While volunteer programs and events may be cancelled, there are still plenty of ways you can offer support and give back.
Every 20 minutes, the family of a sick child arrives on the doorstep of one of Canada’s 15 Ronald McDonald Houses, according to the RMHC website. Since 1981, the organization has been offering lodging, meals and emotional support to families enduring pediatric hospitalizations.
For RMHC and other Canadian charities, adapting to the economic and societal shifts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging. Despite the challenges, many continue to adapt to what RMHC CEO Cathy Loblaw calls “a new world order.”
“We really had to stop, pause, think and figure out how to respond to the community needs, the hospital needs and the family needs simultaneously,” she says.
A 2020 survey by Imagine Canada measuring the impact of Coronavirus shows that 49 percent of organizations in the charity sector reported difficulty engaging volunteers, and 73 percent reported a drop in donations following the onset of the pandemic. Loblaw describes the arrival of COVID-19 as a time of rapid change and rapid growth at RMHC.
As Canadian charities continue to adapt to the changing world, so, too, can their supporters. There are several ways you can still contribute to your favorite charity, from a distance.
Fundraising and Public Safety
According to Imagine Canada, charities’ events-based fundraising revenue has dropped 72 percent in response to the pandemic.
“The largest part of our operating budget and funding comes from fundraising events,” says Loblaw, noting that such RMHC events have been cancelled in the interest of public safety.
While charity golf tournaments and events might be on hold, many other fundraising efforts have gone virtual. From auctions to black tie affairs, organizers and participants can stay connected online and contribute to a worthy cause.
Donating Where Possible
Volunteer-driven groups like RMHC may not be able to resume in-person programs anytime soon, but personal donations — even small contributions — can make a difference right now. Several charities accept financial gifts directly online, and if you’re an RBC cardholder you can choose to donate your rewards points to a group in need.
Creating Awareness Still Helps
Loblaw acknowledges that with many Canadians feeling the financial effects of the pandemic, monetary contributions might not be possible; creating awareness, however, may be. Sharing social campaigns, such as RMHC’s #givingtuesday initiative — a fundraising effort honoring the 387,000 families the organization has served since its inception — can be an effective, cost-free way to broaden the reach of your favorite organization.
Whether through leveraging marketing channels, encouraging employee donations, sponsoring or participating in a virtual event, or collecting wish-list items for local organizations, giving back together may strengthen your team and your community. Loblaw points to RMHC’s “deeply embedded partners like RBC Insurance” as critical sources of support.
We’re all adapting to new ways of doing things these days, including our charitable giving. If you are looking to support a charity or foundation that’s close to your heart, start by going to their website to find out how you can donate, or support through a new digital experience.
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