By Marisa Barber
Calgary’s non-profit sector is an integral part of life in the city and touches the lives of nearly every Calgarian. From arts and culture to sports and recreation, mental health, and support services, local non-profits support our communities. Many of these organizations, like the Calgary Phil, rely on volunteers to operate day-to-day and have the most impact possible on those accessing services.
Alberta is a giving province in many ways — especially related to the gift of time. Nearly half of Alberta residents volunteer, contributing to a total of 227 million volunteer hours annually. To put that into perspective, if this volunteer labour were conservatively valued at $21/hour, it amounts to nearly $5 billion of giving.
These millions of hours are vital for the prosperity of Calgary’s communities. Karen Ball, President & CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO), states, “Going back to the 1988 Olympics and beyond, Calgary has been a city made vibrant by the contribution of our volunteers. A crucial way for Calgary to ensure all communities are prosperous now and into the future is through supporting a culture of giving and volunteerism. Everyone plays a part in this.” Volunteering not only ensures that Calgarians can access services, but also creates meaningful connections, building a sense of belonging and purpose between volunteers and the community.
Thriving non-profits and volunteers are cornerstones to a thriving Calgary and Alberta. To support their organizations and these volunteers, non-profits need support themselves. CCVO’s mission is to champion the non-profit sector as a connector, sense-maker, and advocate for Alberta’s non-profits and their private and public sector stakeholders.
As a connector, CCVO hosts events and engages communities to bring together non-profits in conversation about critical issues, share ideas, and further systems of support in the sector. As a sense-maker, they monitor emerging issues, provide decision-makers with a credible source of information about sector impact, and help non-profits make sense of policy changes and sector-wide implications. As an advocate, CCVO works to build an understanding of Alberta’s non-profit sector through research and engagement, bringing attention to the impact of and issues facing non-profits in Calgary and across the province. CCVO keeps non-profits top of mind with governments at all levels by sharing an informed voice on critical issues affecting charities and non-profits in Alberta. Find out how you can get involved in the work they do to raise the voice of Alberta’s non-profits at thenonprofitvote.ca.
CCVO’s recent research has provided data on the impacts of non-profits. This data is essential to successful response, recovery, and rebuilding strategies. Arts and culture organizations specifically, which make up 8% of Alberta’s non-profit and charitable sector — nearly 2,500 organizations — faced a 16% loss in revenue at the onset of the pandemic. Many organizations are working hard to recover while facing decreased resources and capacity. As CCVO believes, everyone plays a part in community prosperity, and they urge you to help support a strong return of the arts by considering donating time or treasure.