After Outpouring of Donations, Charitable Giving May Suffer

With corporations, foundations, and individuals donating hundreds of millions of dollars to relief and recovery efforts related to the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the New York Post reports that some nonprofit organizations are worried that Americans will be more reluctant to make donations to worthy causes such as hunger and homelessness in the months to come.

Many nonprofits have their biggest fundraising period in November and December, when the holiday spirit typically motivates people to give generously. But the large gifts that have poured into a variety of disaster relief funds and the teetering economy may cause donations this year to fall short of previous levels. In addition, some organizations are canceling fundraising events and making less aggressive appeals to donors in light of Americans' preoccupation with the disaster.

"It is very important to remind people that our ongoing needs, the needs of vulnerable populations in New York, have not disappeared and will not be any less," said Ana Oliviera, executive director of Gay Men's Health Crisis, an AIDS care and advocacy organization. "In fact, they will be aggravated by this."

But others, including Debbie Niederhoffer, director of development at the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, are proceeding cautiously.

"I personally will be disappointed if anybody I know doesn't make a contribution to disaster relief," said Niederhoffer, who will not be pursuing new donors for the time being. "I really do believe that, right now, that's where everybody's priorities should be."

Hannele Rubin. "Other Causes Hurting" New York Post 09/24/2001.