Whats Happening in Canada – Giving Trends

Pareto Fundraising has released the results of their 2010 benchmarking study looking at trends in the Canadian charitable sector. The analysis looks at data through to the end of December 2009 from 14 Canadian charities (listed at the end of this post). What is interesting to me is that some of the points reflect what is, anecdotally, happening in Ireland as well. Whilst income overall fell in 2009, there were certainly some positive signs for the sector, again reinforcing that those organizations that have taken a long term view to growthhave come through the financial downturn relatively unscathed and in a strong position.
The analysis found that:
  1. Income from individuals fell in 2009, down 10% to $158m. The key driver of that was a drop in onetime cash gifts donated, which decreased $17m last year (this is due to adecline in the number of cash gifts – the average cash gift actually rose).
  2. Monthly giving continues to provide a tremendous stream of ongoing income for charities. At the height of the recession,monthly giving grew 9% in 2009, now providing $48m annually for the 14 organizations involved in the cooperative. Based on the current growth trajectory, monthly giving looks set to overtake cash giving in the next year as the major source of individual funding for Canadian charities.
  3. Income from planned gifts increased last year (8%) despite the average value of realized bequests falling from $35k to $32k (though it still remained well above the 2007 level of$27K). This represents a huge area of growth for Canadian organizations. Despite the fact that the number of bequests left each year is on the rise, these levels are still lagging behind other developed fundraising nations.
  4. The level of income and number of new cash donors from direct mail fell in 2009 by 15% and 22% respectively. This decrease in income was despite the increase in averagegift levels via direct mail overall (a bigger increase than in the previous year). This decline in income was offset partly by the shift in focus for many organizations to recruiting monthly donors. The fall in new donors being recruited is both a reflection of less prospecting activity being undertaken overall, as well as a fall in the number of new recruits coming on board.
  5. Online giving continues to grow, an increase in income of 17% from 2008. However giving online remains a relatively small chunk of the pie, accounting for just 2% of all individual income versus more traditional means like direct mail which represents closer to 20%.
The charities involved include: Amnesty International Canada, BC Cancer Foundation, Canadian Diabetes Association, Canadian Red Cross (Western Canada), CARE Canada, The Children’s WishFoundation Canada, cbm Canada, Canadian Feed The Children, David Suzuki Foundation, Médecins Sans Frontières Canada, The Nature Conservancy of Canada, Ontario Nature, the SickKids Foundation and WWF-Canada. Thanks to Jonathon Grapsas for sending this on

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