Restaurant thrives by teaming up with nonprofit

An organization’s ability to turn on a dime and creatively adapt to changes in circumstances is critical these days. A New Jersey nonprofit called Be Awesome to Somebody demonstrated this during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The organization, which usually supports international humanitarian work, teamed up with a local boutique ramen restaurant to support first responders and health care workers. They launched two temporary, nonprofit pop-ups selling takeout, delivery pizza and Thai rotisserie chicken at discounted prices. (Ramen, it seems, isn’t a great candidate for portable meals.)

Customers can add a contribution to their bill to pay for a half-price donated meal for first responders or someone in need. Profits are used to provide more meals. The project also has allowed the restaurant to bring back some employees who had been laid off when it closed.

Pandemic concern boosts NFP worker interest in unions

An article in Nonprofit Quarterly reports that the COVID-19 pandemic and related uncertainties in the workplace have “created a sense of urgency around workers’ involvement in decisions about organizational directions and employee benefits.” This, in turn, has led to greater interest in unionizing.

According to the article, union membership at nonprofits historically has been quite low — an estimated 1% to 3% of nonprofit workers over the past decade. But the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union, for example, reported in May that it was receiving an average of one lead per day for potential bargaining units and the number of locations where it works had increased by 35% in less than a month. This might be a heads-up for some nonprofits to review their pandemic-era policies and benefits.

U.S. giving falls to historic lows

The majority of respondents (66%) said they didn’t plan to change the amount they contribute to charity in the coming year, and 25% said they plan to increase the amount. As Gallup notes, though, the duration and severity of the COVID-19-related economic downturn will be a critical factor in whether Americans are able to fulfill those plans.