Canadian Charities Are Losing Momentum: Here’s How We Can Help

It’s been a challenging year. One that will have a lasting impact on our country’s charitable sector. To save our charities as part of Canada’s pandemic recovery plan, it’s time that we think differently about how and when we give back.

The pandemic has provided us a unique opportunity to rethink and redirect help where it’s needed most. December 1st is Giving Tuesday, a global movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. This Giving Tuesday is a reminder for individuals and businesses alike to find ways to help where they can. There is no act that is too small. Giving is about being generous with your money, your time, or supporting organizations that are doing good in the world.

Canadian charities are reporting decreasing revenues, with significant layoffs ongoing — and more on the horizon as we enter the second wave. Over six months into the pandemic, we’ve seen charities indicate donations have decreased by nearly 75 percent. This is a significantly greater decline than our country saw during the 2008/2009 recession.

I continue to hear from our charitable partners about how the pandemic has impacted philanthropic initiatives and development work. To save our charities, we must act now, before the damage done is irreversible. High priority populations, such as our Indigenous communities where one in five still do not have access to clean water, are especially vulnerable at this time.

From my perspective, charities around the world should be applauded for doing exceptional work. They have been busy actively reshaping their programs to comply with COVID-19 regulatory frameworks, as they respond to the ongoing pandemic. But despite their best efforts, nearly one in five has suspended or ceased operations in its wake. The demands on charities are increasing and they are responding in new and creative ways.

At our company, we have a continuous giving model that helps to fund clean water projects in an effort to alleviate the global water crisis. Sustainable giving models set a great example of how we can help our charities for the long run. If we all focus on small and sustainable acts of generosity that help people and the planet, we will be able to successfully bounce back from what has proven to be a difficult year for many.

Sustained giving is the subscription model of the charitable sector. While campaigns such as Giving Tuesday succeed in one-off donations, we must develop opportunities for deeper levels of support over time. Our give back model is just one example of an initiative that has made a lasting impact. If you look for them, there are many examples of organizations doing impactful work around the world.

You have the ability to make an impact with your choices everyday. Ask your company to rally around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, donate your time to local charitable efforts, become a monthly donor for an organization you’re passionate about, or support one of the 3,500+ B Corps using business as a force for good this holiday season.

The participation of all Canadians in small, sustainable acts of kindness and generosity will help pave the way when it comes to building a nation-wide culture of empowered philanthropists. Encouraging friends, family and colleagues to share, donate, and advocate for the charitable sector will make all the difference.

Together we can maintain and even strengthen our collective impact by rethinking how we support the people who need it most.

Matt Wittek, Founder and CEO of Fill it Forward is a social entrepreneur on a mission to inspire the world to reuse.