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Charitable giving by Canadians

Canadian Social Trends, April 16, 2012

May 29, 201329 May 2013

Volunteers and donors

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Based on the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, a survey of 15,482 Canadians 15 and over, this article highlights the donations made by individuals in 2010 to not-for-profit organizations.

The report notes that 94% of Canadians made a donation of some kind, including 84% who donated money, 79% who gave clothing, toys, or household items, and 62% who donated food. A small percentage of Canadians (3%) have established financial donations as part of their will.

Financial donations totalled $10.6 billion in 2010, which represented a very small (and not statistically significant) increase from 2007. (All of the figures in this article are adjusted for inflation.)

The average amount donated per donor was $446 in 2010, a slight (and not statistically significant) decrease from $457 in 2007. The median, or typical, amount was $123 per donor in 2010, essentially unchanged from 2007 ($125).

Over 91 million separate donations were made in 2010, an average of almost four per donor. Each donation amounted to $114 on average.

Women donate more commonly than men (86% donor rate for women vs. 82% for men), but both sexes give similar average amounts. As was the case in previous surveys, individuals with a university degree and higher household incomes are more likely to make donations and tend to donate larger amounts. People who volunteer are also more likely to donate, and they tend to give larger amounts. Canadians 55 years of age or older, as well as those without children at home, also tend to make larger-than-average donations (but do not have higher donation rates).

The article indicates that the top 25% of donors – Canadians who donate a minimum of $358 each – represent 83% of all donations. The top 10% of donors (minimum $995) represent nearly two-thirds of all donations (63%). Groups that tend to be top donors include those 75 or over, widows and widowers, university graduates, and those with high household incomes.

Among the provinces and territories, the average donation is highest for residents of Alberta ($562), Saskatchewan ($544), and British Columbia ($543) but lowest in Quebec ($208) and Newfoundland and Labrador ($331). Other jurisdictions with above-average donation levels are Ontario ($526), Manitoba ($519), Yukon ($514), and Prince Edward Island ($479). The donor rate is highest in Newfoundland and Labrador (92%), Prince Edward Island (91%), New Brunswick (88%), and Nova Scotia (88%).

Among different types of not-for-profit organizations, religious organizations receive the highest amounts (40% of the total value of donations, albeit a significant decrease from 46% in 2007), followed by health organizations (15%), and social service organizations (11%). Donations to arts and culture organizations represent 1% of donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations.

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