The Great Canadian Giving Challenge

According to the Canada Helps 2023 Giving Report, more Canadians need the services of charitable organizations — but fewer are donating.

According to the report, which highlights “insights and giving trends currently challenging Canada’s charitable sector as it struggles to keep pace with rising inflation,” the percentage Canadians give is down five per cent over the past decade. Moreover, two in 10 Canadians expect to use or are already using charitable services in the next six months to meet their basic needs.

That has led to 40.3 per cent of charities seeing a lasting increase in demand since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and 57.3 per cent of charities cannot meet the current level of demand.

In addition, the report, which was completed by 2,948 charity professionals representing 2,680 unique charities in Canada, indicates 31.5 per cent of charities raised fewer funds in 2022.

According to the Canada Helps 2023 Giving Report, more Canadians need the services of charitable organizations — but fewer are donating.

According to the report, which highlights “insights and giving trends currently challenging Canada’s charitable sector as it struggles to keep pace with rising inflation,” the percentage Canadians give is down five per cent over the past decade. Moreover, two in 10 Canadians expect to use or are already using charitable services in the next six months to meet their basic needs.

That has led to 40.3 per cent of charities seeing a lasting increase in demand since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and 57.3 per cent of charities cannot meet the current level of demand.

In addition, the report, which was completed by 2,948 charity professionals representing 2,680 unique charities in Canada, indicates 31.5 per cent of charities raised fewer funds in 2022.

That’s something that certainly holds true for Flamborough charities.

To help encourage donations, Canada Helps is holding its annual Great Canadian Giving Challenge. The initiative beseeches donors to give to their favourite charity in June — and each dollar donated gives the charity a chance to win $20,000.

Flamborough Connects executive director Colleen Stinson said many local charities that have an online donation page use Canada Helps, including Flamborough Connects.

Stinson said the challenge is meant to encourage people to give because June tends to be a month when few people remember to donate to charities. This year especially, Stinson said, charities are feeling the pinch.

“Demand is up, costs are up, donations are down,” Stinson said. “People don’t think about donating through the summer months; people think about donating related to the holiday calendar.

“As people are tightening up, donations are something that people do less of.”

For Flamborough Connects, Stinson said donations help run all of its programs, including seniors education sessions, Flamborough Drives, Flamborough Shops and the volunteer income tax program.

Donations, she said, are “absolutely vital.”

Amanda DeVries, executive director of Eagles Nest Association of Waterdown, said the organization is facing similar challenges. Regular donors have decreased either the amount they donate or the frequency.

With an increase in demand for services, “we’re not just trying to maintain, but we’re trying to respond to that need,” she said. “It’s not like we need the same amount of funds, we still need more funds.”

Donations to Eagles Nest support the organization’s programming and the biggest need is individual and family counselling, with a focus on increasing the number of therapy hours per week.

The Canada Helps initiative, said DeVries, is a fun way to get people involved in donating — and to recognize that every dollar counts.

Flamborough Food Bank managing director Jim Leamen said he anticipates a decrease in donations this year.

“We’re in a very tough economic situation, with high prices and high rents, interest rates rising,” he said. “It’s a tough environment for everyone.”

However, Leamen said he certainly hopes donations don’t decrease, as the current demand means financial support is needed more than ever. The food bank saw 167 families visit over the past week — one of the highest non-holiday weeks on record.

Leamen added Canada Helps is an awesome partner for all charities, including the food bank, which has all online donations go through Canada Helps. The $20,000 Great Canadian Giving Challenge prize would mean “more food.”

“Weathering the storm to try and help people get through this bizarre period we’re in,” as he put it.

Similarly, at Animal Adoptions of Flamborough, president Pam Hesketh said they have seen monetary donations decrease, while costs have risen.

“People just don’t have the extras that they used to have,” she said.

Hesketh said the need, in terms of animals at the shelter, has increased as they are “pretty much” at capacity with more than 60 cats and five dogs in its care.

The Great Canadian Giving Challenge — and the possibility of winning $20,000  for the charity — does generally result in an increase in donations through Canada Helps in June.

She said the $20,000 would be great and would help cover ongoing expenses, such as vet bills.

“Our vet bills are high every month because we have a lot of cats — and a lot of cats and dogs come in needing dental (care) or other medical needs,” she said.

A big-ticket item the shelter would use the winnings for is to replace some of the windows in the shelter with windows that open in a safe manner to improve airflow.

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163 Dundas Street East Waterdown, Ontario Mailing address: P.O. Box 240, L0R 2H0 admin@flamboroughconnects.ca 905.689.7880 1.800.297.3427

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