British Columbians looking to make a charitable donation and get a deduction on their 2020 tax return have until midnight New Year’s Eve to open their wallets.
A number of B.C. charities say the pandemic has been a double-challenge, reducing their ability to raise funds while increasing the need for their services.
“Children with disabilities, including learning disabilities, have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, both in terms of their learning disruptions and their mental health,” Rachel Forbes with the Learning Disability Society told Global News, Thursday.
B.C. charities suffer under COVID pandemic
Forbes’ organization has pivoted to online fundraising, and she said donors have been generous.
But the need in 2020 is greater than it’s ever been, she said.
“Prior to the pandemic about 50 per cent of our families would be on our internal bursary support fund,” she said.
“We’re now looking at upwards of 85 per cent, and the families that are on it need additional support than they did before.”
B.C.’s Firefighters’ Burn Fund is also hustling to make up the estimated $500,000 they raise every year from the Bright Nights Christmas train and lights display at Stanley Park.
That event was put on hold amid a provincial health order banning large gatherings and events issued in November.
“That’s impacted our ability to raise much needed funds that allow us to operate the various programs we do for burn survivors and trauma patients across the province,” burn fund president Gord Ditchburn said.
“Everything from providing wound gauze and dressing to operating the kids camps we do to various prevention programs.”
Jacob O’Connor, vice-president of charity engagement with Canada Helps, said the charity sector represents eight per cent of Canada’s GDP and 10 per cent of its workforce.
Today is last day for charitable donations to be tax deductible
Along with decreased opportunities for fundraising and a spike in demand for services, the country’s charities are also having a hard time attracting volunteers, he said.
He urged British Columbians to consider donating while they can still take advantage of a tax credit for the year.
Charitable donations in B.C. can be eligible for up to a 44 per cent combined federal-provincial credit, depending on how much is donated and what income tax bracket the donor is in, he said.
“(Charities are) in need of serious support. But like we see in other times of crisis, Canadians are generous and they are stepping up to the plate,” he said.
“Find a cause that’s important to you and look for charities that are working in that field.”
Once New Year’s Eve has come and gone, he urged British Columbians to also consider setting up a monthly donation program with their preferred charity, so that organizations aren’t counting on a one-time boost in funding during the holidays.
Back and the Learning Disability Society and the Firefighters’ Burn Fund, organizers have gotten creative in a bid to bring in donations for 2020.
The burn fund is running a 50/50 draw, with a jackpot that as of Thursday was closing in on $500,000 — though tickets are not eligible for a tax credit.
The Learning Disability Society has recruited some big-ticket donors that are matching donations up until midnight on New Year’s Eve.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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