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Individual Donors to Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2004

January 11, 200711 January 2007

Volunteers & donors / Nonprofit sector information

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Over the last few years, many cultural organizations have been raising funds to build new spaces, renew older buildings, develop endowment funds or cover operating expenses. This report from Hill Strategies Research provides a picture of arts and culture fundraising in 2004. The report shows that 732,000 Canadians 15 years of age or older made financial donations worth a total of $188 million to arts and culture organizations in 2004. This represents a record level of donations by individuals to arts and culture organizations – much higher than amounts captured in surveys conducted in 2000 and 1997.

The report examines data from custom tabulations that Hill Strategies Research commissioned from Statistics Canada based on the 2004 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP). This national survey questioned a very large and statistically representative sample of Canadians 15 or older (20,832 people) about their financial gifts to all types of not-for-profit organizations in the 12 months preceding the survey.

A clear challenge for arts and culture organizations is to sustain the fundraising momentum that they have built through time-limited or project-specific campaigns. It will be interesting to examine the level of individual donations to arts and culture organizations in the next survey on this topic, scheduled for 2007.

The $188 million donated to arts and culture organizations represents, on average, a donation of $257 per arts and culture donor. This average annual donation ranks arts and culture organizations very highly compared with other non-profit organizations. Religious organizations rank far above all other non-profit organizations, with an average annual donation of $395 per donor. Arts and culture organizations are essentially tied with universities and colleges for the second highest average donation ($258 for universities and colleges vs. $257 for the arts and culture).

There is certainly strong competition for donors from other non-profit sectors. With $188 million in donations – 2.1% of total donations to all types of non-profit organizations – the arts and culture rank eighth out of 11 types of non-profit organizations. Religious organizations receive nearly half of all donations ($4.0 billion), followed by health organizations ($1.2 billion) and social service organizations ($903 million). Arts and culture organizations receive less than sports and recreation organizations ($212 million) but more than universities and colleges ($129 million).

Demographic analysis in the report shows that Canadians with a university degree are much more likely to donate to arts and culture organizations than the national average, with 6.7% of university graduates donating to the arts and culture compared with 2.8% of all Canadians. The arts and culture donation rate is also relatively high for older Canadians, as 3.6% of Canadians between 45 and 64 and 4.7% of Canadians 65 or older donated to an arts and culture organization in 2004. Women are slightly more likely than men to donate to arts and culture organizations.

Other factors that have an influence on individuals’ appreciation of the arts and culture cannot be analyzed from this survey. For example, it is not possible to examine individuals’ previous experiences with the arts, particularly formative arts education experiences.

The report summarizes the number of arts and culture donors in each province and provides rough estimates of the value of donations to arts and culture organizations by region. British Columbians are most likely to donate to arts and culture organizations (3.5% of B.C. residents did so in 2004), followed by Ontarians (3.3%) and Prairie residents (3.2%). The other three regions have arts and culture donation rates below the national average (2.8%): the three northern territories (2.2%), the Atlantic provinces (also 2.2%) and Quebec (1.5%).

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