Women’s Impact on Canadian Philanthropy

March 08, 2024
6 min read

Kelsey Janz

Donations made by women have nearly tripled over the past decade. As women continue to amass wealth at an unprecedented pace, the future of philanthropy is looking mighty female.

News that women give a lot back to the world isn’t exactly groundbreaking. It’s not like we just discovered fire here—women have always been deeply involved in philanthropic work, but historically, their charitable contributions were undervalued or attributed to their husbands.

Times have changed. Today, a growing number of Canadian women are stepping into their roles as changemakers and charitable leaders with vigour, dedicating their time, talents, and resources to the causes they believe in. A recent report from TD Wealth adds to a growing body of research underscoring the pivotal role women play in shaping Canada’s charitable sector. Let’s dig into a few highlights.


Rise of the She-conomy

According to Statistics Canada, from 2011 to 2023, donations claimed by women increased by 287%, skyrocketing from $1.5 billion to an eye-popping $4.3 billion in 2021 alone. These numbers don’t paint the whole picture, either—many donations go unclaimed on taxes and the full extent of women’s impact on giving often flies under the radar.

This upward trend tells a larger story about the Canadian economy. With women poised to inherit a cool $1 trillion over the next decade, they’re big drivers of the Canadian economy. This growing wealth translates into more opportunities and resources, fundamentally reshaping the philanthropic landscape in Canada.


Women at Work

Step inside any registered charity organization in Canada, and chances are you’ll find women at the helm, pouring their time, money, and passion into ensuring vital services reach those in need. Out of the 3.5 million Canadians working in the charity sector, 77% percent are women. 

And their dedication doesn’t stop when they’re off the clock—women consistently outpace men in volunteer work, filling the equivalent of 1.4 million full-time roles. Without their tireless efforts, Canada’s 86,000+ charities would face an uphill battle.


Strategic Giving

More female donors are approaching charitable giving with a strategic eye and rethinking how the sector operates. Increasingly, women are adopting tools like Charitable Impact to take control of their giving and amplify the impact of their donations. 

Participants emphasized the importance of conducting research before donating to ensure their dollars make the difference they intend. In doing their due diligence, many volunteer their time as a way to gain a better understanding of the charity’s work before providing any financial support.  They also expressed seeking counsel from family and friends when making charitable giving decisions.



Motivations to give are diverse, deeply personal, and as varied in women as in men. That said, findings from the TD report suggest that women’s generosity is often rooted in trust, empathy, and a sense of social responsibility. 

Shared experiences, community well-being, familial ties, and the desire for a tangible impact often sow the seeds of their philanthropic motivations. More women are adopting platforms that inspire collective action, collaboration, and communities in pursuit of common goals. Hello, Giving Groups.

The report also shows that women are more likely to respond to current events and humanitarian crises and look for contributions that secure long-term benefits for their chosen causes.


Gen Z and Beyond

Armed with empathy and Wi-Fi, a younger generation of donors is looking for connection through direct engagement with charities and are eager to see the tangible effects of their generosity.

Younger female donors tend to be more focused on the future, whereas older generations tend to continue supporting charities that their families have traditionally donated to. 


The Business of Giving

Entrepreneurial enterprises are huge drivers of economic growth, contributing almost $700 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product. Not only are these businesses essential to the national economy, they are vital sources of funding for Canadian charities.

Female entrepreneurs are leaders in the creation of businesses that blend profit and purpose, using commercial success as an opportunity to give back for the social good. From startups to established businesses, they’re reimagining the meaning of success and proving that you can do well while doing good.


Lessons From the Ladies

While women are increasingly engaged as donors, employees, volunteers, and board members, there is a lot of work to be done. The reality is the Canadian charitable sector isn’t exactly thriving—the number of Canadians giving to charities has been on the decline for decades. And according to Statistics Canada, charities are struggling to find volunteers, too. 

In other words, women are bucking the trend more than their male counterparts. Perhaps it’s a good time to take a cue from Canada’s leading ladies of philanthropy. Lesson one: find your passion, do your homework, and make a plan.  

Opening a free Impact Account equips you with the tools and resources to help you plan your impact and reach your giving goals, regardless of the causes you choose, the amount you give, or the time you need to decide. Give securely to your favourite registered charities and discover why Charitable Impact is Canada’s fastest-growing online giving platform


Note: The insights and data shared in this blog are drawn from the TD Wealth 2023 report. For further details, please refer to the original report, Trust and Transformation: Canadian Women and Philanthropy