United Way of Bruce Grey issues urgent year-end appeal

The United Way of Bruce Grey is issuing an urgent appeal for support in the last weeks of 2023.

“While we’ve had wonderful support throughout the year from our donors, the average online donation has dropped from $126 to $106” explains Francesca Dobbyn United Way Executive Director.

The most significant challenge for the United Way is that the Backpack Program shortfall was almost $40,000 compared to a $20,000 shortfall in 2022. “Since 2018 when we had a jump in the number of requests for backpacks, the fundraised dollars have not kept up to that need” Dobbyn adds.

  • Demand for backpacks was up over 400 from 2022 and 500 from 2021.
  • Requests for most utility support are up over the previous year’s data assessment, with a small decline in the number of households seeking support for cordwood.
  • Requests for funding to the United Way focused significantly on food support for 2023, highlighting the need for emergency food support.

In 2022 the United Way absorbed a small deficit for the year without impacting the 2023 programming. Still, the 2023 gap is significantly larger, and cuts to 2024 programming and support are possible if the deficit is not addressed with 2023 fundraised dollars.

“While the community has been incredibly supportive this year, costs have climbed significantly along with significant need and demand for services. We took the unpleasant laying off an administrative staff in the early fall, to try and find savings without affecting front-line programs” Dobbyn offers.

The challenges facing the United Way are not unique and the United Way is listening to other local charities who are also seeing the same challenges. “It’s rare a day goes by that a community partner doesn’t call looking for help from the United Way to meet the needs in their community,” Dobbyn notes.

Please consider donating today. The United Way Bruce Grey needs your help.

Ways to donate:

In-person: Donations can be made in person at 380 9th Street East Owen Sound during regular business hours. Monday to Friday 8:30 to 4:30 closed December 23rd to the 26th. Open the 27th.

Over the phone: Credit Card donations can be called at 519 376 1560 or toll-free at 1-800-794-1728

By mail
United Way of Bruce Grey
380 9th Street East
Owen Sound ON
N4K 1P1


By visiting DonateToday.ca

E-transfers to:  manager@unitedwaybg.com
*Please include your first and last name and your mailing address in the notes section of your transfer*

Information and sources highlighting the sector’s situation:

Charitable giving data from the Ontario Nonprofit Profit Network

A persistent downward trend that began twenty years ago

Recent studies on charitable giving in Canada revealed that despite the time period studied, type of giving, measurement of giving, or jurisdiction, all studies pointed to a downward trend in charitable giving, with no signs of improvement. 

National data:

  • Canada Helps’ The Giving Report 2023 found that the overall percentage of people who donated to charities dropped to 28 per cent from 36 per cent between 2010 and 2022 amongst individual households. 
  • Imagine Canada’s 2022 Holiday Giving Survey,found that the average pre-holiday charitable donation in 2022 was $182, down 20 per cent from the average contribution of $221 during the same period in 2021. 
  • Fraser Institute’s 2022 Generosity in Canada Index tracked this downward trend over twenty years, ultimately finding that the percentage of Canadian tax filers who donated to charity fell to 19.1 per cent in 2020 from 25.5 per cent in 2000. 
  • The most recent survey data from the Charity Insights Canada Project [CICP] showed that as of May 10, 2023, decreases in all forms of revenue were reported by registered charities in Canada, with the steepest decreases seen in event-based fundraising (40% of responses) and individual contributions/donations (31% of responses). In their June 24, 2023 survey, 34% of charities reported decreased donor levels. 

Provincial data:

  • Statistics Canada’s Summary of Charitable Donors from 2017 to 2021, highlights that during the 2020 tax year, Ontario ranked number two when it came to the percentage of tax filer donating to charity (19 per cent) and only number four in terms of percentage of aggregate income donated to charity (0.6%), falling behind Manitoba, British Colunmbia and Alberta. The number of donors in Ontario also showed a consistent downward trend from 2018 to 2021. 
  • ONN’s 2022 sector survey found that two-thirds of nonprofits in Ontario identified inflation and decrease in donations as the most significant factors challenging their organizations. 

This trend is not unique to Ontario or Canada. In the United States, similar trends have been observed where total charitable giving by corporations, foundations, individuals, and bequests dropped 10.5 percent in 2022 compared to 2021. The amount given by individuals also plummeted to a level not seen in the country since before 2016.