CanadaHelps’ 2024 Giving Report reveals the number of Canadians donating to charity hits lowest point in recent history

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April 2024

CanadaHelps released the seventh edition of The Giving Report, an annual look at the charitable sector and the state of giving. The Giving Report 2024: From Disconnection to Collective Action highlights significant declines in the number of Canadians donating to charities, while thousands of charities struggle to meet heightened demand for their services, and the level of disconnection experienced by Canadians is making it harder for individuals to see how they can make an impact. The complete report is available online here

Key Findings from The Giving Report 2024

The report – which was created with the support of Imagine Canada, along with presenting partner and data provider Environics Analytics – reveals new data relating to the state of giving in Canada and the health of the charitable sector. Key findings include:

  • Giving participation decline: For the eleventh consecutive year, the number of Canadians making charitable donations has decreased. Over that time, Canada Revenue Agency tax filer data shows donation rates declined from 23.4 percent in 2010 to 17.7 percent in 2021. Similar findings were also highlighted which reveals that giving participation dropped from 82 percent in 2013 to 60 percent in our 2023 survey.
  • Canadians with smaller social networks donate and volunteer less: Canadians are increasingly disconnected, and their social networks have shrunk; this correlates with lower rates of giving. From 2013 to 2022, the number of Canadians with six or more close friends has declined by 40 percent (from 37% to 22%), and those who feel a very strong sense of belonging to their community have dropped by 12 percentage points. More than 80 percent (84%) of those with many close friends donate, while just over half (53%) of those with very few close friends donate.
  • There is a gap between what Canadians say is important and the action they take: Only 1.5 percent of donations made through CanadaHelps are directed to environmental charities, despite 32 percent of Canadians saying climate change or protecting the environment is a top cause for them, and almost half (48 percent) of Canadians expressing anxiety about climate change on at least somewhat of a regular basis.
  • Demand for charitable services is high: More than half (57 percent) of charities are unable to meet current levels of demand, which speaks to the gap between the growing challenges charities face and their ability to provide support. According to an Ipsos survey commissioned by CanadaHelps last fall, one in five Canadians was using charitable services to meet essential needs in 2023. Almost seven in ten (69 percent) said this was the first time they relied on charity.

The Giving Report also reveals several other major contributing factors to the decline in the number of charitable donations or giving participation, including:

  • Financial strain exacerbated by inflation and economic uncertainty. 
  • Lack of clarity around the impact of charitable donations.
  • Diminishing engagement of younger Canadians in charitable giving versus previous generations. This presents a significant concern for the future of charities, which have become increasingly reliant on older donors.
  • Declining religiosity among Canadians.

From 2019 to 2023, online donations through CanadaHelps almost doubled, one of the brightest findings from The Giving Report. Monthly giving also continues to grow, increasing by 11 percent, likely as a result of affordability issues persisting and Canadians budgeting for planned giving. Donations of securities also continue to increase rapidly, rising by 32 percent in 2023. Suburban and rural families were also the only demographic showing growth in donations.

About The Giving Report 2024

The Giving Report 2024 brings together critical insights and analysis from several data sources. To help Canadians understand the challenges charities are facing and the importance of their giving, CanadaHelps commissioned Leger Opinion to conduct an online survey. Completed by 1,230 Canadians, the study provides an authoritative look at the state of the charitable sector today. The report also uses the vast volumes of CanadaHelps’ online giving data, which includes more than $430 million in donations from more than 839,000 Canadians in support of thousands of charities across Canada in 2023 alone. Environics Analytics provided analysis and insights into demographic, financial, psychographic, and behavioural trends in CanadaHelps data. Imagine Canada provided deeper analysis and data verification of various data from the Canada Revenue Agency.

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