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Sector Monitor vol. 3 no 2

November 13, 201313 November 2013

Arts and culture funding and finances

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Based on an online survey with 1,909 respondents between November 2012 and January 2013 (representing leaders from many different types of charitable organizations), this report provides a broad overview of the current situation of the not-for-profit sector in Canada and the confidence of charity leaders given the current economic and social context. The survey, which excluded religious congregations, achieved a response rate of 33%.

While 44% of charity leaders indicated that their expenditures had increased over the past year, only 24% saw an increase in revenues. One-quarter of all organizations (26%) had a decrease in revenues over the past year. Only 10% saw their expenditures decrease.

Almost two-thirds of charities (62%) indicated that their paid staff levels had remained the same over the past year. Another 22% of charities had an increase in paid staff, while 16% experienced a decrease. The picture is quite similar for volunteer levels: 66% of charities experienced almost no change in volunteers, 23% had an increase, and 11% saw a decrease.

Overall, this edition of the Sector Monitor is less pessimistic than previous editions, with stability in some statistics that had previously worsened, including the percentage of charity leaders predicting that they will be weaker in the near and medium terms or predicting that they will experience decreases in human and financial resources.

That being said, the report estimates that about one in seven charities show signs of being under high stress due to difficulties in fulfilling the organization’s mission, increased demand for their services (which is a negative indicator for most charities but a positive one in the arts), and feeling that the existence of the organization was at risk. In general, the larger the charity, the less likely it is to be under high stress.

A similar proportion of organizations in the broad area of arts, culture, recreation, and sports (13%) appears to be under high stress as other charitable organizations (14%). Just over one-half (54%) of arts, culture, recreation, and sports organizations were not considered to be under stress, a proportion that is similar to the average for all charitable organizations (52%).

Another stress factor is severe financial pressures, such as the possibility of having difficulties covering expenses in the near future. Thirty percent of charities indicated that they might have difficulty covering their expenses in the next 12 months.

The report concludes that, “while the size of the shifts in individual measures is not currently large enough to be statistically certain that this marks a reversal, multiple indicators are showing small shifts in a more optimistic direction”.

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