How We Give, Part 2

Research | January 22, 2016

In the recently released Charitable giving by individuals report from Statistics Canada, the survey outlines reasons for donating and for not donating more, two major factors affecting the charitable sector. We looked at a selection from each category and tried to tease out some conclusions that may be useful for individuals and charities in 2016.

Reasons for Donating

A huge majority of survey respondents gave three main answers for why they donate to charity, including “felt compassion towards people in need” (91%), “helping a cause in which they personally believed” (88%), and “wanted to make a contribution to their community” (82%). It seems to indicate that at least 8 out of 10 Canadians are giving purely out of the goodness of their hearts.

why people give-01

However, more than half of Canadians aged 35-54 reported that they made a donation because they were asked to donate by a family member or acquaintance. So even though people are motivated by feelings of responsibility, social pressure is also a major factor in donating. This seems to point toward obligation as a factor in giving that was not surveyed by StatsCan, and that can definitely be used to motivate donors to give.

Reasons for Not Giving More

You might think that donors would like to be able to give more to charity but it turns out that might not be the case. Almost three quarters of respondents said they were happy with what they already gave. But 69% reported not being able to afford to give a larger donation.

Almost a third reported that they did not like the way they had been approached for a donation, which is fair enough, no one likes being stopped on the street or harassed on Facebook. At Chimp we believe the best way to avoid this is to plan your giving in advance, putting away an amount you can afford each month and then distributing it once you’ve done the research, rather than on the spot at the corner of Granville and Georgia. Yet only 14% of donors decide in advance how much they will be donating in a year.

A further note on planning: only 13% of donors reported “not giving more because they did not know where to make a contribution”. That means 87% of Canadian donors are relatively well-informed about where to give and how, but they still aren’t doing a good job of planning their donations, settling instead for the annoying and inevitable sidewalk canvassers and Facebook campaigns that happen to align with their charitable outlook.

We hope this two-part look at the StatsCan report has been illuminating. If you missed part one, you can still read it here.

Share this through social media.