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Not Just a Warm Fuzzy Feeling: What Drives Canadians to Give?

Brian DePratto, Senior Economist |  416-944-5069

February 25, 2016 |


  • Charitable giving has recently fallen among Canadians, with both the donor and volunteer rates down in the most recent data. This invokes a number of questions: why aren’t we giving more, and are there any lessons that can be gleaned from more highly engaged Canadians? 
  • There is no one single answer to these questions. Trends do emerge in the data however: younger Canadians are less likely to report being asked to give time or money. Older Canadians are more likely to prefer giving money, but are also more likely to report concerns about charity fraud and the sheer number of organizations making requests. 
  • On the other side of the coin, highly engaged volunteers overwhelmingly report a desire to put their skills to use as driving their decision to give. For the top donors of money, tax credits and religious obligations stand out as motivations vis-à-vis donors of smaller sums. 
  • International comparisons may also provide insights on what drives charitable giving. Tax credit thresholds may help drive monetary giving; while increased engagement with religious Canadians may help drive increased volunteering.

 Full report in PDF format is available here.