The collapse of the gala: Can charities cope without big fundraisers?

Traditional galas and dinners are severely constrained by public health protocols, but charities are still finding ways to gather supporters and raise money

Why It Matters

Fundraisers are among the most important sources of revenue for Canadian non-profits — 40 percent of them rely on events for revenue. The COVID-19 pandemic has put many of these events to an end, cutting off a vital source of revenue to non-profits as demand for their services grows.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Camrose Open Door found itself scrambling to stay afloat. 

The central Alberta youth non-profit found itself struggling to bring in donations amid a rising caseload. According to Imagine Canada, it lost 75 percent of its public donor funding in just two months. Jessica Hutton, Open Door’s executive director, says a major foundation that supported them stopped giving. A cancelled charity golf tournament set Open Door back roughly $25,000.

Hutton says Open Door managed to stay afloat through a series of smaller grants and provincial government support – in fact, they’ve managed to double their staffing to accommodate the Facebook Live group sessions that have replaced their in-person group sessions. But much of their new-found funding is short-term. The provincia

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