EDMONTON -- Charities are nervous going into December, hoping GivingTuesday might spark enough generosity through the rest of 2020 to keep them afloat.

COVID-19 has hit charities hard, not only has demand for services increased, but donations are down.

In 2019, Canadian charities received $5 million in donations, a 50 per cent increase over 2018.

November and December are the months when charities typically receive 40 per cent of their total donations for the year, according to CanadaHelps.

“There is no in-person giving so anything that is happening now is happening online,” said Jacob O’Connor, vice president of charity engagement and growth at CanadaHelps. “We have seen a growth in online numbers, although the overall revenue pie is very much down for charities.”

GivingTuesday is a global day of giving, coming on the heels of major shopping days Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

This is the eighth year for the movement and O’Connor is hoping it will be a kick-off for the rest of the giving season.

“Canadians are super generous and when Canadians ask and when there is crisis, Canadians give.”

According to an Imagine Canada report, one in five charities had to suspend operations or close permanently due to financial hardships in June.

“I am, and the team is, seeing more charities close their doors,” said O’Connor.

The charitable sector actually makes up eight per cent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) according to O’Connor.

“It (also) employs 10 per cent of the country’s workforce. If we let these charities die, it’s bad for the economy, but it’s also bad for our society and our communities across the country.”

O’Connor said that even in the state of financial uncertainty many companies and families are in, there are unique opportunities to donate this year.

One method for corporations is to donate portion of the budget that had been set aside for holiday parties. The idea took off in the U.K. and CanadaHelps has brought it across the pond.

Another idea is to donate some of the money that would have gone to a large family dinner, since restrictions will be limiting gathering sizes around the holidays.

“Rather than setting down that $100 or $200 at once when you’re not sure about the future, you can set up a monthly gift,” said O’Connor.

Monthly donations help charities plan their budget for the coming year, and can be adjusted by donors if their financial situations change.