CanadaHelps, a public foundation advancing philanthropy through technology, recently released its fifth annual report on the charitable sector and the state of giving. The Giving Report 2022 highlights insights on generational giving trends, the impact of pandemic uncertainties on giving, and the strain on charities. In this Q&A chief operating officer and acting CEO Jane Ricciardelli discusses aspects of the report.
What was the most surprising or unexpected finding in The Giving Report 2022?
The most surprising and encouraging findings in The Giving Report 2022 relates to the preferences of younger Canadians. This group expressed a strong interest in charitable giving and even higher trust levels in charities than older generations; 71 per cent of Generation Z and 66 per cent of Millennials strongly agree that they trust charities and their services – this drops to 63 per cent and 64 per cent for Baby Boomers and Generation X respectively. While younger donors don’t yet give at high rates, which our research attributes to their financial means, there is strong interest in giving when they can afford to.
You identified the “giving gap” in the report. What is the giving gap and how can it be countered?
The giving gap refers to the steady decline in the percentage of Canadians who donate to charities and the increased reliance on a smaller group of aging donors to fund the critical work of charities. Canadians claiming donations on their tax return declined from 25 per cent in 2006 to 19 per cent in 2019.
Engaging young donors and igniting an interest in charitable giving is essential to closing the giving gap.
In The Giving Report 2022, we found continued growth in giving in 2021 from new donors that are younger, urban, and diverse. These groups show an affinity to support social justice issues, suggesting that charities need to better understand and appeal to the interests of emerging donors.
How can charities nurture this demographic to encourage a commitment to philanthropy in the future?
Younger generations expect charities to use the same data-driven approach and digitally savvy experiences that they have been accustomed to from interacting with other brands. Our report demonstrates that to attract younger Canadians, charities must invest in digital storytelling and engagement, and offer flexible giving options including cryptocurrency and securities donations.
Do you expect cryptocurrency will become an important factor in giving in the future?
Cryptocurrency is still new and emerging. KPMG reports that 13 per cent of Canadians, and 24 per cent of those aged 18-24, currently hold cryptocurrency. This could be transformative for the charitable sector if translated into gifts, and offering crypto donation options is an excellent way for charities to diversify their revenue streams and appeal to younger donors by providing them with the giving choices they expect.
How is inflation impacting charities?
More than two years since the start of the pandemic, the majority of charities continue to contend with unprecedented demand and revenue shortfalls. Rising inflation is further exacerbating these issues. Charities face all the same increasing costs as the general public, but they can’t raise prices the way a business can.
Moreover, the impacts of the pandemic and inflationary concerns are driving the demand for charitable services, while also creating hesitancy among Canadians to give. One in four Canadians (26 per cent) expect to use or are already using charitable services in 2022, up from just 11 per cent in 2021. Additionally, one in four Canadians (25 per cent) expect to give less in 2022 than they did in 2021, which is making matters far worse.
Turning this around will require the dedication of Canadians, and the continued hard work of charities to tell their story. Taking part in campaigns, like June’s Great Canadian Giving Challenge, is one way charities can boost their summer fundraising efforts and engage their supporters.
More information: canadahelps.org
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications with The Association of Fundraising Professionals Canada. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.