New Research Shows Surprising Trends in Canadian Philanthropy

New Research Shows Surprising Trends in Canadian Philanthropy
18 Sep 2021

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The whole gamut of social truths revealed by the pandemic and even the pandemic itself will no doubt be researched for decades. Recently released research from CanadaHelps shows notable shifts in charitable giving in the nation since the pandemic’s onset. Though challenges were made starkly apparent, including a projected overall 10% decline in giving, there were also some positive findings.

The Giving Report 2021 is data-driven, was created via collaboration with Environics Analytics and includes the recently introduced Online Giving Index (OGI).

“Since the declaration of the pandemic by the World Health Organization in March 2020, the OGI shows online giving accelerating suddenly in nine of 10 charitable categories at the fastest rate in four years,” according to Hilborn: Charity eNews.

Allen Davidov, senior vice president & practice leader at Environics Analytics, noted that although not-for-profit and charitable organizations have been hit hard by the pandemic, it is encouraging to see younger people taking action and giving online.

“Online giving has proved to be a saving grace for charities during the pandemic,” Glogovac said, stating that online fundraising has become a primary focus for organizations.

CanadaHelps was able to create a projection in order to understand the implications of the pandemic on Canadian charities using all available data from the Canadian Revenue Agency. The projected 10% decline in charitable giving pushed donations to 2016 levels, however online donations saw unprecedented acceleration when 1.1 million Canadians donated more than $480 million online through CanadaHelps – more than double what was donated online in 2019.

In essence, online donations are helping keep nonprofits afloat during challenging times, according to Marina Glogovac, president and chief executive officer of CanadaHelps.

The top four charitable categories that saw the fastest growth in online giving include charities supporting environmental efforts, Indigenous Peoples, social services, and health.

“What is especially encouraging is the growing interest we are seeing in supporting smaller, local charities and social causes,” she said.

While a giving gap remains between age groups with boomers clearly outshining their younger counterparts, the study finds that younger Canadians are motivated to donate for social and racial justice causes.

Further, many philanthropic organizations and the donors who support them are leaning more toward sustainable development. Just prior to the pandemic, the Stanford Social Innovation Review noted that philanthropy has started betting big to address social issues targeted by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In fact, $23 billion was spent in scaling up and implementing projects. Examples of Canadian organizations focused on those efforts include Emergency Relief and Development Overseas (ERDO), Amazing Love Development Organization (ALDO) and WE Charity.

The pandemic also motivated donors to give locally, feeling compelled to support their communities. Charities often facilitated those local efforts, paving the way for community members to support frontline workers, hospitals and health services. All such sectors saw significant increases in donations.

“This includes donations of $5.1 million to approximately 630 charities responding to the pandemic through two of CanadaHelps’ Cause Funds, the Healthcare and Hospital Fund and the Community Care Fund,” according to the Hilborn: Charity eNews article.

While the pandemic revealed the frailty of humankind, it also revealed strengths. The resilience of the human spirit combined with impactful philanthropic donations combined to create pleasant surprises about the resilience of the human spirit.

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Craig Silva

Craig is a husband, a father, team leader, travel and food writer, senior youth group coordinator, designer, brander, community builder, volunteer, and social media strategist. Craig likes to travel, go camping, go on road trips, watch movies, build stuff, operate the grill, and sing with his band. Craig is a member of the Travel Media Association of Canada. In June 2017, PR firm Cision identified Craig as one of Canada’s top 10 most popular male bloggers in the parents and family space.

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