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How are Central Florida nonprofits doing on Giving Tuesday?

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Today is Giving Tuesday, a day when many people focus on kindness and generosity.

So this is a good time for a conversation with Mark Brewer, president and CEO of the Central Florida Foundation.

WMFE’s Joe Byrnes spoke with him about how the nonprofits of Central Florida are doing.

WMFE: Mark, let’s dive right in. How are central Florida nonprofits doing? Are they getting the fundraising dollars that they need?

BREWER: That’s a mixed question, Joe. The reality is that many central Florida nonprofits who are working directly in COVID-19-related areas have done very well over the last two years. Not only have they gotten more contributions, but they’ve gotten money from the public sector, as well. The bad news is nonprofits that don’t deal directly with issues related to COVID have suffered a bit. So that would be the arts nonprofits. It would be education nonprofits and certainly nonprofits that operate in human services not connected to COVID-19.

WMFE: The pandemic has changed the way we do things, right? Has it changed the way that people donate?

BREWER: Absolutely. In fact, 2020 and 2021 have been dramatically different years — 2020 was a down step for almost all donors for a variety of reasons. So if you consider for a minute a continuum where retail philanthropy is on your right and strategic philanthropy is on your left, you’ve got people who in the retail space are giving when they’re asked, they’re going to events, they’re participating in one-on-one check writing gifts to people. A lot of that declined dramatically in 2020.

At the other end of that continuum, strategic philanthropy actually accelerated a bit in 2020. These are people who are making, in some cases, larger gifts but more strategic gifts around strategic social change. They’re trying to solve problems. Then 2021 comes around and everything goes up.

And I would just add that 2022 looks like it’s going to be a very successful year for nonprofits with perhaps another 5% increase nationally in giving.

WMFE: Are we seeing that same pattern in Central Florida?

BREWER: Yes. And so we look remarkably similar to the rest of the country. The issue here is that we are far more focused on one-to-one giving an event and giving here, thus our return to successful giving will be a little longer.

WMFE: I’m under the impression that was many younger givers there’s a strong personal attachment to a cause are an issue.

BREWER: I think that’s true, Joe. In fact, that data kind of indicates that the younger generations, which would be Gen Z and, in this case, millennials are are far more focused on social change. So it’s not just about the cause or the mission. Where older generations were more about contributing, donating, helping doing what they could for the greater good, younger generations are far more focused on, How can I make a difference here? What what are we doing that’s going to change the course of the problem?

WMFE: How can people find the nonprofit that addresses their passion while making sure their money is well spent?

BREWER: You know, many people, Joe, over their lifetimes kind of gravitate to a group of nonprofits that are doing things and they trust them. And so that’s certainly a good thing to do. At the Central Florida Foundation website, you can actually look at Nonprofits Search. More and more people are using that as a resource to identify who’s doing the work in an area I care about. And then, number two, can I actually transparently see through them and understand what it is they’re accomplishing?

Find a link to the Nonprofits Search at cffound.org.

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Joe Byrnes

About Joe Byrnes


Joe Byrnes came to WMFE/WMFV from the Ocala Star-Banner and The Gainesville Sun, where he worked as a reporter and editor for several years. Joe graduated from Loyola University in New Orleans and turned to journalism after teaching. He enjoys freshwater fishing and family gatherings.