April 2 is Arizona Gives Day.
You probably woke to an inbox full of pleas to feed hungry children, find homes for abandoned animals and build shelters for the homeless.
Looking to escape, you went to social media for some light entertainment and cat videos, only to be greeted with stories of victims of sexual abuse, environmental groups concerned about the border wall and schools encouraging your donation.
Walking outside for a bit of fresh Arizona air, your mailbox was stuffed with postcards from nonprofits hoping you had not mailed in your taxes yet, so you would make one last tax-deductible gift to find a cure for breast cancer, keep teens on track and diaper our youngest tots.
All good causes.
Why do nonprofits in our community go through this each year, sending out messages that cause us to roll our eyes as we toss out their pleas that seem to grow more numerous and desperate each year?
The answer is, there is no other choice.
Short of a few lucky friends of philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates, most are left to scramble for our community’s limited pool of wealth. As the CEO of SARSEF, a 64-year-old nonprofit teaching critical thinking to Arizona’s children, I know this pain personally.
I overtax my friends with birthday requests for “just $5” for my nonprofit instead of a present.
I slam their inboxes so hard I am now considered spam.
And I wait too long for someone I consider a friend to care, and discover they don’t, or at least not enough to donate to what is the most precious part of my heart.
But I find consolation in my fellow leaders who are as committed to their cause in our community. They’ve groveled just as low.
Fortunately, unlike most major cities, the nonprofit leaders in Tucson seem to have a unique and special pact. We don’t compete, we don’t tear each other down. We know there is room at the table for all, and we root for each other’s causes.
Because they do all matter greatly.
What may not be apparent to the average person is how most nonprofits live and die by your moment of decision, your spirit of giving, particularly on a day like today. Although some may question the amount of money that goes into these campaigns — fear not.
Those postcards you found in your mailbox? Every one of them was examined to see if even one could be reused.
The stamp? It was most likely put on by a volunteer or board member whose tongue had long gone dry.
That colorful flier? One of the staff with no graphic design experience created it rather than risk the cost of professional help.
We treasure every penny you give.
Because without the constant help of our community, organizations like SARSEF would not exist.
And without organizations like SARSEF, there would be no hope that we might one day eliminate the reasons nonprofits exist in the first place.
There are just not enough resources to go around in our community, our state.
So nonprofits consider it our duty, our life’s passion, to solve the problems, fill in the gaps.
And so we march on. But we need your help.
There are a million reasons to give on Arizona Gives Day – but only one that matters – the one you choose to care about.
Pick one, pick any.
And we’ll be there for you — when you need us most.