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Total Annual Giving in Canada Grew By $1 Billion from 2004 to 2007

(June 9, 2009) The total amount of yearly charitable giving by Canadians increased by $1.1 billion from 2004 to 2007, reported the Canadian government agency Statistics Canada this week.

Canadians donated a total of $10.0 billion in 2007, up from $8.9 billion in 2004. In 2007, the average donation was $437, compared with $400 in 2004. These increases were not adjusted for inflation (and are measured in Canadian dollars).

Religious organizations were the biggest beneficiaries of charitable giving. They received more than three times the donations than did the second most popular type of organization. Slightly over one-third (36 percent) of donors gave to religious organizations in 2007. These organizations received $4.6 billion, almost half (46 percent) of the total amount donated nationally.

Health organizations, the second biggest beneficiary of charitable giving, received money from 56 percent of donors, the largest support base. They collected $1.5 billion, or 15 percent of total donations.


Almost 23 million Canadians, or 84 percent of the population aged 15 and over, made a financial donation to a charitable or nonprofit organization during the 12-month period covered by the survey. During the same period, 12.5 million Canadians, or 46 percent of the population, volunteered their time through a group or organization. These rates were largely unchanged from 2004.

The total amount of time volunteered through groups and organizations amounted to about 2.1 billion hours, which was equivalent to almost 1.1 million full-time jobs. On average, volunteers contributed 166 hours each.

Religious organizations received the largest percentage of volunteer hours (18 percent), followed by sports and recreation (17 percent), social services (16 percent), and education and research organizations (11 percent). These proportions were largely unchanged from 2004.

Profile of Top Donors, Volunteers

The top 25 percent of donors – those who gave $364 or more – tended to be older, to have higher household incomes and to possess higher levels of formal education. Those who are employed, widowed or attend religious services on a weekly basis, also tended to be in the top group of donors.

The top 25 percent of volunteers – those who volunteered 171 hours or more – were widely distributed throughout the population. However, those who attend religious services on a weekly basis, those who have university degrees and those with school-aged children in the household were much more likely than others to be top volunteers.

According to the survey, people were more likely to volunteer and donate to charities or nonprofit organizations later in life if they had participated in a range of community or youth activities during their primary or secondary schooling. These activities included participating in student government, a religious organization, a youth group such as girl guides or scouts or an organized team sport.

This information was drawn from a report by Statistics Canada called the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating. That report can be found here. For further information, Statistics Canada has issued a free publication called Caring Canadians, Involved Canadians: Highlights from the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating.

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