20% of Alberta non-profit groups in danger of shuttering due to pandemic

·1 min read

Alberta's non-profit sector is struggling as the pandemic continues to get in the way of crucial fundraising activities.

Karen Ball, the interim president of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, says out of the 26,000 non-profit groups in the province, 20 per cent could be forced to shut down.

The numbers are being based on comparable predictions in Ontario and B.C along with Alberta's soft economy.

Ball says the pandemic is causing a domino effect of challenges.

"So increased demand, less ability to meet that demand, things like volunteers, which the sector relies on, are obviously a challenge in this environment. It's hard to physically get together," she said.

"Many volunteers are over the age of 55 and so are not willing to be as active as volunteers for health reasons at this time during the pandemic, so all those things add up."

Calgary Reads CEO Steacy Pinney says her organization has taken a hard financial hit.

The annual CBC Calgary Reads book sale — which would have brought in more than $300,000 — was cancelled.

And a golf tournament that didn't go ahead this summer would have raised about half a million dollars.

"We're seeing [a loss of] at least a million dollars of revenue and our operating budget is only a million and a half — so you can imagine what that feels like," she said.

Ball says one of the keys to surviving the pandemic for the not-for-profit sector will be to innovate and adapt to new ways of fundraising.

One way Calgary Reads is attempting to do this is by using its donations to establish a temporary bookstore.