Donating to charities is an expense Canadians are least likely to cut this holiday season

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December 2023

New findings from a recent Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of CanadaHelps reveals that amid current economic challenges, more Canadians would rather cut back on holiday gift-giving (35%) among family, friends, neighbours or coworkers than cut back on charitable donations (17%). This is encouraging news since one in five (20%) Canadians are currently relying on charities for essential needs, and 24% of Canadians are expected to turn to charities for help within the next six months.

This year, more Canadians are likely to say they do not give financially to charities (27%), and less are likely to say they will give the same amount this year as last year (39%). While 15% of Canadians expect to give more to charities this year, 19% plan to give less.

The Ipsos poll also included findings that signal other giving trends, which are discussed in greater depth below.

Physical Health Charities Are The Top Cause of Interest for Canadians

When asked to choose the top five causes that they are prioritizing through financial donations this year, almost half (46%) of Canadians said a physical health cause (e.g., cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease) followed by a mental health cause (23%,) and a food-insecurity cause (23%). Other popular causes include animals (26%), crisis relief (22%), education (20%), climate change (17%), and religious causes (14%). Among the causes that were ranked lowest are refugees and newcomers to Canada (e.g., from Ukraine, East Africa, etc.) (12%), anti-racism/social justice (9%), supporting Indigenous communities and reconciliation (7%), opioid/drug abuse (6%), arts and culture (5%), and other causes (12%).

Majority of Canadians Have Not Volunteered to Help Charities in the Last Six MonthsWhen asked if they have volunteered their time in the last six months, more than six in 10 Canadians (66%), said they had not. Two in ten Canadians (22%) reported volunteering their time at a charity or non-profit, while 11% stated that they volunteered through a mutual aid network and 5% volunteered at a protest. Canadians who have volunteered at a charity or non-profit in the last six months are among the highest in Alberta (27%), followed by Ontario and Atlantic Canada (23%), British Columbia (19%), Quebec (18%), and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (12%).

The Majority of Parents Talk to Their Kids About the Importance of GivingThe poll found that 71% of parents with children in the household discuss the importance of giving and how to support their favourite charitable causes. Among those who speak about charitable giving to the children in their life (both parents and non-parents), the highest proportion is in Alberta (47%), followed by Quebec (43%), Ontario (38%), British Columbia (37%), Atlantic Canada (31%), and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (30%).

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