“Totally unethical” charity wage disparities compound effects of inflation, pandemic

The average salary of an individual working at a community non-profit is more than $18,000 less than someone working in the overall economy

Why It Matters

Non-profits need staff to deliver programs, but without adequate funding they struggle to recruit and retain employees. Future funding models must take the full cost of doing business into account — and that means fairly compensating frontline workers.

Photo: Luis Villasmil

This story is part of a special report on the effects of inflation on social purpose organizations and the communities they serve. Stay tuned for more reporting on this.

On a quiet Tuesday in November 2022, representatives from non-profits across Calgary gather for a press conference in the hopes of shedding light on the dire financial situation facing charities in that city.

Karen Ball, CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, tells those assembled that after two years of attempting to “do more with less” non-profits are in crisis.

“Between the pandemic, rising inflation and now, a looming recession, this essential sector has been dealt blow after blow,” Ball says. “Staff are suffering. The people we serve are not getting the help they need. Drowning people can’t save drowning people.”

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