To all my family and friends who are in a panic….please calm down.
March 21, 2020 The corona virus has killed 793 people in one day in Italy. In the United States California, New York, Illinois governors have ordered residents to remain in their homes except for essential employees and businesses. Most expect other States to do the same. Large population city mayors have issued similar directives.
Our economy is in havoc. The stock market has lost 35% in the past three weeks. People are being asked to work from home. Schools are shut down. Restaurants and bars closed. Many people who live from pay check to pay check are losing their jobs. These are tough times. Yet, if we all do what we are being asked to do by limiting exposure to other people our country will survive. This major catastrophic ordeal will pass in two weeks, four weeks, two months, who knows when, but, be certain, it will pass.
Here’s a quick look at history…
While economic and market statistics are ever changing, history is the best guide we have to inform and educate ourselves during uncertain times. Whether it is the Great Depression, World War II, Vietnam, the ‘70s malaise, the 1987 recession, the bursting tech bubble, catastrophic events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks, or the most recent housing foreclosure crisis and severe recession, media mania would have you believe that all is lost. When, in fact, in every case, we not only survived these catastrophic events we came out stronger and healthier as a nation despite them. We will prevail once again.
Consider this: In a December 1984 Time Magazine cover story, “Banking Takes a Beating” detailed the fallout from deregulation of banks. “Bankers now face their most strenuous survival since the Great Depression,” wrote the authors. “Because of poor management, overzealous lending and some bad luck, commercial bank profits have been battered.” As Mark Twain once observed, “History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”
Then came “The Crash” on October 19, 1987. Time Magazine’s cover story was titled “Panic Grips the Globe.” On Black Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 22.6% in one day. Within days of the crash, however, the Dow had recovered almost half its losses. The year ended on a positive note, with an annual 2.3 percent return.
As for fundraising specifically, what happens in times of crisis? Once again, let’s look at history. Past trends help us understand what may occur the remainder in the future.
One important source for understanding the relationships among giving, the economy and crisis is The Chronicle of Philanthropy. In a recent article, this respected publication highlights 13 major events that have had a serious impact on the economy since 1940. All of these, it would appear, were more catastrophic than our present recession. In each case, the U.S. stock market generally recovered within a year to eighteen months. While full recovery make take longer this time we are already on the mend.
This is a time to remind ourselves that we live in a land of enormous wealth and extraordinary opportunity. We can believe the newspaper headlines and television hype claiming that greed has crippled our economy. Or, you can look at the facts
- our markets have not ceased to function;
- our economy has not collapsed;
- commerce still continues for all essential goods and services;
- more than 90% of Americans are employed;
- most companies are still operating aggressively; and
- most non-profit organizations are continuing their fundraising plans
- many non-profit organizations will exceed their goals this year
And, by the way, many more American will not get COVID-19 than those who will get it. Of those who do get the virus 97% will recover.
Philanthropist John Templeton, when asked about the economy, said “No one should feel so conceited as to know the answer.” So, we will make no effort to predict the economic conditions for 2020 and beyond we do believe now is the time to strengthen our resolve, to be motivated by our purpose, and to be excited by the many important projects that we have the good fortune to be engaged.
Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth
who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience
and just plain love for one another – Erma Bombeck
What don’t you spend some idol time thinking about what you have rather than what you have lost. Consider how you can help someone else who is far more unfortunate that you are. Use your talent and expertise to help someone other than yourself.