A new study released by the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and the University of the Fraser Valley has revealed a correlation between a strong not-for-profit culture and a thriving community with a robust economy.
The economic and social impact of 278 Abbotsford not-for-profit organizations is highlighted in The Business of Doing Good – a study initiated by the ACOC and led by Dr. Garry Fehr, UFV’s Associate Vice-President, Research, Engagement and Graduate Studies, with oversight by the chamber’s not-for-profit committee and the ACOC board.
According to the study, Abbotsford’s not-for-profit sector generates hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue annually and spends these funds on wages, goods, services, and capital expenditures to fulfill their organizational missions. These funds are then re-injected into the local economy, creating a multiplier effect of 1.7 times their initial economic impact.
Some of the key statistics gleaned from the study include:
- $497,278,295 — total revenue generated by the not-for-profit sector in 2019, with an eventual impact to Abbotsford’s economy of $845,373,951.
- $333,744,655 — total expenditures by the not-for-profit sector in 2019 with an eventual impact of $567,365,913, of which 53.2 percent was dedicated to employee salaries and wages, and 39.7 percent on goods, services, and contractor fees.
- 4,579 — the number of people employed in the not-for-profit sector in Abbotsford
- 1 million+ — the estimated total hours volunteers devote to Abbotsford’s not-for-profit organizations, or approximately 40 hours per year per volunteer.
“As one of the most philanthropic cities in the country according to Statistics Canada, it is not surprising that Abbotsford’s not-for-profits are having a tremendous impact on our community,” stated Katerina Anastasiadis, CEO of the ACOC. “This report has really confirmed the integral role our not-for-profit sector plays in the well-being of Abbotsford.”
In addition to economic impact, the study examined the societal benefits of Abbotsford’s not-for-profit sector. The United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were used as a guide to classify and understand the social benefits resulting from the activities of the organizations in this study.
“We are seeing a primary focus on health and education initiatives that better equip people to become more resilient, productive contributors to an equitable society,” says Fehr. “Societies that are more socially and economically equitable have been shown to have less crime and stronger community bonds.”
The results of the study and the effectiveness of local not-for-profits was showcased last month during the recent flooding that rocked Abbotsford.
More than $2 million was raised in the first month by the Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund – which was made up of the ACOC and two members of its not-for-profit committee (UFV and the Abbotsford Community Foundation).
“It was seamless to set up this emergency fund together,” stated Anita Nielsen, Executive Director, Advancement & Alumni Relations at UFV, and chair of the study committee. “The not-for-profit sector is so well established in our region and is playing a key role in its recovery and helping those affected build back quickly and with lasting strength.”
To view the report, visit giving.ufv.ca/stories/the-business-of-doing-good-report.