The results of the 2019 Campaign of Outlook Donors’ Choice, while generally satisfactory, perplex the seven-member executive board. In 2019, citizens donated $37,425—the fifth lowest amount in the past six years. Both 2017 and 2018 saw donations in excess of $40,000.
Most alarmingly, the number of donors continues to decrease. In 1998, 551 individuals made donations. Since 2014, the number has remained stubbornly below 300, and now it is dangerously close to 200. This year, 208 people made donations, down 31 from 2018.
On the positive side is the fact that there were 38 first-time donors in 2019. On the other hand, 71 households that donated in 2018 were not among this year’s list of contributors.
“Our research informs us that the national trend reveals fewer Canadians donating to charities,” Donors’ Choice member John McPhail observed. “That seems to be borne out here in Outlook,” he continued, “and we are at a loss to explain why. On the other hand, we are very encouraged to note that almost half of the money donated remains in our community. In fact, of the 41 organizations receiving donations this year, the four highest sums were designated for local groups: Outlook Swimming Pool, Outlook and District Health Foundation, Outlook and District Food Bank and Variety Place Association. An analysis shows that 46% of all money donated in 2019 was allocated to local organizations.”
All associations or groups receiving funding through Outlook Donors’ Choice must have CRA registered charity numbers. Local groups which are listed on the official form are requested to supply volunteers for the annual campaign. In the last two years, in order to achieve greater efficiency and economy, official receipts for donors have been emailed or hand delivered, and local groups are asked to pick up their cheques to save the cost of mailing. Any donor who has not received an official receipt should contact Vivian Bothner.
Since its inception in 1971, Outlook Donors’ Choice has been a driving force in the community. In 2013, Donors’ Choice surpassed the one-million-dollar mark. By 2019, the figure has exceeded $1.2 million. Over the years, Outlook donors have directed approximately half of that amount to local organizations.
As Donors’ Choice enters a new decade and its forty-ninth year, the Executive is cautiously optimistic that new volunteers will join them. Being a member of the organization requires only a few hours annually, a small contribution of time that results in benefits to many. Community-minded citizens are invited to attend the Annual General Meeting in January (please watch The Outlook for details) to learn first-hand about the organization and to discover how they can become involved.