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Charitable Donations Back Up to Pre-Recession Levels!

28 October 2012

There are a lot of signs that the economy has bounced back from the recession – the hot housing markets in most areas and rising prices of mortgages all around the country are just two. But while the housing market may have overcompensated and gone to the extreme in the recovery, there’s one sector that is right on track and back to pre-recession levels. These are charities, and the amount of donations they receive.


According to Statistics Canada, Canadians donated $10.6 billion to various charities and non-profit organizations. Not only is that back to the pre-recession levels, it’s above them. In 2007, Canadians donated nearly that, but not quite, giving $10.4 billion. The amount of people who donated in 2010, 84 per cent, matched the number that gave in 2007; and both years saw people making about 3.8 donations in total, on average. Basing the amount of those donations in 2010 dollars, the amount given per individual dropped slightly, from $119 in 2007 to $114 in 2010.

Julia Gorman, vice-presidentn of resource development at United Way Toronto says that after the recession hit in 2008, the amount of donations given by about 2 per cent. However, that has since recovered.

“2008 was a very challenging year for many, if not most, charities across the country,” she says. “And 2009 continued to be very challenging. Things are slowly improving and charitable giving has restabilized. But it is not growing at the levels we saw a decade or even five years ago.”

And, she says, maintaining these levels is more important than ever, as so many charities are still reaching out and trying to help those that are getting back on their feet. And with unemployment up in many areas, helping those who are just getting knocked off theirs temporarily. But, maintaining the levels of financial support is difficult, says Ms. Gorman.

“Governments at all levels are cutting back,” she says. “As a result, charities are having to refocus on private sector support. And with the economy, that’s challenging.”

It also may not help that while the numbers have a positive showing, you also have to take in other economic factors as well. The amount of Canadians aged 15 years and older grew by 4.5 per cent over the past year, yet the amount of donations received from this age group remained the same. Also during that time, our economic growth rate increased and also showed positive growth – yet the amount of individual donations declined slightly.


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