Canadian Executives Support Charity, But Don’t Feel Need to Contribute More
(May 29, 2006) A new poll of Canadian business leaders shows that a majority has favorable views of charities and their work, but don’t believe they need to support them more than they do already.
The Internet-based survey, conducted by COMPAS Inc. for the Financial Post, also revealed that 70 percent of executives agreed with the statement that charities were more efficient and cost-effective than the government.
Nevertheless, in a surprising and telling response, just over a quarter of executives (27 percent) felt that for-profit organizations have an obligation to contribute to “the less fortunate.” When asked why Canadian companies don’t give more to charity,
- 42 percent said firms are already heavily taxed and don’t have the ability to give more;
- 36 percent agreed that it was improper for companies to give away money that belongs to shareholders; and
- 20 percent said charities don’t undergo enough scrutiny and oversight to justify giving more.
According to the survey, the responses illustrate the discrepancy between the increasing oversight of both business and government compared with the relatively little regulation and accountability requirements placed on charities.
“However, that may be more of a perception problem,” said Paulette V. Maehara, CFRE, CAE, president and CEO of AFP. “Charities have in fact been subject to additional regulations over the past several years, and the Canada Revenue Agency continues to look at developing new regulatory requirements.”
Despite the findings, charities still retain a certain aura, according to Conrad Winn, president of COMPAS. “What hasn’t yet been punctured is the unassailable image of charities behaving charitably,” he said in a May 15 article in the Financial Post (“Charities important, execs say, but obligation is met”) about the survey. “In the longer term, probably the greatest threat to charities is this minority of people who have unpleasant stories to tell about them.”
About the Survey
The survey included 124 respondents who were hand-picked and represented both small and larger companies.
COMPAS Inc., based in Toronto, Ontario, is an independent, non-partisan supplier of research and research-backed strategy to business, government and nonprofit organizations.