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Funding For Canadian Giving Survey in Jeopardy

(Nov. 12, 2007)The Canadian federal government is considering cutting funding for the Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participation, and AFP members are urged to write letters to the Industry Minister as soon as possible.

The Canadian Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participation (CSGVP) is one of the most important and comprehensive surveys about philanthropy in Canada. It is conducted every three years by Statistics Canada and is followed by annual report (called the Satellite Account) that provides key estimates about the economic activity of the sector and its contributions to the economy.

Earlier this year, Statistics Canada was chosen as one of 17 agencies and departments to review its expenditures for the 2008 fiscal year. The CSGVP and the Satellite Account were included in the items put forward by Statistics Canada for review.

Imagine Canada reports that Statistics Canada had limited flexibility in identify 5 percent of its budget for review as most of its work is mandated by statute and because its budget had already been significantly reduced in the September 200 budget cuts. In addition, the agency may not have considered how widely used the survey is disseminated and used since charities often access the data through other organizations, such as AFP, Imagine Canada, etc.

Letters Needed Now

The Treasury Board Secretariat, which is in charge of the budget review, may announce programs cuts as early as November. All members are encouraged to write letters as soon as possible to the Minister of Industry, urging him to keep funding for the CSGVP and the Satellite Account.

A sample letter, developed in part by Imagine Canada, is below. Members may cut and paste parts of the letter, but should cite specific examples of the importance and use of the CSGVP to their own organization.

AFP thanks Imagine Canada for their work on this issue.

Sample Letter


The Honourable Jim Prentice P.C., M.P.

Minister of Industry

House of Commons

Ottawa, Ontario

K1A 0A6


Dear Minister Prentice,

Re: Canadian Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participation (CSGVP) and the Satellite Account.

We are writing to ask that you exercise your Ministerial discretion to maintain the federal funding for the Canadian Survey on Giving, Volunteering and Participation (CSGVP) and the Satellite Account.

[Introductory comments about your organization, its geographic scope and the needs that it serves.]

The CSGVP is carried out by Statistics Canada every three years; the Satellite Account is an annual review by Statistics Canada of other economic reports to measures the contribution of the sector to Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Together the CSGVP and Satellite Account provide critical economic data for community organizations across Canada to support their mission-critical fundraising, volunteer engagement and community service activities.

The CSGVP provides data that is critical to our organization in its efforts to raise funds and engage volunteers in our community activities. [Give examples: In particular, the data allows us to identify potential volunteers and donors, understand donor trends, and develop and execute fundraising strategies.  Canada’s charities and nonprofits raise almost 50% of annual revenues though fundraising, donations and earned income from community-based services delivered significantly by volunteers.  In 2003, the last year for which data is available, revenues from donations and earned income was over $50B, on total annual revenues of $112B. Services provided through the sector range from youth recreation to elite and community sports, newcomer support, emergency shelter, services for the disabled and elderly and a wide range of activities that make our communities among the best in the world.]

Our sector brings together more than 160,000 organizations that contribute enormously to the vitality and quality of life in every community in the country in several ways:

  • it is an anchor in communities, on the front lines of every social, cultural, environmental and community activity,
  • it is a significant economic force employing over 2 million full time equivalent workers  - about the same number as all the branches of the manufacturing sector, and
  • it is an essential vehicle for citizen engagement and healthy democracy.

It is no stretch to say that nearly every Canadian has been affected, in some way, by the work of the charitable sector. Accurate and useful information about the sector is critical to ensuring the health and vitality of charities and nonprofit across the country.

On behalf of our board, staff and people we serve, please keep current funding levels for the CSGVP and the Satellite Account. Thank you for your consideration.

Yours very truly,



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