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The Culture of Volunteering and Donating: Helping Culture Organizations Between 1997 and 2000

October 17, 200517 October 2005

Article Link
http://www.statcan.ca:8096/bsolc/english/bsolc?catno=87-004-XIE

This brief article in the Statistics Canada publication Focus on Culture gives a glimpse of some key statistics concerning arts and culture volunteers and donors in Canada in 1997 and 2000. Regarding donations, the article notes that an estimated $48 million was donated to arts and culture organizations in 2000, up 21% from 1997. The amount donated to arts and culture organizations in 2000 represents about 1% of the total $4.9 billion donated to all types of organizations. Most donations went to religious, health and social service organizations. Interestingly, the number of donations decreased by 22% between 1997 and 2000, meaning that more money came from fewer donors. In fact, one quarter of donors gave 76% of total donations to arts and culture organizations.

The volunteer pool for arts and culture organizations decreased by 22% between 1997 and 2000. However, average hours per volunteer increased significantly, so that total hours volunteered in arts and culture organizations decreased by only 2% between 1997 and 2000. The report notes that “a core group of culture volunteers (only one quarter of them) contributed almost three quarters of the total volunteer hours for culture organizations”.

Hill Strategies is preparing two separate in-depth reports on arts and culture volunteers and donors, to be released in the fall of 2003, that will provide context and insight regarding Statistics Canada’s figures from 1987, 1997 and 2000. Our preliminary research has discovered a separate Statistics Canada study of volunteers (“Volunteering in Canada in the 1980s: Change and Stasis”) that indicates that 1997 may have been a strong year for volunteerism in Canada, due to the mediocre job market (in contrast to 2000’s strong job market) and the influx of youth volunteers. It is possible that some volunteers in 1997 were no longer available in 2000 due to the improved labour market. The younger volunteers, who contributed relatively small amounts of time in 1997, may have fallen out of the “volunteer market”. Both of these factors may have contributed to the 22% decrease in the number of arts and culture volunteers. This contextual information, as well as any demographic analysis of volunteers or donors, is not included in the Focus on Culture report but will be a key part of the Hill Strategies reports.

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