Charities in Canada have withered as donations drop and demand rises, report says

Canadian charities are facing “unprecedented pressure” due to an expected drop in donations and an expected growth in demand due to the pandemic, according to a new report.

The Giving Report 2022, released Tuesday by a group called CanadaHelps, shows that one in four Canadians, or 26%, expect to use or are already using charitable services this year to meet their basic needs. According to the report, one in four Canadians, or 25%, expects to give less this year than they did last year.

This is the fifth annual report for CanadaHelps, an online giving platform. He looked at the impact of COVID-19 on charities, as well as generational differences in giving, the rate of declining giving and the growing need for charitable services, said Jacob O’Connor, vice president. mainstay of the platform’s charitable commitment.

“We’ve really been emphasizing the uncertainties that have resulted from the pandemic and the unprecedented pressure this has placed on the Canadian charitable sector,” O’Connor told CBC News.

“Donations have gone down, demand for services has gone up, and people’s propensity to give and ability to give has gone down as well. It’s kind of a triple whammy there.”

Donations down 12% from 2019 to 2021: projections

O’Connor said the pandemic has resulted in the cancellation of in-person fundraising events, including galas, races, walkathons and shows.

CanadaHelps forecast a 10% drop in donations in 2020 and a further 2% drop the following year, a 12% drop from 2019 to 2021.

O’Connor said the projections were based on Canada Revenue Agency tax filing data and a projection model. He said that there is a relationship, or a strong correlation, between gross domestic product and total donations in Canada. CanadaHelps used the OECD numbers and the correlation to make the 12% projection, he said.

“Canadians gave more online, but that didn’t offset the huge declines we saw in these other avenues,” he said.

According to the report, four out of five Canadians expect inflation and the effects of the pandemic to have a negative impact on their financial situation.

The Daily Bread Food Bank received around 55,000 customer visits per month before the pandemic. The number has now risen to 130,000. Donations have not tripled to keep pace, according to Neil Hetherington, CEO of the food bank. (Submitted by the Daily Bread Food Bank)

Neil Hetherington, CEO of Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank, said the results come as no surprise. The food bank received around 55,000 customer visits per month before the pandemic. That monthly number has grown to about 130,000. Donations have not tripled, he says.

“Our biggest concern is actually two years from now, when needs will peak in terms of use and donations will remain stagnant,” he said. “The need has increased much more than the donations.”

Inflationary pressures have led to an increase in the number of people needing the food bank, he added.

Younger generations give to social causes

O’Connor said the report also found a widening of what CanadaHelps calls a “donation gap,” the rate at which different age groups donate. The researchers found that Canadians aged 55 and older now gave twice the rate of Canadians aged 25 to 54.

“It’s a real problem. It’s something we need to address as a sector, to engage with these younger generations of donors, because this 55+ propensity to give isn’t going to last forever,” he said. he declared.

Younger generations, however, donate to social causes, as opposed to specific institutions or organizations, according to the report. “It gives some hope for the future,” O’Connor said.

In a press release, CanadaHelps said, “When young Canadians can afford it, they donate. Although some young Canadians are not giving financially today, many intend to give in the future.

“New donors who are younger, urban and diverse have all shown a propensity to give in response to urgent needs, especially when related to social justice causes,” CanadaHelps added.

The other conclusions were as follows:

  • The percentage of Canadians who donate continued to decline, with 25% of tax filers in 2006 reporting donations compared to 19% in 2019.
  • The annual rate of decline in giving by high-income earners, that is, those who earn more than $150,000, is more than double the rate for families with incomes between $20,000 and $99,000. $.

According to CanadaHelps, the report was developed using proprietary research and online giving data, which includes more than $465 million in donations from more than 968,000 Canadians in support of 31,700 charities. in Canada in 2021.

The report was produced with the assistance of Environics Analytics, which provided analysis and insight into trends in CanadaHelps data.