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Drop in holiday charity donations, volunteers due to pandemic despite demand

Last Updated Dec 24, 2020 at 9:02 am PST

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Summary

Demand is high for charities this year, but the pandemic is causing a decline in donations, volunteers

Imagine Canada has found 49 per cent of British Columbians will donate this year instead of 60

Almost half of Canadians believe the federal government needs to provide more support for charities

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The pandemic is taking a toll on how much people are able to give to charities this year, according to research.

Imagine Canada, a group that supports charities, has found 49 per cent of British Columbians plan to donate over the holiday season and seven per cent will volunteer.

In a typical year, about 60 per cent of people in the province would give donations and about a third would volunteer their time to help those in need.

Research shows the COVID-19 health crisis has impacted how much people are able to donate this year. Of the people who plan to give, 36 per cent say it will have to be less. Virus-related financial struggles were the reason 73 per cent of them said they couldn’t donate as much this season.

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Despite less coming in, charities have been busy.

Since the start of the pandemic, B.C. charities have seen a drop of 70 per cent in donations while demand for their services is up 44 per cent.

“The big question facing charities this holiday season is whether they will have capacity to meet spiking demand caused by the pandemic,” says Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO of Imagine Canada. “This will largely depend on support from individual Canadians over the holidays and in the coming months.

“Much also depends on continuing government support. It is vital to the well-being of Canadians that social good organizations have the ability to continue to provide these essential services.”

Almost half of Canadians believe the federal government needs to provide more support for charities hit hard during the pandemic.

It’s in the last six to eight weeks of the year charities usually receive about 40 per cent of their donations.