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Caring Canadians, Involved Canadians

Highlights from the 2007 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating

July 16, 200916 July 2009

Volunteers, donors and non-profit resources

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This report, based on a representative sample of 20,500 Canadians, provides basic information about volunteers and donors in the entire non-profit sector in 2007. The report also provides some statistics specifically related to arts and culture volunteers in 2007, which obviously pre-dates the current recessionary environment.

Regarding volunteers, the report notes that “12.5 million Canadians, or 46% of the population aged 15 and over, volunteered their time through a group or organization”. These 12.5 million volunteers contributed 2.1 billion hours – the equivalent of 1.1 million full-time jobs – to all types of organizations. The average number of volunteer hours was 166 per person in 2007. The overall volunteer rate was essentially unchanged from 2004, and the average number of volunteer hours decreased very slightly during the same timeframe.

Four types of organizations were most successful in attracting volunteers: sports and recreation organizations; social services organizations; education and research organizations; and religious organizations. Each of these four types of organizations attracted 10% or 11% of Canadians. The number of volunteer hours was dominated by the same four types of organizations.

The report estimates that 3% of the Canadian population (15 and over) volunteered in an arts and culture organization in 2007, the same percentage as in 2004. These arts and culture volunteers provided an average of 107 hours each, an 11% decrease from the average of 120 hours in 2004. The total number of hours volunteered in arts and culture organizations represents 4% of the hours volunteered to all types of organizations in 2007, the same percentage as in 2004.

Regarding financial donations, the report notes that $10 billion was donated by the 23 million Canadians who reported giving some money to a charitable or other non-profit organization. The $10 billion in donations in 2007 is an increase from $8.9 billion in 2004. Overall, 84% of the population 15 years of age or over reported a donation. The average donation level (on a yearly basis) was $437, an increase from $400 in 2004.

Religious organizations received the largest share of total donations (46%), followed by health organizations (15%) and social services organizations (10%).

The report estimates that 3% of Canadians 15 and over donated to an arts and culture organization in 2007. No other statistics regarding arts and culture donors or donations are provided in the report.

Over one-half of the population of five provinces and territories volunteered (in any type of non-profit organization) in 2007: Saskatchewan (59% volunteer rate), the Yukon (58%), PEI (56%), Nova Scotia (55%) and Alberta (52%). The highest donor rates (to any type of non-profit organization) were in Newfoundland and Labrador (91%), Prince Edward Island (89%), New Brunswick (88%), Nova Scotia (87%), and Manitoba (87%). The highest average levels of donations were in Alberta ($596), the Northwest Territories ($550), the Yukon ($530) and Manitoba ($520).

The report provides evidence that those who help out in one way tend to help in many ways. For example, 91% of volunteers also donated money in 2007, a figure that is higher than the overall donation rate of 84%. Similarly, 50% of donors also volunteered in 2007, higher than the overall volunteer rate of 46%. In addition, donation levels and volunteer hours are highest for those who do many activities for organizations.

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