Charitable Donations Up But Shakey
(TORONTO, ON) - Following the economic crunch that began in the fall of 2008, Canadians have felt more positive about giving to charitable organizations, but that is a feeling that may not last. This is the key finding of a study conducted by Ipsos Reid on Canadians and their charitable habits. Comparing a similar 2009 study to the recent 2011 study, Ipsos found that 69% of Canadians have made a financial donation to a charitable organization in the past year. That’s up from 65% in 2009. But their generosity for the future hinges on the economic prospects of the country going forward.
“Canada weathered the global economic crisis fairly well, but the outlook for 2012 is not as positive and public sentiment is less optimistic. This does not bode well for discretionary spending and that means charities may very well feel the crunch,” says Steve Levy of Ipsos Reid. “While we have seen more Canadians donating in the past two years, they are donating less than in the past and to a broader range of charities. With more competition and looming economic pressures, charitable organizations are going to have to look at creative and engaging methods to make their point and meet their fundraising targets.”
The 2011 study showed that across Canada, people are helping to make a difference through financial donations, volunteering and helping with fund raising. But there are some clear regional differences. Western Canadians are the most generous with their finances and Atlantic Canadians are most generous with their time.
Much of the cross-Canada increase in financial charitable donations from 2009 to 2011 was achieved in Ontario and Quebec. The rate of financial donation amongst respondents from Ontario increased from 64% in 2009 to 72% in 2011 while the rate in Quebec increased from 50% to 59% respectively. Over the same period, financial donations in the West remained flat at 74% while they dropped in Atlantic Canada from 78% to 70%.
As charities look to meet their targets and engage with donors, the employment of social media and Internet strategies are going to be central to their campaigns going forward.
“Nearly every Canadian home is plugged into the Internet and the majority of Canadians who are online have a Facebook profile. With mobile devices and brands coming to market virtually overnight, everything is now portable and instant,” adds Levy. “So while financial donating is just one aspect of the relationship charities hope to build with their donors and supporters – and it is crucial – charities also need to do a better job at engaging with their public. By better engaging with their time and with their fund raising efforts, the financial aspect is likely to follow.”
When it comes to making a financial donation, “in person” contact remains the most effective method, with 73% of respondents reporting that they had made a financial donation “in person.” But for more passive methods, traditional mail is slipping (down 6 points from 2009 to 42%) and online donation is up – hitting 31%.
“What is very clear is that creating an engaging charity brand that has a human face is important,” concludes Levy. “But having an online presence and building secure and trustworthy online systems for donating is also crucial.”
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