Statistics Canada releases information on charitable donations in 2020

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April 2022

Statistics Canada has issued new information on charitable donors in the year 2020. Click here to read the full release, which includes detailed demographic information.

Total donation amounts reported by tax filers increased to close to $10.6 billion (+2.7%) in 2020, while the total number of donors decreased (-0.6%), continuing the decline that started in 2011. The median donation amount was $340, which represents a 9.7% increase from 2019.

The COVID-19 pandemic does not appear to have had a significant impact on donations reported by tax filers. Donations in 2020 do not show significant changes when compared with those observed over the previous few years. Rather, the changes appear to be the continuation of longer-term trends. As mentioned in Statistics Canada‚Äôs release on the annual wages, salaries and commissions of T1 tax filers, 2020, lower-earning workers were most affected by the pandemic. However, tax filers in this income group are typically not the ones driving trends for total donation amounts.

In 2020, the trend of a decreasing number of charitable donors continued. This result was driven in part by a more pronounced drop in the number of tax filers donating less than $100 (-6.5%, or -86,340 tax filers). However, when the overall donation amount is considered, this decline in smaller donations was offset by an increased number of larger donations. The number of tax filers who donated $1,000 or more increased by 48,630 (+3.4%), and these tax filers represented 28.8% of all donors in 2020 (up from 27.7% in 2019). Within the latter group, there was a decrease in the number of those who donated $500,000 or more (-3.4%), but the total donation amount for these donors nevertheless increased (+0.3%).

While younger donors became more prevalent, charitable donations in 2020 continued to come mainly from older donors. Similarly to 2019, about $9 out of every $20 came from donors aged 65 and older. The older the age group, the more likely a tax filer was to report donations when filing taxes.

The total amount of donations from tax filers aged 65 and older increased by 2.6%. Those aged 65 and older also represented the largest proportion of donors among all age groups in 2020 as almost one-third (32.2%) of donors were in this age group. From 2019 to 2020, the proportion of donors among older tax filers decreased (-1.8 percentage points) as it did for most age groups. However, older tax filers were more likely than younger donors to make larger donations, and they had the highest median donation ($550). This was more than double that of the 35 to 44 age group ($260).

In 2020, the total amount of donations for those aged 0 to 24 increased by 19.1%. The total number of donors aged 0 to 24 rose 22.8%, and they represented 4.0% of all the donors in Canada, up 0.8 percentage points from 3.2% in 2019. This is also the only age group in which tax filers were actually more likely to donate in 2020 (6.7%) than in 2019 (4.8%). Despite the increasing presence of younger donors, their median donation ($50) remained the lowest among all age groups.

As total income goes up, so does the median donation. In 2020, the median donation for tax filers with at least $150,000 in income was $820. These donors represented about 1 in 10 donors, but they provided 40.5% of the total donation amount in 2020.

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