With the community’s continued support, we can come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever before, says Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation.

With the community’s continued support, we can come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever before, says Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation.

Non-profit sector at serious risk of Unraveling, new research reveals

While we have reason to be hopeful as we begin year 2 of the global pandemic, new research suggests many local non-profits may not survive without community support.

Back in spring 2020, the No Immunity report showed 15 to 19 per cent of non-profits faced closure and 23 per cent felt they may not last more than more than six months.

Over the last year, that percentage has since grown significantly – a direct result of the impacts of COVID-19, according to a follow-up survey completed by more than 900 non-profits across the province.

The new Unraveling report indicates that today, 48 per cent of non-profits face closure, with 20 per cent of non-profits reporting a likelihood of having to shut down within 12 months.

Arts organizations, sports and religious groups, and organizations who serve racialized communities report the most concern for shutdown, according to the report from Vantage Point and the Victoria and Vancouver Foundations.

Key findings include:

  • 64 per cent of organizations report a decreased ability to deliver programs, services and activities.
  • 71 per cent of organizations, especially smaller organizations, are expecting a budget shortfall in 2021
  • 59 per cent of organizations report a drop in volunteer involvement – decreases that have hit arts and culture and sport/recreation the hardest.

“While some of the darkest days of the pandemic are behind us, this report demonstrates we’re not in the clear quite yet,” says Sandra Richardson, CEO of the Victoria Foundation. “What gives me great hope, however, is how throughout this pandemic, people and organizations have come together to support the sector in ways we could have never imagined. We have risen to the occasion. Now we need to continue on in this spirit to come out of this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever before.”

The Victoria Foundation, like others across British Columbia, were able to mobilize donors and partners to get emergency funding into communities across the province when it was urgently needed. The Foundation continues to collect and distribute funds through its Community Recovery Program and Community Action Funds.

And for many organizations, finding ways to innovate and adapt has helped reduce the impact of the required shut-downs.

However, as the Unraveling report makes clear, innovations like these can only go so far without fundraisers, live performances and other revenue-generating events – and community support.

“After decades of focusing our resources on direct delivery of services, on the art and artists, on the needs of those we exist to serve, our capacity to be resilient and meet the increased demand from communities is unraveling,” says Alison Brewin, Executive Director of Vantage Point, a non-profit that supports other non-profits through training and consulting in governance, leadership, planning, and human resources. “Non-profits and charities across BC are digging deep. And, not surprisingly, this report shows us that sector is more worried about the what COVID-19 has meant for those we serve than we are for ourselves. It highlights our optimism, capacity, and resilience. But we can’t keep doing it without support.”

To learn how you can support our community’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, visit victoriafoundation.bc.ca

Philanthropy