Environment: This category includes organizations dedicated to environmental protection that provide services focused on environmental protection; pollution control and prevention; environmental and environmental health education; and animal protection. It includes two subgroups, the environment and animal protection.
Development and Housing: This category includes organizations that provide programs and services to support community development and improve the economic and social well-being of society. It consists of three subgroups: 1) economic, social and community development (including community agencies and neighbourhood organizations); 2) housing; and 3) employment and training.
Law, Advocacy and Politics: This category includes organizations and groups that work to protect and promote human and other rights; that defend the social and political interests of the general population or specific groups; that provide legal services; and that serve to promote public safety. It consists of three sub-groups: 1) civic associations and advocacy organizations; 2) legal services; and 3) political organizations.
Grant-making, fundraising and volunteer promotion: This category includes non-profit charities or organizations whose purpose is to promote non-profit activities such as foundations that provide grants and awards, organizations that promote volunteerism and fundraising organizations.
International organizations: This category includes organizations that promote good understanding between people of different nationalities and cultures and, in addition, provide emergency relief and work for development and well-being abroad.
Religion: This category includes organizations that promote religious beliefs and celebrate religious services and rituals (for example, churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, shrines, seminaries, monasteries and other religious institutions), as well as their auxiliary organizations.
Professional and business associations and unions: This category includes organizations that support, govern and protect the interests of the professional, business and labour community.
A cash donation is the amount paid to a charity or non-profit organization during the 12-month reference period preceding the survey. Money donated to the same organization several times by the same solicitation method is considered to be a single donation. Thus, money donated to a religious organization in the 12 months preceding the survey through a collection at a place of worship is considered to be a single donation.
To compare the amounts of donations made in 2010 with those made in 2007, the 2007 amounts were adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index.
Persons who made at least one cash donation to a charity or non-profit organization during the 12-month reference period preceding the survey. This definition excludes donations of currency deposited in boxes placed for this purpose near checkouts at checkouts, in shopping centres at Christmas, at store entrances, etc.
Average amount of annual donations
The average value of donations made by donors to charities or non-profit organizations during the reference period, i.e., in the 12 months preceding the survey. This is not the average for the entire population.
Major donors are defined as the quartile (25%) of donors who donated the most money.
The average annual amount per donor was $446 in 2010 while the median amount was $123. The median amount indicates that half of the donors donated less than this amount and the other half donated more2.
In addition to cash donations, many people donate clothing, toys or household products to charitable or non-profit organizations (79%) (Chart 1). Others donate food (62%). In all, almost all Canadians 15 years of age and over, or 94%, had donated material goods, food or money.
The reasons why some people give more than others are many: degree of awareness of the existence of a need, feeling that they can make a difference, relative cost of donation compared to disposable income, more or less altruistic or prosocial values, desire for social recognition, psychological benefits related to giving, being solicited and how to be solicited3. Studies have shown that, in addition to benefiting the community, giving can increase psychological well-being, self-esteem or the social status and reputation of donors themselves.
These factors motivating donations obviously do not affect all of them in the same way. Nevertheless, they help to understand why certain subgroups of the population are more likely than others to make donations to charities or nonprofit organizations – and why it is often these same subgroups that are more likely to give larger amounts.
Women slightly more likely to give than men
In 2010, as in 2007, women were more likely than men to have made at least one cash donation (86% of them respectively compared to 82% of men) (Table 2). This difference, which has been observed in other countries, may be explained by the fact that women have higher prosocial values on average. However, there was no statistically significant difference between men and women in 2010 or 2007 in terms of average and median annual donations.
Donations, household income and education
According to previous research, having a job, a university degree and belonging to a household with higher incomes increases the probability of making donations and the amounts donated6. Thus, in 2010, individuals with annual household incomes of $120,000 or more made an average donation of $744, compared to $427 for those with incomes between $80,000 and $99,999.
Having more financial resources creates the opportunity to make larger donations. The fact that donations to charities are tax deductible and the tax system is progressive means that the actual costs of donations to registered charities decrease as income levels increase. Studies have shown that people with higher incomes are more frequently solicited for donations, which also increases the opportunities they have to give and the social pressure to do so.