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Volunteers and Donors in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada

October 17, 200517 October 2005

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The donors report ( shows that 451,000 Canadians 15 years of age or older made direct financial donations worth about $47.9 million to arts and culture organizations in 2000. The 451,000 donors represent 2.4% of donors to all types of non-profit organizations, while the $47.9 million in donations represents 1.0% of financial donations to all types of non-profit organizations in Canada. The number of donors in 2000 represents a 21% decrease over the estimated 571,000 donors in 1997. Despite the decrease in the number of donors, the value of donations increased significantly, from $39.4 million in 1997 to $47.9 million in 2000. This increase – 22% – is double the rate of increase in the value of donations to any type of non-profit organization (11%).

A separate report on volunteers ( shows that 351,000 Canadians 15 years of age or older volunteered for arts and culture organizations in Canada in 2000. This figure represents 5.4% of all volunteers in Canada and 1.4% of the Canadian population 15 years of age or older. The 351,000 arts and culture volunteers in 2000 represent a 22% increase over the estimated 288,000 volunteers in 1987. However, the 2000 figure is a 22% decrease from the high of 452,000 arts and culture volunteers estimated based on a 1997 survey.

Canadians who volunteered with arts and culture organizations provided about 51.9 million volunteer hours in 2000 – a 43% increase from 1987. The 51.9 million volunteer hours is equivalent to about 27,000 full-time, full-year jobs (at 40 hours per week and 48 weeks per year). Using the average hourly wage in Canadian arts, entertainment and recreation industries in September 2000 ($13.24), this volunteer contribution can be valued at $690 million.

The number of donors to arts and culture organizations – 451,000 – is less than half of an estimate of the number of Canadians who attend more than 10 arts performances, festivals and public art gallery exhibitions in a year. These figures appear to show that there is significant room for donor development in the arts and culture, but the report recognizes that donor development in the arts and culture can have many obstacles.

The reports examine the demographic characteristics of arts and culture donors and volunteers and provide provincial estimates of donors, donations, volunteers, volunteer hours and the value of the volunteer workforce.

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