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Jun 6, 2024 | Blog

Report Release:

Under Pressure: 2024 State of BC’s Non-Profit Sector

Vancouver, British Columbia – Vantage Point, together with City of Vancouver, Vancouver Foundation, Vancity Community Foundation, Victoria Foundation, and United Way British Columbia, is proud to release the 2024 State of BC’s Non-Profit Sector Report. 

Our first two reports, No Immunity (2020) and Unravelling (2021), were published during the COVID-19 pandemic, both outlining the pandemic’s impact on non-profits across BC. These reports contributed to key non-profit sector advancements, such as the creation of the 2022 Recovery and Resiliency Fund through a historic $30M investment from the Province of BC for organizations disproportionately affected by the pandemic.   

As the BC context evolved and we entered an endemic stage of the pandemic, the third report Safety Net (2023) focused on providing a snapshot of trends, challenges, opportunities, and successes for non-profits in our province. The findings reflected that there were signs of stabilization, and feelings of hope and motivation within the sector. However, the report also underlined the significant pressures the sector continued to face, and the increased community need for services. 

“There has historically been a lack consistent data for the non-profit sector in BC. Vantage Point’s annual State of the Sector surveys of non-profits across BC, and resulting reports, are starting to demonstrate the needs and opportunities for the sector,” said Vantage Point CEO Zahra Esmail. After the release of the 2023 report, Vantage Point focused its efforts on sharing the data across the province, presenting findings to varied audiences including to government, funders, and non-profits. Many non-profits in BC have used the data from these reports to support grant applications, advocate for additional core and administrative funding support, and educate supporters to better understand the realities of the sector.  

For this year’s State of the Sector Survey, our intention was both to check-in with the non-profit sector around various trends while also probing deeper into the underlying challenges highlighted in the last report.

Findings:

In BC, there are approximately 33,019 non-profit organizations, including community, business, and government non-profits. Together, they represent 360,000 jobs and contributed approximately $30 billion to BC’s economy in 2022. The sector reported experiencing a complexity of feelings by operating in extremely difficult times as well as revealing a sense of being needed now more than ever to promote equitable and thriving communities. As the sector continues to evolve, our report, Under Pressure, provides a snapshot of and insights into the state of the sector in British Columbia through the following two themes: 

Theme 1: Less resilient times

Non-profits in BC continue to combat soaring expenses as costs rise and revenue streams remain fixed. Over the last 12 months, the sector reported all revenue sources to be decreasing, except for revenue from government sources, which has remained stable. More expenses are being incurred on salaries and benefits, programs, services and activities, and general administration, which has resulted in reduced funding available for programming. Moreover, the sector survey also revealed the impact of rising inflation and climate change on operating costs. As charitable donations decline across the country, there is immense pressure on non-profits to reduce programming, diversify funding sources, or close their doors. 

Theme 2: Overburdened

Our findings reveal that the non-profit sector in BC is grappling with skyrocketing demand for services and supports from clients and communities, while its capacity to deliver programs and services has remained the same. Additionally, volunteerism, crucial to the sustainability of non-profits has not recovered from pre-COVID-19 levels within the sector. In responding to increasing community needs, the sector has become overburdened, as evidenced by staff burnout, high staff turnover, and the necessity to offer higher wages and salaries to retain staff, often stretching available funding.

Recommendations

While considering the successes, pressures, and challenges the sector reports experiencing this year, we have made recommendations to all levels of government, funders, and sector stakeholders and partners to address:

  1. Sustainability of the sector workforce
  2. Funding reforms
  3. Nurturing a collaborative ecosystem

“Data is an important part of empowering our sector to start to show up in a stronger way as an important partner to government and resource heavily relied upon by BC communities. Data helps us tell our stories,” said Vantage Point CEO Zahra Esmail. Our commitment remains to provide consistent, high-quality data, crucial to understanding the non-profit sector in BC, and equipping funders, policy makers, and other sector stakeholders with relevant data to make informed decisions and better support the current needs of BC’s non-profit sector.

The Under Pressure: 2024 State of the Sector Report will be used to help BC’s non-profits in their advocacy efforts and to strengthen the sector’s ability to support the communities we serve. The full report and a complimentary media kit are available to download here.

Media Contacts:

Rachelle Smalldon, Operations and Communications Manager rsmalldon@thevantagepoint.ca

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