COVID-19 Threatens to Devastate Canada’s Charities

 In Events, Non-profit

COVID-19 has had devastating effects on virtually all facets of our lives, but one particularly hard hit group is charities and non-profits. Normally the ones doing the helping, the charity and non-profit sectors across the country have been relying on wage subsidies and funding from the federal government to help navigate through these dark times. Unfortunately, more help is needed to avoid the potential decimation of thousands of wonderful charities and non-profits that help shape our communities.

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There are over 170,000 charitable and non-profit organizations throughout Canada. Of those, 85,000 are registered charities, meaning they are recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency. The non-profit and charitable sector in Canada contributes a rough average of 8.1% of the total Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is a higher percentage than the retail trade industry and close to the value-added by the mining, oil and gas extraction industry!

Besides adding to the GDP, the charitable and non-profit sector employs close to two million Canadians and has over 13 million people who volunteer for charities and non-profits. According to Statistics Canada, data from 2010 showed that 47% of Canadians aged 15 and older did some form of volunteering and that almost 2.07 billion hours were devoted to volunteering. That’s equivalent to just under 1.1 million full-time jobs!

Little Assistance from the Government

It’s a common misconception that most charities receive funding from federal, provincial or municipal governments. This is not typically the case. Charities and non-profits are funded mainly by various sources, including: earned income from the sale of products or services, corporate donors, individual donations and foundations grants. Although some organizations receive some government funding, it’s normally not enough to cover basic operational costs.

If a charity or non-profit is fortunate enough to sign on with a few corporate partners, it can have a positive effect on both parties. Fundraising events are another vital component of charities and non-profit groups. These events raise funds to cover operational costs, and also encourage communities to band together and offer support for their neighbours.

What COVID Has Done to Charities and Non-profits

We won’t have the full picture of the effect that COVID has had on the charity and non-profit sector until they have all filed their T3010s and all the data has been collected, which probably won’t be until early 2022. But we can look at some of their filings from 2019 and 2020 from August to December year-end. A few things to consider. This data from Statistics Canada only represents 1676 of 86,000 charities and non-profits, but still, here is the information that was collected:

  • Non-receipted fundraising down 36% due to the cancellation of fundraising activities and gala dinners
  • Sales of goods down 7%
  • Total revenue down 8%

Again, these numbers don’t fully reflect the impact that COVID has had, but it’s a peek into what the future may hold for the sector.

How Can You Help?

You can help make a difference! Donate what you can to your favourite charities and non-profits. If you represent an organization, ask the PhotoWorks team how our photo sponsorship program can engage your guests while increasing your online presence and social reach. Stay strong – we’re all in this together.

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