PHOENIX – Every April, the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum host a 24-hour donation frenzy called Arizona Gives Day. The goal is to raise awareness about Arizona nonprofits while promoting and inspiring people to give.
The fundraising event benefits almost 1,000 nonprofits statewide. This year’s goal is to surpass $4 million, and organizers say it’s especially important because many nonprofit organizations are facing serious financial strain due to rising inflation and costs.
The Consumer Price Index for the Phoenix area increased by 1.2% in the first two months of this year, and was 8.5% higher than the same time last year, according to the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report.
Arizona Helping Hands is one of the nonprofits participating in this year’s Arizona Gives Day. The organization provides children in foster care with the things they need to thrive, whether it’s a new bed, diapers, clothes, toys, school supplies or basic necessities. Most of its expenses come from purchasing items to give to families and children in need.
Not only is it struggling with rising inflation and prices, but requests for help from families have more than doubled in the past two months, said Bethany Eggleston, director of development at Arizona Helping Hands. After providing aid and resources to an average of 149 families per month in 2022, the organization served a total of 387 families from February to March this year.
The nonprofit historically obtained products through donations, but because of the increased demand, Arizona Helping Hands now must buy them.
“Things are just more and more expensive, and there’s so much more pressure for us to keep more items on our shelves because the demand is higher,” Eggleston said.
The organization believes that the increase in requests may be a result of higher costs of daily goods. When Arizona Helping Hands is able to provide basic necessities, it can help take some financial pressure off families. Families can then reallocate the money they would have spent on items like toothpaste or clothes to something more important like better housing, she said.
Eggleston said Arizona Helping Hands has seen an increase in donations from Arizona Gives Day since people are able to donate as part of Arizona’s Charitable Tax Credit. There are two tax credits available to individual taxpayers for charitable donations made “during 2022 or donations made from January 1, 2023, through April 18, 2023, to be claimed on the 2022 Arizona income tax return,” according to the Arizona Department of Revenue. Visit this link for a list of qualifying charitable organizations and foster care charitable organizations.
With the money from Arizona Gives Day, Arizona Helping Hands hopes to expand its outreach with a mobile unit that will bring supplies to families who may not be able to travel to its facility in Phoenix.
Nonprofits are not the only part of the charitable giving equation experiencing strain because of the economy. Some of Arizona Gives Day’s largest group of donors are retirees on fixed incomes. The rising costs have impacted how much they are able to give because prices for everyday goods have increased.
“When they are having to pay for rent, gas, food, etc., it can eat into their fixed income and they aren’t able to give as much. People are having to make hard decisions about how they’re spending their dollars,” said Jennifer Purcell, chief impact officer at Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits and Arizona Grantmakers Forum.
Since it began in 2013, Arizona Gives Day has raised $36 million, Purcell said. This year’s goal is to push that total past $40 million. Even though Arizona Gives Day ends at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday, you can still give year round on the organization’s website. If you are interested in participating, visit www.azgives.org.