Charity resources strained by rise in demand amid continuing drop in Canadians giving: report

As Canadians face increasing financial pressures, they are unable to give to charities as much as before, according to a new report — all while those same financial pressures mean charities are seeing a huge increase in demand from those who rely on them.

CanadaHelps released their 2022 Giving Report this week, which found that the rate at which Canadians are giving to charities is continuing to drop, even as the need for help grows, with experts projecting that the total drop in giving from 2019 to 2021 could be as big as 12 per cent.

“This year’s edition of The Giving Report reveals alarming trends in giving participation rates, the ability for Canadians to give, and the rising demand for charitable services,” Marina Glogovac, President and CEO of CanadaHelps, said in a press release.

“While the report underscores that the need is urgent and all Canadians who are in the position to do so must give what they can this year, there is room for optimism. The vast majority of Canadians understand the critical role charities have in keeping Canada strong, and while there are differences between generations in how we give and the causes that matter to us, younger Canadians want to give and intend to give when they are able.”

CanadaHelps is a public foundation that provides support to charities in Canada as well as running the country’s largest platform for Canadians to host fundraisers and to donate.

The report, which used data from online surveys conducted in 2021 and 2022 as well as data from StatisticsCanada, found that in 2019, just 19 per cent of Canadians claimed donations on their taxes, compared to 25 per cent in 2006.

The biggest drop in those claiming charitable donations on their taxes since 2006 was in those aged 40-54 years old, as well as families in higher income brackets.

Experts stated that the giving gap between different age groups is also growing, with charities increasingly relying on a narrowing group of older donors.

The only age group that saw an increase in giving, at a rate of 3.9 per cent each year from 2006-2019, was Canadians aged 55 years and older.

“When older Canadians are no longer able to give and if younger generations do not increase their giving, charities will need to make up for this gap in funding,” the release stated.

CanadaHelps said in the report that their research shows that four out of five Canadians anticipate inflation and the continuing impact of the pandemic to negatively impact their financial situation moving forward.

A quarter of Canadians stated they will probably be giving to charities less in 2022 than they did in 2021, according to the report, while another quarter of Canadians said they either already use or expect to use charitable resources in 2022.

There are around 86,000 registered charities in Canada, according to the report, and they employ roughly 10 per cent of the full-time workforce in our country, even though 58 per cent are run entirely by volunteers.

Not all is lost — the report stated that younger Canadians do give if they have the means to do so. And many of those who can’t give have expressed that they intend to in the future. The report noted that younger Canadians tend to be invested in social justice causes and respond well to digital campaigns.

“If you are unable to give financially, we encourage you to give with your time, or use your voice to bring visibility to the shortfalls threatening the basic needs of fellow Canadians,” says Glogovac. “And, if you are among the one in three Canadians who have accumulated more discretionary income during the pandemic, donate generously. How we all get through this time will shape the Canada of tomorrow.” 

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