It is quite obvious, no matter who you are or what your occupation is, that you have had to adjust to these strange times. This adjustment(s) may include an array of the aspects of daily life such as working, shopping, socializing, and everything in between. Charities and nonprofits are no different, as they have been thrown a curveball throughout the last few months also, but the reality is that the most giving organizations in our communities are in dire need of assistance. A troubling article posted by ImagineCanada outlined how our charities will lose $9.5 billion and be required to layoff 117,000 workers due to mandated social distancing and our economic downturn. Much more government stimulus is required for our charities to resume their crucial work. Although these numbers are only a part of the problem on the country’s hands when it comes to our economic hardship, our charities combat our most serious and pressing societal issues.
What The Government is Currently Doing
Besides PM Trudeau’s plea for everyday Canadians to show support for our charities stating that, “If you’re fortunate enough to have a little extra to spare right now, I’m asking you to join in and be part of the solution,” not enough is being done. It is troubling when we analyze just how futile the efforts to support charities are on behalf of the federal government. Charities and nonprofits are both eligible for the wage subsidy programs put forth by the federal government but it’s still not enough assistance to solve this problem. The irony of the situation is that our country is in need of our charity more than ever, but many charities can’t accumulate the resources needed to actually be of impactful assistance. With this in mind, Justin Trudeau announced on April 21, 2020 that, “$350 million in emergency funds for community groups and national charities that help seniors, the homeless, and others made more vulnerable by the pandemic.’’ However, these emergency funds are not available to many crucial charities needed at this time as well as post COVID-19. Lots of charities still do not believe this to be enough as, back in late March, an emergency coalition consisting of 200 charities across Canada sent a letter to the PM outlining their needs and why it is worthwhile to assist them. Some key statistics in this letter include how charities make up 8% of Canada’s GDP and employ 10% of working Canadians (1.4 million). The total request is an emergency fund of $10 billion to offset these difficult times and keep our charities healthy and able to make their desired impact.
Of course, the ‘glass half full’ outlook on the situation includes the measures taken by Trudeau to ramp up assistance for the individuals in desperate need during these times as stated above, but more initiatives definitely still need to take place. Other than the bursaries outlined, charities do not have other lifelines which creates an angsty wait to see how the non-profit sector will look after COVID-19.
What you can do
It is quite clear now that the most giving organizations in our country now need our support, we all collectively need to turn our current situation into one that unifies us and strengthens our nation. With that being said, here are a few things that you can do personally to help support the charities in your community and make an impact.
It’s a solution given above by our Prime Minister and also the most direct solution. It’s abundantly clear that the resources charities need have been wiped out significantly and they are in dire need of assistance. Using your wallet will make the largest impact and it does not have to be a hefty donation. If we all collectively put forth money towards our favourite charities then we have a greater chance of saving them and allowing them to continue all of the amazing work that they do. We have heard the saying ‘buy local’ more than once now and it is crucial that we support our small businesses, but I hope the statistics I pulled in the earlier paragraph make you understand just how important the nonprofit sector is to our economy as well. Our best fight against COVID-19 and best bet to implement normalcy, is to give back.
- Social Media Engagement
We have amazing tools to inform others about what is happening in our lives and our communities that have the ability to facilitate so much good. As mentioned above, donations will make a serious impact through everyone donating a little. Social media is just the tool to use to inform. Post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, heck, even Tik Tok to allow your entire network to understand the severity of the situation plaguing the nonprofit sector currently. It might be hard to believe but with a few seconds on the phone you can broadcast these concerns to hundreds or even thousands of people (depending on how social media savvy you are) and thus generate more awareness and donations for the cause.
If you have the ability to put some labour work into assisting charities then that is also an amazing way to give back to and help your community. We should always be looking to see where we can help by volunteering to run charity events and fundraisers. Since our schedules have been cleared quite a bit due to economic closure, now is as great a time as ever to give back (keeping in mind safety protocols). If it is safe to do so, volunteering or even reaching out to local shelters, food banks, and other organizations to offer your assistance is a great way to invest your time and give back. A few examples of work that can be done on your part include hotline services, writing, food delivery, and many more. The only way to find out how you can be of any assistance is by reaching out and offering, which in itself is an incredibly honourable thing to do at this time.
A lot of people need help, from our businesses to our senior citizens and everything in between. This is a scary time, there is a lot up in the air right now and we really have no way to concretely know how our country will look when the dust settles. But you can make a difference using your money, voice, and effort. We can slowly but surely create a country that will come out of this unified and stronger than ever before. It might not seem like it initially, but this burden will fall on all of us and we have the ability right now, to help our fellow Canadian, and save our country.
Here is a link to a number of charities both on the frontlines of COVID-19 and not that need our support. I’ll end with a quote from the late and great John F. Kennedy , “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” How will you help your friends, neighbours, and community?