Canadians Feeling More Charitable, But Will It Last?

Greater Competition, Economic Worries Put the Pressure on Charitable Giving

Monday, October 24, 2011

Toronto, ON – Following the economic crunch that began in the fall of 2008, Canadians have felt more positive about giving to charitable organizations, but that is a feeling that may not last. This is the key finding of a study conducted by Ipsos Reid on Canadians and their charitable habits. Comparing a similar 2009 study to the recent 2011 study, Ipsos found that 69% of Canadians have made a financial donation to a charitable organization in the past year. That’s up from 65% in 2009. But their generosity for the future hinges on the economic prospects of the country going forward.

“Canada weathered the global economic crisis fairly well, but the outlook for 2012 is not as positive and public sentiment is less optimistic. This does not bode well for discretionary spending and that means charities may very well feel the crunch,” says Steve Levy of Ipsos Reid. “While we have seen more Canadians donating in the past two years, they are donating less than in the past and to a broader range of charities. With more competition and looming economic pressures, charitable organizations are going to have to look at creative and engaging methods to make their point and meet their fundraising targets.”

The 2011 study showed that across Canada, people are helping to make a difference through financial donations, volunteering and helping with fund raising. But there are some clear regional differences. Western Canadians are the most generous with their finances and Atlantic Canadians are most generous with their time.

Much of the cross-Canada increase in financial charitable donations from 2009 to 2011 was achieved in Ontario and Quebec. The rate of financial donation amongst respondents from Ontario increased from 64% in 2009 to 72% in 2011 while the rate in Quebec increased from 50% to 59% respectively. Over the same period, financial donations in the West remained flat at 74% while they dropped in Atlantic Canada from 78% to 70%.

As charities look to meet their targets and engage with donors, the employment of social media and Internet strategies are going to be central to their campaigns going forward.

“Nearly every Canadian home is plugged into the Internet and the majority of Canadians who are online have a Facebook profile. With mobile devices and brands coming to market virtually overnight, everything is now portable and instant,” adds Levy. “So while financial donating is just one aspect of the relationship charities hope to build with their donors and supporters – and it is crucial – charities also need to do a better job at engaging with their public. By better engaging with their time and with their fund raising efforts, the financial aspect is likely to follow.”

When it comes to making a financial donation, “in person” contact remains the most effective method, with 73% of respondents reporting that they had made a financial donation “in person.” But for more passive methods, traditional mail is slipping (down 6 points from 2009 to 42%) and online donation is up – hitting 31%.

“What is very clear is that creating an engaging charity brand that has a human face is important,” concludes Levy. “But having an online presence and building secure and trustworthy online systems for donating is also crucial.”

Levy recently presented these findings along with further insights into the social media and charitable mind set of Canadians at the ArtezInterAction Conference hosted by the Artez Interactive, an organization that provides charities from around the world with online fundraising solutions.

"The Ipsos Reid study is a must read for any fundraising professional. Our 350 Artez Friendship Powered Fundraising clients around the globe have raised over $600,000,000 by employing our social media, internet and mobile products and the pace of donor adoption is accelerating even more rapidly in 2011," says James Appleyard, CEO & Chairman with Artez Interactive.

Full research results for the study were presented at the 5th annual ArtezInterAction Conference, and are available on

These findings are based on two studies (one in September 2009 the second in August 2011). Both studies were conducted among adult residents of Canada via the Interactive Reid Report leveraging Ipsos Reid’s Canadian Internet Panel. The initial online survey had a sample size of n=1,055, the second a sample size of n=840. The results are based on a sample where weighting was employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual online Canadian population according to Census data. A survey with an unweighted probability for the base sizes mentioned above and a 100% response rate would have an estimated margin of error of +/-2.9% to 3.3% percentage points. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About Artez Interactive

With a mission to build and advance Friendship Powered Fundraising™, Artez Interactive provides charities around the world with the ultimate online fundraising system. Friendship Powered Fundraising is a complete system of technology, functionality, services and support giving fundraisers and donors the best possible ways to "connect, share and care—when, how and where" in the channels and the media they want to.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Steve Levy
Ipsos Reid

About Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals. Ipsos helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world.

Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe. Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999. In 2010, Ipsos generated global revenues of €1.140 billion ($1.6 billion U.S.).

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Ipsos, listed on the Eurolist of Euronext – Comp B, is part of SBF 120 and the Mid-100 Index, adheres to the Next Prime segment and is eligible to the Deferred Settlement System. Isin FR0000073298, Reuters ISOS.PA, Bloomberg IPS:FP

Canadians Feeling More Charitable, But Will It Last?

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Steve Levy
Chief Operating Officer, Canada