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The Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF), which supports philanthropy, nonprofits, and community leadership in Essex County, is committed to improving Essex County residents’ quality of life. After Massachusetts residents were asked to keep their distance from each other this weekend, ECCF has provided several crucial tips for supporting local nonprofits, businesses, and creative industries.

Take a look at the following note from Beth Francis, ECCF’s President and CEO.

Nonprofits will struggle to provide front-line support to our most vulnerable communities. Small businesses and our creative industries depend on consumer foot traffic and cannot remain sustainable with empty storefronts and venues. We need to support them now.

Your help is crucial. If you are able, consider the simple ways you can make a significant difference listed below.

How to Support Social Service Nonprofits

Social service organizations working directly with our most insecure communities need the most support right now. You can help from a distance.

1.    Donate to operations: The most flexible kind of support allows organizations to use contributions where needed most.

2.    Donate food and supplies to food pantries: Shelves are bare and the need continues to rise.

3.    Volunteer: Help is still needed and much can be done remotely.

Search ECCF’s Nonprofit Directory to connect with local organizations providing food, shelter, and clothing to our neighbors in need.

How to Support Small Businesses

Social distancing is critical to mitigate the spread of the virus, but less foot traffic could devastate small businesses. But you can continue to support them remotely.

1.    Shop locally, online: Local small and family-owned businesses have less support and reserves to withstand an economic crisis and more local businesses than ever before are offering online options.

2.    Buy gift cards: Gift cards bring immediate revenue into a business and can be used now or saved for later.

3.    Order in: More restaurants than ever are offering delivery options. Tip a little more than usual if you are able.

How to Support Artists and Creative Industries

Just like small businesses, these industries rely on connectivity to make a living. Continue to support them at a social distance.

1.    Shop online: Many artists and artisans have online stores.

2.    Become a member: Membership, when offered, is a sustainable revenue stream.

3.    Pre-purchase tickets to future events: This immediate revenue could encourage future programming and help prevent layoffs.

4.    Consider declining a refund for cancelled events: Convert your refund into a donation if possible.

Read more about how you can continue to support those that work in creative industries from our friends at the Creative Collective.

All nonprofits, no matter the cause, will be impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Most have cancelled fundraising events and activities; all will incur significantly increased expenses to serve the rising need.

If you usually give at the end of the year, or wait for a particular event, consider giving now instead. And if you have the ability, consider giving more than usual.