Charitable organizations in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville face financial challenges: report

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Published November 23, 2023 at 1:31 pm

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Charitable organization in Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills are facing a myriad of obstacles according to a report commissioned by The United Way of Halton & Hamilton (UWHH).

The UWHH’s ConnectEd program helps to build the capacity of local nonprofits to help them achieve their mission.

However, since the pandemic, United Way has received less feedback from organizations in their network.

This prompted them to team up with the McMaster Research Shop to help assess the post- pandemic needs of local nonprofits, including their organizational priorities, capacity building topics that would help them with their priorities, and the formats capacity building initiatives should take.

More than 60 organizations in Halton and Hamilton, including a mix of United Way funded and non-funded agencies, responded.

Finances, or a lack thereof, was a top concern for most organizations, with 60.3 per cent reporting difficulty in acquiring funding. Two-thirds reported increased demand for service.

According to one organization, there is,“not just an increase in demand for services but rather increase in acute needs of families accessing our services”

Most organizations said they have difficulty recruiting staff and volunteers, with challenges in offering competitive pay as well as staff burnout and retention issues.

Smaller organizations were particularly having trouble recruiting volunteers.

Among the most pressing financial concerns for the organizations include:

  • inflation, increased demand, supply chain issues, inflation, rising costs of food, care and gas
  • base funding not keeping up with rising costs
  • lacking the funds/manpower to fundraise and advertise
  • end of pandemic funding

“These research findings highlight the crucial challenges facing local non-profits in our community,” said Brad Park, President and CEO of United Way Halton & Hamilton

“United Way remains committed to supporting these non-profits in addressing their pressing needs and enhancing their capacity to serve the community effectively. The data from this assessment will guide our efforts to provide targeted assistance. We aim to ensure these organizations have the resources and tools they need to make a lasting impact in the lives of those they serve.”

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