and small businesses.
Before the pandemic enforced social distancing practices, Dekel sought to engage his employees and staff in volunteer opportunities. “Together, we can all help nonprofits achieve their missions faster,” said Dekel. “Every dollar and hour donated makes a difference.”
In staying true to his spirit of philanthropy and selflessness, Dekel helped establish the SetSchedule Cares Foundation, a charitable organization to benefit groups that support startups, technology, research, and community empowerment. Since the foundation’s inception in 2017, it has raised thousands for charities. We have started a movement with the cooperation of the SetSchedule Cares Foundation, by matching contributions to more than 19,000 charities.
“It’s important to share our good fortune,” said Dekel. “Sometimes, we get so caught up in the rat race to achieve our own objectives that we lose sight of the fact that there is always more to do in order to support those who are less fortunate or need help building stable foundations.”
One for All and All for One
The efforts made by Dekel through SetSchedule and his foundations have come a long way from the companies’ annual beach cleanups. He understands that giving back to the community is the only way to survive the pandemic. “One of the greatest ways to be successful is to give back. It is better to give, as the cliche goes, than to receive.”
He believes that moments of flux are moments of opportunity. “Innovation is the creation birthed from destruction. Every crisis offers opportunity.” Dekel encourages philanthropists and other businesses to continue supporting the causes close to their hearts, in order to help them and their mission survive the pandemic.