There appears to be a pandemic generosity effect. In the last edition of this newsletter, I asked people who are financially secure in these uncertain times what ideas they had to help others who are struggling. A days-long cascade of helpful emails followed. Those with means are ready to help those in need, if they haven’t already done so.

These ideas are presented as a kind of brainstorm. If you’re in a position to help out, see if one or two points resonate with you. (Note: There was some overlap in the ideas. The most commonly suggested points are up top.)

  • Continue to pay your cleaning person, dog walker or nanny, even if they can’t come to your home.
  • Buy gift cards from your local businesses – yoga studio, esthetician, restaurants.
  • Support food banks.
  • Generously tip grocery and delivery people.
  • See if your adult children or grandchildren need financial help.
  • Send gift certificates to family members who need a financial lift.
  • Buy tickets to summer arts events to offer support.
  • Pick a charity to donate to or re-commit to your existing charities.
  • Help a high-school grad afford the cost of university or college – summer jobs may be scarce.
  • Press companies that are still open to set up a method for customers to offer direct cash support to front-line workers.
  • Buy a grocery gift card for someone who has lost their job.
  • File your taxes and pay what you owe right away to help keep revenues flowing into governments at time when they have stepped up spending to support the economy (the tax filing deadline has been moved up to June 1 from April 30).
  • Help local artists, musicians or a local theatre company.
  • Donate to a women’s shelter.
  • Prepay your next hair cut to help keep your local hair stylist in business.
  • Check with your employer to see if it offers matching donations to charities like food banks.
  • Tell laid-off family members you will stand by them with financial support.
  • Continue to pay fees for religious organizations, gyms etc., even if they’re closed.
  • Become a meals-on-wheels volunteer.
  • CEOs and upper management – take a pay cut.
  • Donate to a local hospital.
  • Donate to the humane society; don’t forget animals can be affected when their owners are in financial trouble.
  • Offer to mentor younger professionals, business owners and leaders.
  • Donate to a local organization like the Victoria Foundation’s Rapid Relief Fund, which provides community support.
  • Landlords, consider halving your rent for the next two months.
  • Airbnb hosts, consider sharing your space to people in need through the Open Home Program.
  • Support the World Health Organization’s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund, which helps countries respond to the pandemic.

The Globe and Mail, April 1, 2020