All year, Washington’s nonprofit community does good work beyond measure: supporting people, animals and the environment, celebrating the arts, advancing important causes and making communities stronger.

For those who can, it’s time to help the helpers by participating in the annual GiveBIG Washington online donation drive on May 5-6.

The COVID-19 pandemic has lent new urgency to this year’s event. As unemployment and uncertainty skyrockets, the community need for basics like food and shelter has been soaring. At the same time, many nonprofits are struggling with revenue shortfalls as social distancing put the kibosh on performances, activities and spring fundraisers. People who haven’t suffered economically are looking for ways to help.

GiveBIG Washington connects potential donors and volunteers with 1,600 tax-exempt organizations serving and headquartered in Washington. Donations to many are tax deductible. The web site — — offers a glimpse into the broad diversity of the state’s nonprofit sector, with groups providing necessities like food and shelter; promoting urban green space; advancing education, arts and culture; or ending wrongful convictions and supporting victims of crime.

GiveBIG offers something for all, whether their passion is film or history; they feel called to support and empower specific communities; to reduce gun violence or increase access to quality, affordable health care — or to support any number of other worthy causes. Donors can find nonprofits by name or seek new giving opportunities by keyword or ZIP code search.

Last year’s drive raised $7 million in donations through the platform, a number that reached $12.4 million with matching gifts and in-kind donations, said Nancy Long, executive director of 501 Commons, which produces the event. Around 20% of more than 21,700 donors were first-time givers. That’s important because it can be expensive for nonprofits to reach new donors. The minimum donation is $10. Donors can also sign up or pledge to volunteer.

The spring shutdown has hit nonprofits especially hard, Long said. Most are small, economically fragile operations with meager cash reserves. This week offers a chance to support this critical segment of the community.

Even modest donations make a difference. Working together, we give big.