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Charitable donations in Manitoba dwindling amid COVID-19: survey

Click to play video 'Charitable spending down' Charitable spending down
Many rely on charities to get them through hard times, but they also rely on us. As Marney Blunt reports, a new poll shows now is a time when they need us more than ever.

A new survey says the effect the COVID-19 pandemic is having on charities is dire.

The survey, conducted by the Angus Reid Insititute, shows that nearly 40 per cent of Canadians who have donated to at least one charity in the past two years say they’re giving less since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

In 2018, Canadians donated $10 billion to charitable organizations. The new poll indicates that this decrease represents hundreds of millions in lost dollars for these organizations, potentially even into the billions.

It also stated that the recent WE Charity scandal may also be a contributing factor, with some respondents saying the scandal has affected the way they feel about donating to charity overall.

Read more: Charities struggling to survive amid coronavirus, say federal support needed

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“We’ve had to re-jig a lot of our fundraising efforts,” Main Street Project director of supportive and transitional housing Adrienne Dudek said during a press conference Thursday.

“I think one of the shining stars in the pandemic is that there has been a lot of donors who have reached out. I think as much as it’s become financially hard for others who we would normally go to for those sources, I think there’s a lot of other people who have stepped up to the plate.”

At Habitat for Humanity Manitoba, they’ve had to cancel or downsize several events.

“Overall, our event revenue is probably off by $300,000 dollars this year,” Habitat for Humanity CEO Sandy Hopkins told Global News.

Read more: ‘It’s critical’: More than 200 charities call on feds for funding amid COVID-19

The non-profit organization has also had to change their operational capacity.

“Certainly the impact is significant,” Hopkins said. “We were planning to start 23 homes this year, we’re only starting 16. So that reduction of seven homes means a reduction in expenditures in the community of more than $1 million.”

It’s also presenting a challenge during a critical time of year for fundraising.

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“We’re in a key time, for all of us,” Siloam Mission CEO Jim Bell said. “As we enter Thanksgiving season, which isn’t too far away, Christmas, those are big times of the year for Siloam (and) for other non-profit organizations throughout our country and throughout our community.”

“We will continue to monitor and plan to the best of our abilities.”