While the impacts of the pandemic on families, performing artists and some businesses have been obvious in the past year, a lower-profile affected group is charitable organizations.
That impact was recently quantified through release of a Salt Spring Island Foundation survey of some 40 local charities. Seventy-five per cent of respondents said the pandemic has “significantly” impacted their ability to deliver on their mandate. Almost half said the long-term impact on their organization is unknown.
Several non-profit entities have seen reduced revenue due to bans on public gatherings and fundraising storefronts being restricted. Some have been unable to provide services due to their volunteers not wanting to risk exposure to COVID-19 through public activities.
Many groups’ revenue streams were also choked off by being unable to hold traditional fundraisers since those usually involve people getting together in one spot.
Charities have had to be nimble by coming up with innovative online fundraisers. One of those kicks off on Friday, April 2 when The Circle Salt Spring Education Society (formerly SWOVA) launches Purses With a Purpose, Satchels With a Story. It sees some 75 high-quality new and gently used purses, satchels and handbags auctioned off online until April 11.
Earlier this year the Salt Spring Island Conservancy raised some $28,000 from an online art auction that received great support from both donors and purchasers of art. Islanders Working Against Violence also held a successful fundraiser that saw home delivery of picnic baskets replace its usual Stowell Lake Farm dinner.
Our One Year Later COVID-19 timeline centre spread this week illustrates how islanders and foundations have stepped up to ensure residents are as safe as possible and that many activities can continue despite COVID-19. Everyone’s efforts have been truly impressive.
But as the pandemic continues to affect local charities and the people who are served by them, island residents are urged to keep on supporting non-profit groups so they can survive through the rest of the pandemic and hopefully thrive once again when things return to some kind of normal.