LETHBRIDGE, ALTA. -- An annual report published by the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) highlights the struggles faced by non-profit organization in 2023.

Overall there has been a decline in volunteers and staffing struggles across the sector.

The rising cost of living is also pushing more people toward charities, putting on strain on their limited resources.

“Expenses are skyrocketing, it's no different from every other Albertan and what they're dealing with in their own family budget, we're dealing with in the budgets of non-profit," said CCVO president and CEO, Karen Ball..

"All expenses and costs are up across the board,”

Seventy four percent of respondents also felt climate change negatively impacted operations last year.

Smoke from forest fires forced many outdoor charity events to move indoors or be cancelled.

“it affects them in the kind of programming they're able to do," Ball said . "But more than that, it affects Albertans which makes them rely on non-profits if they're being unhoused during climate emergencies or if they're experiencing the effects of smoke inhalation. Those kinds of things are on us.”

LETHBRIDGE FACED SAME ISSUES

Lethbridge faced many of the issues plaguing non-profits across the province. 

“It's exactly what we're seeing in Lethbridge," said Amanda Jensen, executive director of Volunteer Lethbridge. "Lethbridge non-profit organizations participate heavily in completing this survey. There are some things that are surprising but I think you saw a lot of heads nodding,”

One area where Lethbridge is succeeding is the amount of volunteers.

Volunteers helped generate a nearly $135 million boost to the local economy.

Jensen said “more than half, far more than half of people in Lethbridge volunteer. That's incredible. Of those 57 per cent of people who volunteer, they're giving an average of 91 hours a year. That just blows my mind.”

While non-profits are expected to be in for another difficult year, the report does show improvements in some areas.

For the first time since the pandemic, a majority of respondents reported revenues had either stayed the same or grown.