The American Dream consists of two components: making it big and paying it forward. If you’ve ever volunteered for a non-profit or donated to a charity, you have taken part in that American Dream. Non-profits throughout the country work to promote it by offering assistance to those who need it most so that they get out from under and make it. National Nonprofit Day commemorates that spirit every year on August 17th and recognizes the significance of nonprofits in our local communities. 

History of National NonProfit Day

In 2017, a beautiful black author and speaker named Sherita J. Herring wanted to encourage everyone to be the change they wanted to see. She established the day to highlight that recognizing the need to help others is important. And August 17th was the day The Tariff Act of 1894 was signed into law. It imposed the first federal income tax on corporations but provided exclusions for charitable organizations. These incentives make the nonprofit and the American dream more accessible. 

According to the National Centre for Charitable Statistics, the United States boasts a remarkable 1.5 million registered organizations. These organizations play a pivotal role in community growth, offering essential services such as food banks, affordable housing, healthcare, legal guidance, and education. Additionally, the nonprofit sector contributes immensely to after-school programs, providing invaluable daycare services to these communities.

Moreover, the nonprofit sector substantially contributes to the national economy, employing professionals spanning fields such as law, engineering, and nursing. Following the recession in 2012, this sector made a staggering contribution of up to $887.3 billion, constituting 5.4% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product.”

How Can You Observe this Day?

The reason to celebrate nonprofits is self-explanatory, but it helps to recognize the many benefits that nonprofits offer us. They provide employment opportunities and are consumers of goods and services. This, in turn, contributes to the economy. Furthermore, nonprofits hit on the hard topics that have the potential to be swept under the rug. Topics range from disease to education to equality. This promotes awareness and sensitivity to combat the in-your-face realities of capitalism or one of the many other -isms. 

While charitable foundations rely heavily on donations to keep the lights on, it’s not the only way to help. This National Nonprofit Day, you can celebrate by volunteering. Helping Hands is very much the foundation and walls of a nonprofit. If that’s not an option, research ways you can support your community. Perhaps shop at local businesses that partner with nonprofit organizations. Or start the project that gets you out and about, thinking of the community’s needs.

And It’s Working Well In Many Ways 

Many of us find fulfilment in volunteering or donating. In fact, according to Define Financial, Americans gave a record $471 billion to charities in 2020 despite the COVID pandemic. This shows that even during hard times, Americans want to lend a helping hand.  Sixty per cent of American households give back. That’s a pretty impressive number showing that most Americans understand the importance of paying it forward. 

But There Are Still Challenges

Despite all the good, nonprofits face several challenges today. Creating awareness and standing out is one of them. Even with social media allowing any organization access to millions, getting the traction needed to differentiate from others can be a hurdle. Because government funding is limited, nonprofits must find new and creative ways to fundraise. This takes a lot of effort and dedicated talent that can be hard to come by.  

We encourage you to think about how you can help a nonprofit overcome some of these challenges! And let us know in the comments what that would look like for you.