Volunteers and Donors in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2013

1 million donors and 900,000 volunteers in arts and culture organizations

Executive Summary

Many Canadians show their support for arts and culture organizations through the time and money that they give as volunteers and donors. The contributions of time and money help arts and culture organizations serve their communities and balance their budgets. Volunteers and Donors in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2013, the 46th report in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series, highlights the volunteer time and financial donations given to Canadian arts and culture organizations, based on statistics that Hill Strategies Research queried from Statistics Canada’s 2013 General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering, and Participating (GSS-GVP), a survey of nearly 15,000 Canadians 15 or older.

The key findings of the report are that:

  • The equivalent of 56,000 jobs were volunteered by 900,000 Canadians in arts and culture organizations in 2013.
  • The 107 million hours contributed to arts and culture organizations represent an average of 120 hours per volunteer – more hours, on average, than volunteers in any other type of organization.
  • Between 2004 and 2013, the number of volunteers in arts and culture organizations increased by 23%, much higher than the 7% increase in all volunteers.
  • In 2013, $162 million was donated to arts and culture organizations by over 1 million Canadians (3% of the population 15 and older). This represents, on average, $159 per donor to arts and culture organizations.
  • After adjusting for inflation, donations to arts and culture organizations increased by 46% between 2007 and 2013, a much greater increase than the 16% growth in donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations during the same timeframe.
  • Between 2007 and 2013, the number of arts and culture donors increased by 34%, the highest rate of increase among 11 types of organizations, well above the 6% increase in all donors during the same timeframe.
  • The four Western provinces have the highest volunteer and donor rates in the arts and culture.

Further information about these findings follows.

Equivalent of 56,000 jobs volunteered in arts and culture organizations

Close to one-half of Canadians 15 or older (44%) volunteered in a not-for-profit organization in 2013. In the arts and culture, about 900,000 Canadians (3% of the population) volunteered the equivalent of 56,000 full-time jobs in 2013. Using the average hourly wage in Canadian arts, entertainment, and recreation industries in 2013 ($17.58), this volunteer contribution can be valued at nearly $1.9 billion.

Higher average volunteer hours than any other type of organization

The 107 million hours contributed to arts and culture organizations represent an average of 120 hours per volunteer. Arts and culture volunteers contribute more hours, on average, than volunteers in any other type of organization. Arts and culture volunteers do not just give significant amounts of time (on average), they also tend to stay with the same organization for a relatively long period of time: 39% of arts and culture volunteers were with the same organization for at least five years.

23% increase in arts and culture volunteers

Between 2004 and 2013, the number of volunteers in arts and culture organizations increased by 23%, much higher than the 7% increase in all volunteers. During the same timeframe, the number of volunteer hours in arts and culture organizations increased by 22%, higher than any other type of not-for-profit organization and much higher than the 1% increase in volunteer hours in all types of organizations.

Western provinces have the highest volunteer rates in the arts and culture

Compared with the national average (3%), the arts and culture volunteer rate is highest in the four westernmost provinces: Saskatchewan (5%, 48,000 volunteers), British Columbia (also 5%, 186,000), Manitoba (4%, 45,000), and Alberta (also 4%, 135,000). The arts and culture volunteer rate and number of volunteers in the other provinces are: Ontario (2%, 281,000); Quebec (2%, 153,000); New Brunswick (2%, 15,000); Nova Scotia (3%, 20,000); Prince Edward Island (3%, 3,000); and Newfoundland and Labrador (3%, 12,000). Note: The estimates of volunteers in all provinces except Ontario and Quebec have a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Over 1 million donors to arts and culture organizations

In 2013, $162 million was donated to arts and culture organizations by over 1 million Canadians (3% of the population 15 and older).

Average of $159 per donor

The $162 million donated to arts and culture organizations in 2013 represents, on average, $159 per donor. This average annual donation ranks arts and culture organizations sixth out of 13 types of not-for-profit organizations with reliable data, well behind religious organizations (average of $573 per donor), international organizations ($418), and universities and colleges ($340). The average donation to arts and culture organizations is higher than that for organizations involved in law, advocacy, and politics ($137), social services ($136), and the environment ($128).

46% increase in donations to arts and culture organizations

After adjusting for inflation, donations to arts and culture organizations increased from $111 million in 2007 to $162 million in 2013. This 46% increase is much higher than the 16% increase in donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations.

34% increase in the number of donors

Between 2007 and 2013, the number of arts and culture donors increased by 34%, from 759,000 in 2007 to 1,015,000 in 2013. The 34% increase is the highest among 11 types of organizations and is much higher than the 6% increase in all donors during the same timeframe.

Arts and culture donor rate highest in the West

Compared with the Canadian average (3%), the arts and culture donor rate is highest in the four westernmost provinces: Manitoba (5%, 49,000 donors), British Columbia (4%, 170,000), Alberta (also 4%, 133,000), and Saskatchewan (also 4%, 32,000). The arts and culture donor rate and number of donors in the other provinces are: Ontario (3%, 383,000); Quebec (3%, 200,000); New Brunswick (2%, 16,000); Nova Scotia (3%, 24,000); Prince Edward Island (2%, 2,000); and Newfoundland and Labrador (2%, 6,000). Note: The estimates of donors in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and each of the Atlantic provinces have a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Additional findings in the full report

The full report also explores reasons for volunteering or donating, volunteer activities, barriers to volunteering, donor decision-making, demographics of arts and culture volunteers and donors, and comparisons with other types of not-for-profit organizations.

 

Introduction

Many Canadians show their support for arts and culture organizations through the time and money that they give as volunteers and donors. The contributions of time and money help arts and culture organizations serve their communities and balance their budgets. While some arts and culture organizations are entirely run by volunteers, others depend on volunteers for specific tasks, such as special events or educational activities.[1] On the financial side, individual donors are an important component of the funding mix for arts and culture organizations, supporting operating revenues, capital fundraising, and organizations’ endowments.[2]

This report highlights the volunteer time and financial donations made by Canadians to arts and culture organizations in 2013, including those involved in visual arts, architecture, ceramic art, performing arts, museums, zoos, aquariums, media and communications, and historical, literary and humanistic societies. It is not possible to separate data for arts organizations from other cultural and heritage organizations.

The report is based on statistics that Hill Strategies Research queried from Statistics Canada’s 2013 General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering, and Participating (GSS-GVP).[3] Between September and December 2013, Statistics Canada surveyed (by telephone) a statistically representative sample of Canadians 15 or older (14,714 people) about their volunteer time and financial donations given to not-for-profit organizations in the 12 months preceding the survey.[4] The survey excludes residents of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut as well as full-time residents of institutions.

The GSS-GVP provides data for 14 different types of not-for-profit organizations. In this report, the situation of arts and culture organizations is compared with 10 to 14 different organization types, depending on the number with reliable data for specific statistics.

Report structure

The report is divided into two main portions on volunteers and donors. The report’s estimates of volunteer generosity toward arts and culture organizations are organized into the following sections:

  • Arts and culture volunteers in 2013
  • Changes in number of volunteers and hours volunteered
  • Average hours and volunteer loyalty
  • Reasons for volunteering, volunteer activities, and skills gained
  • Barriers to volunteering (and barriers to volunteering more often)
  • Demographics of arts and culture volunteers
  • Provincial estimates of arts and culture volunteers
  • Comparisons with other types of not-for-profit organizations in 2013

Regarding donors to arts and culture organizations, the report’s sections are:

  • Arts and culture donors in 2013
  • Changes in the value of donations and number of donors
  • Donor motivations, decision-making, and barriers
  • Donor comparisons with other types of not-for-profit organizations
  • Demographics of arts and culture donors
  • Provincial estimates of arts and culture donors

Limitations

Although the national survey of Canadians is statistically sound, data reliability limits the breadth of analysis possible regarding arts and culture volunteers and donors, especially demographic and geographic breakdowns. Given the limited reliability of the estimates of volunteer hours and donation amounts on a provincial basis, these statistics are not provided. The survey excluded residents of the Yukon, Northwest Territories, and Nunavut.

 

Arts and culture volunteers in 2013

Close to one-half of Canadians 15 or older (44%) volunteered in a not-for-profit organization in 2013 (12.7 million people). Many different types of not-for-profit organizations benefited from the volunteer labour offered by Canadians, including arts and culture organizations.

About 900,000 Canadians, or 3% of the population 15 or older, volunteered in arts and culture organizations in 2013. The 896,000 arts and culture volunteers represent 7% of all 12.7 million volunteers in Canada.

The 896,000 volunteers contributed a total of 107 million hours to arts and culture organizations in 2013. This represents 6% of volunteer hours in all types of not-for-profit organizations in Canada.

The 107 million hours volunteered in arts and culture organizations is equivalent to about 56,000 full-time, full-year jobs. Using the average hourly wage in Canadian arts, entertainment, and recreation industries in 2013 ($17.58), this volunteer contribution can be valued at nearly $1.9 billion.[5] Table 1 summarizes key statistics regarding volunteers in Canada.

 

Changes in number of volunteers and hours volunteered

Statistics Canada conducted similar surveys of volunteers and donors in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013.[6] Between 2004 and 2013, the overall number of volunteers increased by 7%, from 11.8 million to 12.7 million. However, the 12.7 million volunteers in 2013 is a decrease from the peak reached in 2010 (13.3 million volunteers).

Figure 1 shows the changes in arts and culture volunteers between 2004 and 2013. The number of arts and culture volunteers increased by 23% between 2004 (729,000) and 2013 (896,000). The 23% increase is the second-highest rate of increase among 11 types of organizations[7], behind only universities and colleges (131% increase). Because of this increase, the arts and culture’s share of all volunteers increased from 6% in 2004 to 7% in 2013. Arts and culture volunteers represented the same proportion of the overall population 15 or older throughout the timeframe (3%).

Between 2004 and 2013, the number of volunteer hours in any type of not-for-profit organization decreased by 1%, from 1.98 billion to 1.96 billion.

As shown in Figure 2, volunteer hours in the arts and culture increased from 88 million in 2004 to 107 million in 2013. This 22% increase is the highest among ten types of organizations with reliable data in each survey period. Because of this increase, the arts and culture’s share of all volunteer hours increased from 5% in 2004 to 6% in 2013.

 

Average hours and volunteer loyalty

The 107 million hours contributed to arts and culture organizations represent an average of 120 hours per volunteer.

As shown in Table 2, arts and culture volunteers contribute more hours, on average, than volunteers in any other type of organization. In 2013, a higher percentage of arts and culture volunteers than other volunteers donated their time daily or weekly (44% of arts and culture volunteers vs. 37% of other volunteers).

Many hours come from relatively few individuals

Generous volunteers are very important for arts and culture organizations. The top 25% of arts and culture volunteers (i.e., the 230,000 Canadians who volunteered at least 116 hours in arts and culture organizations) contributed 77% of total volunteer hours in arts and culture organizations, a figure that is identical to the percentage in all not-for-profit organizations.[8]

The top 10% (i.e., the 92,000 people who volunteered at least 294 hours) contributed 55% of total volunteer hours in arts and culture organizations. This is very similar to the concentration of volunteer hours in all types of not-for-profit organizations (53% of total hours contributed by the top 10% of volunteers).

Volunteer loyalty

Arts and culture volunteers do not just give significant amounts of time (on average), they also tend to stay with the same organization for a relatively long period of time: 39% of arts and culture volunteers were with the same organization for at least five years. This is similar to the percentage for volunteers in other types of organizations (37%). Only 16% of arts and culture volunteers had volunteered in the same organization for less than one year (compared with 21% of volunteers in other types of organizations).

In addition, statistics from the survey show that few volunteers give time to more than one arts and culture organization. The survey collected information for a maximum of three organizations (or volunteer positions) for each volunteer. The 896,000 arts and culture volunteers reported just over 1 million volunteer positions in arts and culture organizations (or 5% of the volunteer positions in all types of volunteer organizations in Canada). This represents, on average, 1.14 positions per arts and culture volunteer. In other words, only about 10%-15% of arts and culture volunteers gave their time to more than one arts and culture organization during the year.

Volunteering in multiple types of organizations

Almost two-thirds of Canadians who volunteer in arts and culture organizations also volunteer in another type of organization (62%). Most commonly, arts and culture volunteers also gave their time to education and research organizations (15% of arts and culture volunteers did so in 2013), social services (also 15%), religious organizations (10%), and sports and recreation (also 10%).

For arts and culture volunteers, the average of 120 hours volunteered in arts and culture organizations represents 60% of the 199 hours that they volunteered in all types of organizations.

 

Reasons for volunteering, volunteer activities, and skills gained

Reasons for volunteering

People who indicated that they volunteered in 2013 were asked about important reasons why they did so. Among arts and culture volunteers:

  • Almost all (94%) volunteer in order to make a contribution to their community.
  • 86% volunteer so that they can use their skills and experiences.
  • 60% volunteer “to network with or meet people”.
  • 60% volunteer “to improve [their] sense of well–being or health”.
  • 59% volunteer to explore their own strengths.
  • 54% volunteer because they or someone they know has been personally affected by the cause that the organization supports.

A similar percentage of arts and culture volunteers and other volunteers give their time in order to make a contribution to their community (94% vs. 93%). The next four reasons from the above list are much more common for arts and culture volunteers than other volunteers: using their skills and experiences (86% vs. 77%); networking (60% vs. 47%); improving their well-being or health (60% vs. 51%); and exploring their own strengths (59% vs. 48%).

Social nature of volunteering

In the previous year, 63% of arts and culture volunteers had volunteered alongside friends, neighbours, or colleagues, while 41% had done so with members of their immediate family.

Volunteer activities

The survey asked respondents about the types of activities that they did in their volunteer engagements. As shown in Table 3, arts and culture volunteers commonly help with special events, committee and board work, and fundraising.

Compared with other volunteers, arts and culture volunteers are much more commonly involved in office or administrative work (possibly because many cultural organizations are entirely or largely volunteer run) and doing other activities not specified in the survey (possibly because the survey did not ask about volunteering as a performer, for example).

Arts and culture volunteers are less likely than other volunteers to fundraise.

Skills gained from volunteering

Arts and culture volunteers indicated that they acquired, in particular, four important skills and opportunities via their volunteer activities:

  • Interpersonal skills (cited by 69% of arts and culture volunteers).
  • Chances of success in their paid job or business (59%).
  • Communication skills (55%).
  • Organizational skills (51%).

The last three are skills that arts and culture volunteers are much more likely than other volunteers to have gained:

  • Chances of success in their paid job or business (gained by 59% of arts and culture volunteers but only 44% of other volunteers).
  • Communication skills (gained by 55% of arts and culture volunteers but only 42% of other volunteers).
  • Organizational skills (gained by 51% of arts and culture volunteers but only 39% of other volunteers).

 

Barriers to volunteering (and barriers to volunteering more often)

Volunteers were asked about ten specific barriers that might have kept them from giving even more time. For arts and culture volunteers, the most common barriers to giving more time are:

  • Not having the time (selected by 72% of arts and culture volunteers).
  • Feeling that they have given enough time already (51%).
  • Not being able to make a long-term commitment (48%).
  • Not having been asked to do so (25%).

These percentages are fairly similar to those for volunteers in other types of not-for-profit organizations.

Non-volunteers: Barriers to volunteering

Non-volunteers were asked if any of ten barriers prevented them from volunteering in a not-for-profit organization. Among all non-volunteers, the most common barriers to volunteering are:

  • Not having the time (selected by 66% of non-volunteers).
  • Not being able to make a long-term commitment (62%).
  • Preferring to give money instead of volunteer time (54%).
  • No one asked them to do so (49%).

 

Demographics of arts and culture volunteers

Given the fact that arts and culture volunteers comprise a relatively small proportion of all volunteers (7%), only a limited demographic profile is possible using the 2013 General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering, and Participating. Despite these limitations, demographic analysis of the GSS-GVP does reveal some interesting characteristics about arts and culture volunteers.

Table 4 presents the percentage of arts and culture volunteers, all volunteers, and the overall population (15 and older) in various demographic groups.[9] The data in Table 4 show that arts and culture volunteers tend to be:

  • Highly educated: 43% of arts and culture volunteers have a university degree, compared with 26% of the overall population.
  • Female: 58% of arts and culture volunteers are women, compared with 51% of the overall population.
  • From all income groups: The percentage of arts and culture volunteers is quite equal between five household income quintiles (that have 20% of all households in each).
  • From all age groups: There are only relatively small differences in the composition of arts and culture volunteers compared to the overall population.
  • Single: The proportion of single arts and culture volunteers (33%) is slightly higher than single people’s share of the overall population (27%).
  • Employed and unemployed in relatively similar proportions to the overall population.

Other factors that might have an influence on individuals’ cultural appreciation – and therefore on their volunteering in arts and culture organizations – cannot be analyzed in this report, because the GSS-GVP did not include specific questions about likely factors in arts engagement. For example, it is not possible to examine respondents’ arts education experiences or other previous experiences with the arts.

 

Provincial estimates of arts and culture volunteers

This section summarizes the estimated number of arts and culture volunteers in each province. The survey excluded residents of the three territories. The estimates of volunteers in all provinces except Ontario and Quebec have a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution. While there are some differences between the provinces’ arts and culture volunteer rates, only the most extreme differences might be statistically significant. In other words, most of the differences outlined in this section could be attributed simply to the margin of error of the estimates.

Given the limited reliability of the estimates of volunteer hours in each province, these statistics are not provided.

British Columbia

The 186,000 volunteers in arts and culture organizations in British Columbia represent 5% of the population 15 and older, a figure that is well above the national average (3%). In B.C., arts and culture volunteers account for 10% of the province’s 1.9 million volunteers, again higher than the national average (7%). Note: The B.C. estimate of arts and culture volunteers has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Alberta

In Alberta, the 135,000 arts and culture volunteers represent 4% of the population 15 and older, slightly above the national average (3%). The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 1.6 million volunteers is 8%, also slightly above the national average (7%). Note: The Alberta estimate of arts and culture volunteers has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Saskatchewan

The 48,000 volunteers in arts and culture organizations in Saskatchewan represent 5% of the population 15 and older, the highest proportion in the country. Arts and culture volunteers account for 10% of all 493,000 volunteers in Saskatchewan, also above the national average (7%). Note: The Saskatchewan estimate of arts and culture volunteers has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Manitoba

There are 45,000 arts and culture volunteers in Manitoba, or 4% of the overall population 15 and older (slightly above the national average of 3%). The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 535,000 volunteers (8%) is also slightly higher than the Canadian average (7%). Note: The Manitoba estimate of arts and culture volunteers has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Ontario

The 281,000 volunteers in arts and culture organizations in Ontario represent 2% of the population 15 and older, a figure that is slightly below the national average (3%). In Ontario, arts and culture volunteers account for 6% of all 5.0 million volunteers, also slightly below the national average (7%).

Quebec

There are 153,000 arts and culture volunteers in Quebec, or 2% of the overall population 15 and older (slightly below the Canadian average of 3%). The overall volunteer rate is also low in Quebec, so the arts and culture’s share of all 2.2 million volunteers is equal to the Canadian average (7%).

New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, the 15,000 arts and culture volunteers represent 2% of the population 15 and older, slightly below the national average (3%). The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 256,000 volunteers is 6%, also slightly below the national average (7%). Note: The New Brunswick estimate of arts and culture volunteers has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Nova Scotia

The 20,000 volunteers in arts and culture organizations in Nova Scotia represent 3% of the population 15 and older, equal to the national average. Arts and culture volunteers account for 5% of all 406,000 volunteers in Nova Scotia, which is below the national average (7%). Note: The Nova Scotia estimate of arts and culture volunteers has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Prince Edward Island

There are 3,000 arts and culture volunteers on Prince Edward Island, or 3% of the overall population 15 and older (equal to the national average). The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 61,000 volunteers (6%) is slightly below than the Canadian average (7%). Note: The P.E.I estimate of arts and culture volunteers has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Newfoundland and Labrador

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the 12,000 arts and culture volunteers represent 3% of the population 15 and older, equal to the national average. The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 200,000 volunteers is 6%, slightly below the national average (7%). Note: The Newfoundland and Labrador estimate of arts and culture volunteers has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Arts and culture volunteer rate highest in the West

Figure 3 shows that the arts and culture volunteer rate is highest in the four westernmost provinces: Saskatchewan (5%), British Columbia (also 5%), Manitoba (4%), and Alberta (also 4%). These are provinces where the overall volunteer rate is also higher than the national average.

 

Comparisons with other types of not-for-profit organizations in 2013

The 896,000 arts and culture volunteers comprised 7% of all Canadian volunteers in 2013. Table 5 shows that, of 13 types of not-for-profit organizations, the arts and culture ranks seventh in terms of the number of volunteers.

In 2013, social service and sports and recreation organizations attracted the most volunteers (3.2 million and 3.0 million), followed by education and research organizations (2.5 million), religious organizations (also 2.5 million), health organizations (1.6 million), and development and housing organizations (1.2 million). Arts and culture organizations (896,000) attracted somewhat more volunteers than environmental organizations (781,000).

Volunteer hours by type of organization

In 2013, Canadians volunteered 2.0 billion hours in all types of not-for-profit organizations. With 107 million volunteer hours – or 6% of total hours volunteered in all types of not-for-profit organizations – the arts and culture rank sixth out of 14 types of not-for-profit organizations.

Figure 4 shows that social services received 20% of all volunteer hours in 2013 (361 million hours), followed by sports and recreation organizations (18%, or 329 million hours).  Religious organizations received 263 million hours (14%), while education and research organizations received 204 million hours in 2013 (11%). Development and housing organizations received 129 million hours (7%). Volunteers contributed 107 million hours to arts and culture organizations (6% of all hours), slightly higher than contributions to health organizations (85 million hours, 5%).

 

Arts and culture donors in 2013

Just over one million Canadians 15 or older, or 3% of the population in this age group, made a financial donation to an arts and culture organization in 2013.  Arts and culture donors represent 4% of the 24.1 million donors to all types of not-for-profit organizations in Canada.[10]

The 1,015,000 donors gave $162 million to arts and culture organizations in 2013, representing just over 1% of financial donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations in Canada.

Table 6 summarizes key statistics regarding donors in Canada.

 

Changes in the value of donations and number of donors

Statistics Canada conducted similar surveys of volunteers and donors in 2004, 2007, 2010, and 2013. Unfortunately, the estimates of the value of donations and the number of donors to arts and culture organizations in 2004 had a very high margin of error, which does not allow for comparisons with that dataset. As such, this section focuses on data from 2007, 2010, and 2013.

After adjusting for inflation, the value of donations to all not-for-profit organizations grew from $11.0 billion in 2007 to $12.8 billion in 2013, a 16% increase. While donations to religious organizations grew by 4% between 2007 and 2013, donations to non-religious organizations increased by 27%. The average amount given by each donor to all not-for-profit organizations increased from $481 in 2007 to $531 in 2013, a 10% increase.[11]

Donations to arts and culture organizations increased from $111 million in 2007 to $162 million in 2013. This 46% increase is greater than both the 16% increase in donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations and the 27% increase to non-religious organizations. However, the arts and culture’s share of all donations remained at 1% throughout the period.[12]

Figure 5 shows that the growth in arts and culture donations was particularly large between 2010 and 2013. This increase was due to a 34% growth in the number of arts and culture donors and a 7% increase in the average amount per arts and culture donor between 2010 and 2013.

Between 2007 and 2013, the overall number of donors to all not-for-profit organizations increased by 6%, from 22.8 million to 24.1 million. However, the overall population 15 and older grew by 8%, resulting in a decrease in the donor rate from 84% in 2007 to 82% in 2013.

Figure 6 shows that, between 2007 and 2013, the number of arts and culture donors increased by 34%, from 759,000 in 2007 to 1,015,000 in 2013. The 34% increase is the highest among 11 types of organizations[13], ahead of universities and colleges (23% increase), education and research (16%), environment (15%), and social services (11%). Because of this increase, the arts and culture’s share of all donors increased from 3% in 2007 to 4% in 2013. Arts and culture donors represented the same proportion of the overall population 15 or older throughout the timeframe (3%).

 

Donor motivations, decision-making, and barriers

Donor motivations

Donors were asked about important motivations for their giving. The five most common motivations cited by donors to arts and culture organizations are:

  • Helping a cause in which they personally believe: 95% of arts and culture donors (compared with 87% of other donors).
  • Feeling compassion towards people in need: 91% (vs. 81% of other donors).
  • Making a contribution to the community: also 91%, and equal to the percentage among other donors.
  • Being personally affected (or knowing someone personally affected) by the cause the organization supports: 65%, essentially equal to the percentage among other donors (67%).
  • Because a family member, friend, neighbor, or colleague requested that they make a donation: 49% (vs. 45% of other donors).

Receiving an income tax credit was cited as an important motivation by about one-third of arts and culture donors (35%), higher than the percentage of donors to other types of organizations (25%).

Donor decision-making

Data from the 2013 GSS-GVP provide some interesting insights regarding the donation behaviour and decision-making of arts and culture donors, including:

  • 26% of arts and culture donors “always donate to the same organizations”, while 23% “vary the organizations to which [they] donate”. One-half of arts and culture donors (51%) do both. This percentage is higher than other donors (39%), while the other two statistics are lower for arts and culture donors (26% vs. 32% donate to the same organizations, and 23% vs. 29% vary the organizations).
  • 21% of arts and culture donors “decide in advance the total amount of money [they] will donate to charitable organizations annually”. This is higher than the percentage of other donors (14%).
  • Among arts and culture donors who gave larger amounts[14], 35% of arts and culture donors decide in advance the organizations to which they give larger donations, and another 15% sometimes decide in advance and sometimes respond to someone asking for donations. Both of these percentages are higher for arts and culture donors than other donors (35% vs. 28% and 15% vs. 11%).
  • About two-thirds of arts and culture donors (68%) indicated that they (or someone in their household) will claim an income tax credit for their donation, a figure that is much higher than that for other donors (47%).
  • When considering donating to a charity to which they have not donated in the past, 69% of arts and culture donors say that they search for information on that charity before giving. This is higher than the percentage among other donors (57%).
    • Among arts and culture donors who search for information on a potential new organization, 57% would contact the charity or visit the charity’s website, 33% would ask their family, friends, or colleagues, and 22% would read the charity’s brochure, annual report, or financial information. Only 10% would look for the charity on the Canada Revenue Agency website.
  • Only 7% of arts and culture donors (and just 3% of other donors) have included a donation to a charitable or not-for-profit organization through a bequest in their will or through insurance or another financial planning instrument.

Reasons for not giving more money

Donors to arts and culture organizations were also asked about nine possible barriers that might have kept them from giving even more money. For arts and culture organizations, the most common barriers to donating more money are:

  • Being happy with what they already gave: 75% of arts and culture donors (compared with 73% of other donors).
  • Not being able to afford to give more: 62% (vs. 70% of other donors).
  • Giving volunteer time instead of money: 40% (vs. 32% of other donors).
  • Not liking the way in which requests were made: 36% (vs. 28% of other donors).
  • Giving money directly to people rather than through an organization: 33% (vs. 39% of other donors).
  • Not thinking that the money would be used efficiently or effectively: 30% (vs. 29% of other donors).

Charity fraud is an issue of concern: 63% of arts and culture donors (and 72% of other donors) agreed that they “are concerned about charity fraud or scams” (although this concern was not attributed to any particular type of not-for-profit organization).

Another issue is the sheer number of charitable organizations: 46% of arts and culture donors (and 56% of other donors) agreed that “there seem to be so many organizations seeking donations for one cause or another, sometimes I don’t feel like giving to any organization.”

Unlike non-volunteers, those who did not donate were not asked about the barriers that might have kept them from donating some money.

 

Donor comparisons with other types of not-for-profit organizations

Number of donors

In 2013, 4% of all Canadian donors gave money to arts and culture organizations (1,015,000 donors). Table 7 shows that, among 13 types of not-for-profit organizations covered by the survey, arts and culture organizations rank 10th with regard to the overall number of donors. Health organizations have the largest number of donors (14.0 million, or 58% of all Canadian donors), followed by social services (11.7 million, 49%) and religious organizations (9.1 million, 38%). The other organization types with more donors than the arts and culture are: hospitals (5.1 million, 21%), education and research organizations (4.6 million, 19%), sports and recreation organizations (3.9 million, 16%), international organizations (3.1 million, 13%), organizations involved in grant-making, fundraising, and voluntarism promotion (2.9 million, 12%), and environmental organizations (2.3 million, 10%).

Many individuals donate to multiple types of organizations (so these percentages add up to more than 100%). In fact, all arts and culture donors also donated to other types of organizations in 2013. Most commonly, arts and culture donors also gave money to health organizations (57% of arts and culture donors did so), social services (55%), and religious organizations (35%).

Value of donations

In 2013, Canadians donated $12.8 billion to not-for-profit organizations. With $162 million in donations – or 1% of total donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations – arts and culture organizations rank 10th out of 13 types of not-for-profit organizations with regard to the value of donations.

Figure 7 shows that religious organizations receive a substantial proportion of all donations ($5.2 billion, or 41%), followed by health organizations ($1.7 billion, 13%), social service organizations ($1.6 billion, 12%), and international organizations ($1.3 billion, 10%).

Arts and culture organizations ($162 million, 1%) receive the same amount as universities and colleges but slightly less than sports and recreation organizations ($195 million, 2%).

Average donation

The $162 million donated to arts and culture organizations represents, on average, $159 per donor. As shown in Table 8, this average annual donation ranks arts and culture organizations sixth out of 13 types of not-for-profit organizations with reliable data. Religious organizations rank well above all other not-for-profit organizations, with an average annual donation of $573 per donor. International organizations receive the second highest average donation ($418), followed by universities and colleges ($340). The other organizations with higher average donations than arts and culture are organizations in grant-making, fundraising, and voluntarism promotion ($241) and development and housing ($210). The average donation to arts and culture organizations is higher than that for organizations involved in law, advocacy, and politics ($137), social services ($136), and the environment ($128).

Importance of generous donors

Generous donors are very important for not-for-profit organizations. The article Volunteering and charitable giving in Canada, using the same dataset as this report, indicates that the top 25% of donors to all types of not-for-profit organizations accounted for 84% of the total value of donations.[15]

There is a slightly lower concentration of top donors in the arts and culture, where the top 25% of donors (the 240,000 people who contributed at least $130 in 2013) accounted for 76% of total donations.

Overall, the top 10% of donors gave two-thirds of donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations (66%). Again, the concentration is slightly lower among arts and culture organizations, where the top 10% of donors (the 101,000 Canadians who donated a minimum of $280) contributed 58% of total donations in 2013.

 

Demographics of arts and culture donors

Despite the relatively large sample size of the 2013 General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering, and Participating, the number of arts and culture donors is relatively small, and only a limited demographic profile is possible using the GSS-GVP.

Even with these limitations, an analysis of demographic information from the GSS-GVP (see Table 9) shows that arts and culture donors tend to be:

  • Very highly educated: 51% of arts and culture donors have a university degree, compared with 26% of the overall population (15 and older).
  •  Of both sexes: Exactly 50% of arts and culture donors are women, compared with 51% of the overall population.
  • From all income groups: The percentage of arts and culture donors is quite equal between five household income quintiles (that have 20% of all households in each).
  • Older than the overall population: The proportion of arts and culture donors 65 and older (29%) is much larger than this age group’s share of the overall population (18%).
  • Married or living common law: The proportion of married or common-law arts and culture donors (66%) is slightly higher than this group’s share of the overall population (62%).
  • Employed and unemployed in similar proportions to the overall population.

 

Provincial estimates of arts and culture donors

This section summarizes the estimated number of arts and culture donors in each province of Canada. The estimates of donors in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and each of the Atlantic provinces have a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution. In general, only the most extreme differences between the provinces’ arts and culture donor rates might be statistically significant. In other words, most of the differences outlined in this section could be attributed simply to the margin of error of the estimates.

The estimate of total donations to arts and culture organizations is reliable only in Ontario. In other provinces, estimates of donation amounts are not provided.

British Columbia

The 170,000 donors to arts and culture organizations in British Columbia represent 4% of the population 15 and older, which is slightly higher than the national average (3%). In B.C., arts and culture donors account for 6% of the province’s 3.1 million donors, also slightly higher than the national average (4%).

Alberta

In Alberta, the 133,000 arts and culture donors represent 4% of the population 15 and older, slightly above the national average (3%). The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 2.8 million donors is 5%, also slightly above the national average (4%). Note: The Alberta estimate of arts and culture donors has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Saskatchewan

The 32,000 donors in arts and culture organizations in Saskatchewan represent 4% of the population 15 and older, slightly above the Canadian average (3%). Arts and culture donors account for 4% of all 743,000 donors in Saskatchewan, equal to the national average. Note: The Saskatchewan estimate of arts and culture donors has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Manitoba

There are 49,000 arts and culture donors in Manitoba, or 5% of the overall population 15 and older, the highest proportion in the country. The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 866,000 donors (6%) is also above the Canadian average (4%).

Ontario

In Ontario, the 383,000 donors to arts and culture organizations represent 3% of the population 15 and older, equal to the national average. Arts and culture donors account for 4% of all 9.4 million Ontario donors, also equal to the national average. Donations by Ontarians to arts and culture organizations amounted to $50.6 million in 2013.

Quebec

There are 200,000 arts and culture donors in Quebec, or 3% of the overall population 15 and older, which is equal to the Canadian average. The arts and culture’s share of all 5.5 million Quebec donors is also equal to the Canadian average (4%).

New Brunswick

In New Brunswick, the 16,000 arts and culture donors represent 2% of the population 15 and older, slightly below the national average (3%). The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 525,000 donors is 3%, also slightly below the national average (4%). Note: The New Brunswick estimate of arts and culture donors has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Nova Scotia

The 24,000 donors in arts and culture organizations in Nova Scotia represent 3% of the population 15 and older, equal to the Canadian average. Arts and culture donors account for 4% of all 668,000 donors in Nova Scotia, also equal to the national average. Note: The Nova Scotia estimate of arts and culture donors has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Prince Edward Island

There are 2,000 arts and culture donors on Prince Edward Island, or 2% of the overall population 15 and older (slightly below the national average of 3%). The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 102,000 donors (2%) is also below than the Canadian average (4%). Note: The P.E.I estimate of arts and culture donors has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Newfoundland and Labrador

In Newfoundland and Labrador, the 6,000 arts and culture donors represent 2% of the population 15 and older, slightly below the Canadian average (3%). The arts and culture’s share of the province’s 377,000 donors is 2%, also below the national average (4%). Note: The Newfoundland and Labrador estimate of arts and culture donors has a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.

Arts and culture donor rate highest in the West

As shown in Figure 8, the arts and culture donor rate is highest in the four westernmost provinces: Manitoba (5%), British Columbia (4%), Alberta (also 4%), and Saskatchewan (also 4%). On the other hand, the overall donor rate varies only slightly between the provinces, with British Columbia having the lowest donor rate (78%).



[1] A comprehensive 2003 survey of not-for-profit organizations found that “almost two-thirds (63%) of arts and culture organizations are run entirely by volunteers, compared to 54% of all nonprofit and voluntary organizations”. Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada, a factsheet based on Statistics Canada’s 2003 National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations, Imagine Canada, 2006, p. 2.

[2] No distinction was made in the survey between gifts destined for operating costs, capital campaigns, or endowments. All of these components of giving are therefore included in the results.

[3] In this report, all computations, use, and interpretation of the data from Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering, and Participation are entirely that of Hill Strategies Research Inc.

[4] The overall response rate for the 2013 GSS-GVP was 46%. In the survey, volunteering and donations were not restricted to organizations with charitable status but covered all types of not-for-profit statuses.

[5] A full-time full-year job was calculated as 40 hours per week and 48 weeks per year. The estimated value of volunteer labour excludes benefits or other costs required to support an employee. The earnings data come from Statistics Canada, Earnings, average hourly for hourly paid employees, by industry, available at http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/labr74n-eng.htm.

[6] There was also a similar survey of volunteers and donors conducted in 2000. However, because of differences in survey content and methodology, comparisons with that dataset cannot be made.

[7] with at least 250,000 volunteers throughout the period

[8] The source of the statistics for all not-for-profit organizations (using the same dataset) is Volunteering in Canada, 2004 to 2013, Maire Sinha, Statistics Canada, June 18, 2015, page 5.

[9] The overall demographic data are based on the 2013 GSS-GVP dataset and may vary slightly from other population estimates.

[10] The 24.1 million Canadian donors to any type of not-for-profit organization represent 82% of all Canadians aged 15 or older.

[11] Based on the same dataset as the rest of this report, the Statistics Canada article Volunteering and charitable giving in Canada, (by Martin Turcotte, in Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, January 30, 2015) is the source for overall donations data.

[12] When rounded to one decimal point, the arts and culture’s share of donations increased from 1.0% to 1.3%.

[13] For which consistent data are available throughout the period

[14] a minimum amount was not specified in the survey question

[15] Volunteering and charitable giving in Canada, Martin Turcotte, in Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey, Statistics Canada, January 30, 2015.

 

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