CanadaHelps, the country's largest platform for donating and fundraising online, has released its fifth annual report on the charitable sector and the state of giving.
“This year's edition of ‘The Giving Report’ reveals alarming trends in giving participation rates, the ability for Canadians to give, and the rising demand for charitable services,” CanadaHelps president and chief executive officer Marina Glogovac said in a media release.
“While the report underscores that the need is urgent and all Canadians who are in the position to do so must give what they can this year, there is room for optimism.
“The vast majority of Canadians understand the critical role charities have in keeping Canada strong, and while there are differences between generations in how we give and the causes that matter to us, younger Canadians want to give and intend to give when they are able.”
CanadaHelps projects a decline of 12 per cent in total giving from 2019 to 2021 due to pandemic impacts and inflationary concerns.
Four out of five Canadians expect inflation and/or the prolonged impacts of the pandemic will negatively impact their financial situation. As a result, 26 per cent expect to use or are already using charitable services in 2022 to meet their basic needs, rising from 11 per cent. At the same time, 25 per cent expect to give less this year than they did in 2021, challenging the capacity of charities to meet growing demand.
While those aged 55 and up increased their charitable donations by an average of 3.9 per cent each year from 2006 to 2019, those 40 to 54, 26 to 39 and 18 to 25 decreased the amount they give each year by an average of 3.1, 1.6 and 2.1 per cent respectively during the same time period, creating a crucial gap in funding for charities.
When older Canadians are no longer able to give, and if younger generations don’t increase their giving, charities will need to make up for this gap in funding.
The percentage of Canadians who give has also continued to decline, with 25 per cent of 2006 tax filers claiming donations versus 19 per cent in 2019. The most acute decline was with 40- to 54-year-olds and families in higher income brackets. The annual rate of decline in giving by those who earn more than $150,000 annually is more than double the rate for families with incomes between $20,000 and $99,000.
When younger Canadians have the means, they donate. While some don’t give financially today, many have the intention to give in the future. Looking at both younger Canadians that give today and those that don’t, there are high levels of trust in charities.
Younger Canadians are technology- and tax-savvy, expect digital engagement and look for innovative ways to give such as donating online, with cryptocurrency or through other cost-effective approaches like donations of securities.
While fewer younger Canadians make financial donations, many donate and express their generosity in other ways. This can include volunteering, fundraising, attending protests or spreading the word about a charity or cause.
While mental health is a top five cause supported across all generations, other top causes supported by younger generations are climate change and racial justice. Older generations prioritize medical research and treatment, senior care and poverty in Canada.
New donors that are younger, urban and diverse all showed a propensity to give in response to urgent needs, especially when related to social justice causes. CanadaHelps has prioritized the need to engage and cultivate new donors by understanding, evolving and enhancing its services to meet their preferences and expectations.
As an example, UniteforChange.com, the new home of cause funds by CanadaHelps, is designed to spotlight the most pressing causes of our day and provide the highly educational content that younger Canadians expect.
“If you are unable to give financially, we encourage you to give with your time, or use your voice to bring visibility to the shortfalls threatening the basic needs of fellow Canadians,” said Glogovac in the release.
“And, if you are among the one in three Canadians who have accumulated more discretionary income during the pandemic, donate generously. How we all get through this time will shape the Canada of tomorrow.”
“The Giving Report 2022” was developed using proprietary research and vast volumes of CanadaHelps online giving data, including more than $465 million in donations from more than 968,000 Canadians in support of 31,700 charities across Canada in 2021 alone. The complete report is available online here.
CanadaHelps is a public foundation advancing philanthropy through technology. It powers CanadaHelps.org, a safe and trusted destination for discovering and supporting any charity in Canada, and UniteforChange.com, where Canadians can learn about causes and easily support the collective work of charities addressing a cause they care about.
CanadaHelps also develops affordable fundraising technology used by more than 25,000 charities as well as free training and education so that, regardless of size, all charities have the capacity to increase their impact and succeed in the digital age. Since 2000, more than 3.4 million people have given more than $2.1 billion through CanadaHelps.