Apr 10, 2018

Charities and non-profits must lessen reliance on aging, affluent donors

Canadians give more than $14 billion annually, but current demographic trends suggest revenues will decline significantly over time if action not taken

Ottawa, April 10, 2018 – The long-term viability of Canada’s charitable sector depends on higher donation rates among younger and new Canadians, according to a study released today by the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF) in partnership with Imagine Canada.

The landmark report, titled 30 Years of Giving in Canada, examines charitable donations and giving patterns from 1985 to 2014. The research was conducted by Imagine Canada for the RHF, which was established by the Right Honourable David Johnston, 28th Governor General of Canada, to amplify the reach of the Office of Governor General, and serve Canadians through initiatives linked to giving, leadership, learning and innovation.

The study finds donors aged 50 and older account for nearly three quarters (74 per cent) of all donations, while those 70 and older make up 30 per cent of gifts. The research also reveals donations are declining across all age categories and the pool of older Canadians giving higher donations is shrinking.

“Both younger and new Canadians are fertile ground for increasing donation rates”, says Mr. Johnston. “The research shows these cohorts are motivated to help others, serve the community and advance causes they personally believe in. Like the Baby Boom generation, which has sustained charities for the past 30 years, Generation X, upcoming generations and new Canadians understand strong philanthropy is essential to Canada’s future as a caring society.”

Key findings related to the future of philanthropy:

  • New citizens tend to give more than native-born citizens. The average donation by a naturalized citizen is $672 compared to $509 among those born in Canada.
  • Giving by non-citizens is also significant. Among the 75 per cent of non-citizens who give annually, the average donation is $450.
  • New Canadians prioritize slightly different causes. They are more likely to give to religious organizations, international relief and hospitals as well as causes related to law, advocacy and politics.
  • As barriers to giving, young Canadians are more likely to cite not being asked to give more and not knowing where to donate. They also express higher levels of trust their gift will be used effectively and efficiently.
  • Women have steadily gained ground as a percentage of donors since 1985 due to increased workforce participation and rising incomes. In 2014, 41 per cent of all donors were women. Based on past giving trends, this donation share will accelerate as more women achieve income parity with men.

“This report provides an essential understanding of the demographic trends re-shaping the future of philanthropy in Canada,” says Bruce MacDonald, president and CEO of Imagine Canada. “Charity and non-profit leaders need to be asking questions about their vital sources of revenue in light of donor shifts highlighted in this report.

This analysis will also serve to provide much needed data to inform the important dialogue between sector leaders and government to strengthen civil society and enable social good organizations to thrive.”

The 30 Years of Giving in Canada report can be downloaded by visiting rhf-frh.ca/30years or imaginecanada.ca/30years.


About the Rideau Hall Foundation

The Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF) was established during the mandate of the Right Honourable David Johnston to strengthen the ability of the Office of the Governor General to better serve Canadians through a range of initiatives linked to learning, leadership, giving, and innovation. Together we are helping to build a better Canada.

rhf-frh.ca | Twitter: @RideauHallFdn | Facebook: facebook.com/FondationRideauHallFoundation


About Imagine Canada

Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities and non-profits. Our three broad goals are to strengthen the sector’s collective voice, create opportunities to connect and learn from each other and build the sector’s capacity to succeed.

imaginecanada.ca | Twitter: @ImagineCanada | Facebook: facebook.com/ImagineCanada


For further information:

Leslie Booth [English Media]                    Sophie Allard [médias francophones]
Senior Consultant, Xposure PR               514-499-3030, poste 771
905-339-2209, ext. 6                                     sa@ahcom.ca

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