For many charities and not-for-profits, holiday generosity is what funds everything from programs and services to campaigns for the year. Fresh Start Recovery Centre receives more than half of their donations for the year during the six weeks leading up to the Christmas holidays. 

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales loom, for many, it’s the Tuesday that follows that makes all the difference. Giving Tuesday—a global movement that encourages and celebrates donating your time, money or whatever you have to give, is all about kicking off the holiday season with charity and doing good.

And for many Calgary organizations, including ATB and Benevity, goodness is the daily focus. “The power of #GivingTuesday in our highly, socially-conscious world grows in importance and impact every year,” says Bryan de Lottinville, Founder and CEO of Benevity. “It represents a terrific opportunity for companies to put empathy, service and generosity at the top of the agenda.”

Generous community = great place to live

Calgary is full of people doing good and you feel it here. Generosity and Calgary’s entrepreneurial spirit combined has resulted in a thriving non-profit sector in the city. In fact, with close to 8,000 organizations, Calgary has the most non-profits per capita in Canada.

David Mitchell, President and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations, estimates that almost every Calgarian interacts with non-profits daily — be it arts and culture, health, education, social services, environmental or faith groups.

“When there’s a social problem identified, Calgarians rise to the occasion—they give and often in a way that will create a new nonprofit or foundation,” says Mitchell. “It really powers the quality of life in Calgary.”

Non-profits are not only integral to the social and cultural fabric of our town, they’re vital for the economy: the non-profit sector contributes nearly $10 Billion to Alberta’s GDP. And they rely, of course, on giving.

Giving builds strong communities

Giving in all its forms—volunteering, donating money, acts of kindness—is scientifically proven to have all kinds of positive effects on a community’s well-being. Research shows that doing good decreases stress, makes you happier and can even increase life expectancy.

Volunteerism and giving benefits society by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens by creating opportunities for participation (source: the United Nations).

And from an employee engagement standpoint, for employees engaged in company giving and volunteering programs, turnover rates drop by 57 per cent (according to a recent study by Benevity).

Calgary by the numbers

As one of the most charitable cities in Canada, Calgary is renowned for its can-do spirit and inclusive lifestyle.

• Alberta boasts the highest average annual charitable donation (2017 Generosity Index, Fraser Institute)

• Calgary charitable donations are the second-highest median donation of major cities in Canada (Statistics Canada, 2018).

• Fifty per cent of Albertans volunteer—six per cent higher than the national average. That means that in Calgary in 2017, 700,000 volunteers gave 112.7 million hours, about $3.9 billion in value based on the median wage of $34.64 (Report on Strategy, Propellus, 2017).

“The Economic Strategy: Calgary in the New Economy shares the fundamental value that every person in Calgary be a contributor and beneficiary of the prosperity of this great community. Along with partners like the City, we believe that working together to address social needs and reducing economic inequality is part of what makes Calgary great, and we continue to encourage everyone to volunteer out in their respective communities to strengthen the ties that will bolster our economy during this next phase,” said Court Ellingson, Vice President, Research and Strategy, Calgary Economic Development.

Please consider how you can impact our city and your neighbours this Giving Tuesday, November 27.

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