What a year 2020 has been. Since mid-March, we’ve seen major disruption across virtually every facet of Canadian society as the coronavirus pandemic took hold. The charitable sector, as a whole, witnessed an immediate decline in donations even as their programs and services were relied on more heavily. Then came the lockdowns that curbed non-profits’ ability to fundraise through live events—everything from bingo nights to golf tournaments—that are so many organizations’ funding lifeblood. This holiday season, many philanthropists are taking stock and planning for the year to come.
The group Charity Intelligence is estimating that Canadians may donate 37 per cent less to charities this year than in 2019. That figure corresponds to other projections of a significant annual decline in money flowing to the sector, which is the continuation of an ongoing trend in Canada. Here at Canada Gives, however, our donors with established Foundation accounts are not only bucking that trend, but setting new benchmarks for generosity and philanthropic impact.
Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, as we’ve noted in past blogs, Foundation clients like ours have stepped up to help charitable organizations in desperate need of support. With their strategic focus and a long term dedication to the NFP sector already in place, it has made a huge difference. Consider this: Grants from Canada Gives Foundation accounts increased by 122 per cent year-over-year between March and October of this year. Rather than retrench, our donors dug deeper and donated more when charities needed it most.
Much of that support has been targeted towards worthy causes and services such as healthcare providers and food banks, as well as many lesser-known (but equally important) organizations. For example, we’ve seen some of our Foundation clients offer gifts to non-profits such as Sky’s the Limit Youth Organization, which provides laptops and other online supports to children from lower-income households. Their work became essential when students suddenly found themselves learning from home at the peak of the crisis after schools were temporarily closed. In that case, a Canada Gives Foundation account holder provided a transformative $100,000 grant to help Sky’s the Limit meet the steep and sudden increase in demand for its services. Still, others have offered additional support to organizations that help seniors in need, not to mention hospitals and charities battling on the frontlines of this unprecedented pandemic.
In case you haven’t had a chance to review it, our Annual Report Impact Report 2019 tells coast-to-coast stories of Canada Gives donor clients’ generosity at work.
But at this point, we’d like to take the opportunity to offer our thanks to our Foundation clients for their ongoing dedication to philanthropy. Your commitment to supporting worthy causes both at home and abroad is life-changing for so many people. This holiday season, as we raise a glass and reflect on one of the most challenging years we’ve faced in a generation—and perhaps wish it a quick farewell at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, with the promise of a better year ahead—know that you and your family have gone above and beyond to make the world around you a brighter place.
Of course, there’s still much work to be done. A COVID-19 vaccine may be arriving to Canada sometime in the New Year, but the virus’ lingering effects will be felt for years to come. Our economy is facing an uphill climb to stabilize and return to a robust level of growth. Many non-profit organizations will continue to struggle—more so if a protracted recession forces Canadians to further curtail their charitable giving. That’s why now is the time to keep rallying around the NFP sector and continue supporting the charitable organizations that matter most to you and yours.
As a Canada Gives Foundation account donor, you’re well-positioned to keep creating meaningful change. As many philanthropists came to understand as the shocking scope of the pandemic set in, a Foundation account allows donors to pivot and make grants quickly and in a highly targeted way. Even if you didn’t have new money to contribute to your Foundation account, existing funds could be distributed at the click of a button or a call to the Canada Gives Client Services team. That flexibility and ability to adapt on short notice can spell the difference between a non-profit’s collapse or survival, along with the continuation of programs that benefit so many people.
So, as we settle in for a festive season that will be remembered for social distancing and limited engagements, know that our team is very thankful for your ongoing generosity. It means the world to us and the wide range of non-profits that are the recipients of your unwavering kindness.
The Canada Gives Team