Non-profits are indispensable to our lives.
They are our seniors’ care homes, daycare centers, youth programs, libraries, counselling centers, food banks, and much more. Non-profits challenge social injustices and inequalities, and provide community for many who have nowhere else to go.
In Greater Victoria, everyone is regularly enriched by one or more of the 31,000 organizations in B.C.’s charitable sector. Today, they offer society essential programs and services, from opening doors to more affordable housing to providing opportunities for arts and creativity.
They also represent over 8% of the provincial workforce, having become important economic drivers and major employers for anyone looking for a meaningful career in social change.
This is why the Victoria Foundation was thrilled to celebrate the inaugural BC Non-Profit Day on October 30 and for the week that followed—to honour this impactful, life-changing work, and to highlight the sector’s significant contribution to the social and economic fabric of the province. While there will be an official day of recognition going forward, it's important to recognize the non-profit sector every day.
The numbers show it all
Residents in the capital region benefit from over 1,000 charitable organizations. A 2018 report on the region’s civil society impact showed that people in Greater Victoria donate and volunteer at rates above many other communities.
The same report showed that registered charities supported the equivalent of 63,000 full-time jobs, enabling over $300 million dollars in municipal taxes. The total economic activity of these charities was $4 billion dollars.
Provincially in 2021, non-profits, including community, business and government organizations, contributed $28 billion to B.C.’s economy, and represented around 335,000 jobs.
Despite the numbers, the sector’s grassroots action has been overlooked
As the costs of living increase, non-profits are seeing an increased need for their services, but resources are largely staying flat. There’s a need for ongoing support and partnerships with governments, businesses and community members, to make sure the sector can thrive.
That said, the civil society sector still proves every day that it is flexible, adaptable and resilient. A prominent 2023 study on the state of B.C.’s non-profits saw some signs of stabilization, as many survey respondents expressed feelings of hope and motivation in their work.
Non-profit employees and volunteers are determined, future-oriented people, who work hard for a just and equitable society, and many are finding ways to bring in the revenue needed to keep their operations going strong.
More social enterprises and programs have begun springing up to help non-profits navigate any challenges to further their missions. One such program is Thriving Non-Profits, offered by Scale Collaborative, in Victoria.
Research initiatives like the Victoria Foundation’s annual Vital Signs report continue to gain interest, as they highlight the region’s most pressing issues, and offer more opportunities for the community to discuss how to solve these problems head-on.
Celebrate BC Non-Profit Day every year
The charitable needs of the region are growing, and the opportunities for social change and equity are boundless.
B.C.’s non-profits are crucial to economic stability, and to the livelihoods of thousands.
They create opportunities for everyone, from every background and culture, to express themselves, to satisfy their needs, to connect with likeminded people and build thriving communities.
They’re well-positioned to help inform government policies and funding decisions, and they’re a perfect place for those looking to work in jobs that bring profound meaning to their lives.
BC Non-Profit Day is a celebration of the frontline champions, and it recognizes the real people who are making a difference with their time, talent and skills.
Thank you to the partners that made BC Non-Profit Recognition Day a success including:
- The Province of BC
- Vantage Point
- Vancouver Foundation
- United Way British Columbia
- United Way Southern Vancouver Island
- Vancity Foundation
- Bhayana Family Foundation