Charitable donations down as pressure on charities increases

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A new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of CanadaHelps, the country’s largest
platform for donating and fundraising online, confirms that 32% of Canadians have more discretionary income amid the pandemic. Data from RBC suggests that Canadians saved a record amount in 2020, amassing an extra $280 billion. Of those with extra cash in hand, only 17% have donated some of the excess funds to charity. The poll also looked at overall giving and revealed that only 12% of Canadians increased their donations amid the pandemic, while nearly 2 in 10 (18%) reduced how much they gave to charities. The remainder of respondents fall into two groups: 25% that don’t give any money to charity and 45% that have not changed how much they give to charity. These are concerning trends at a time when 42% of charities are not able to meet the increased need for their services.

On a regional basis, those living in Saskatchewan and Manitoba (25%) are most likely to have reduced their charitable giving, followed by residents of British Columbia and Ontario (21%), Alberta and Atlantic Canada (16%), and Quebec (10%). 21% of women and 14% of men scaled back their charitable giving.

“At a time when charities are facing an unprecedented demand for services, we would like to see more Canadians donating to charity,” said Marina Glogovac, President and CEO of CanadaHelps. “For nearly two years, many Canadian charities have had the challenging task of trying to meet increased demand for their services while facing significant drops in income and reduced capacity. As the holiday season is a critical time for charities, our ask of Canadians is to donate what they can to a charity or a cause they care about.” Earlier this year, CanadaHelps published its annual Giving Report and projected that overall charitable giving in 2020 declined by 10%, falling to 2016 levels.

According to the poll, 17% of those aged 18 – 34 increased their giving while only 9% of those aged 35 – 54 and 12% of those 55 years and older increased their giving. Ontario residents (15%) were more likely to give more, followed by those living in British Columbia and Alberta (13%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (10%), Quebec (9%), and Atlantic Canada
(6%).

“In our past Giving Reports we identified a concerning giving gap, with younger
generations not giving as much to charity as older generations,” said Glogovac. “Insights from this new poll offer an encouraging sign that gives us much hope for the future.”

Of the 32% of Canadians with extra money in their pockets during this health crisis, 56% have either invested or saved any surplus funds, while 26% have used the money to renovate or repair their homes. A quarter (25%) have purchased material goods and experiences, and 31% have taken the opportunity to pay off debt with the extra cash

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