Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Dave Toycen CEO of World Vision Canada.

Paul Bettings

As CEO of World Vision Canada for 18 years, Dave Toycen's core product was hope for distressed children and families, whether in the rubble of Nepal or in parched African villages. But he also faced the challenges of running a business with revenues of more than $400 million—competition, costs and harnessing social media. After a 40-year international career with the Christian charity, which is the largest private relief and development agency in Canada, Toycen is stepping down at age 68.

What were your darkest moments?
They were disaster situations where you didn't have enough resources. The flood of people in need goes on and on, and you ask yourself, "What am I doing here?" Children are dying of cholera because they can't get enough clean water, and you are questioning God and your values. But you have to stop worrying, because it becomes self-pity, and you have to act. Usually what happens is a spark of hope, often from the people who are struggling.

You boosted revenue by a factor of eight during your tenure as CEO. How?
The key element has been the way we engage the public. We believe that it is important to tell stories—to share the needs of the world through personal detail, and how you can make a difference.

Story continues below advertisement

Do Canadians give enough to charity?
About 84% give to a charity of some sort. That is a high number, and Canadians need to be commended. The average total is around $450 a year, although 50% give less than $125. People's concerns about the money they need, personally, are probably higher than ever before.

So people really need their possessions and vacations?
It's tricky. People can argue that they are just as empathetic as before, but then they say, "I have so many more needs of my own to deal with."

Why are many other charities and NGOs in rough shape?
It is actually a much more challenging time for all of us, but especially larger NGOs. There are 88,000 charities in Canada now, and the growth in numbers is putting pressure on all of us. World Vision has a development and fundraising model that is successful, but revenue growth has been modest over the past few years.

Doesn't Ottawa now favour faith-based charities?
From what I understand, the statistics aren't convincing either way. But one of the most effective things the government has been engaged in is child and maternal health.

Has social media boosted your ability to reach donors?
The new technology has been effective in engagement, but not in actual fundraising. People feel like they are doing something when they give us a "Like" on Facebook. But in the past, there was more willingness to make a a donation. And it is costing more to reach people. You get smaller audiences now—in radio, TV or newspapers—but nobody is charging you less. It is the same in digital media. One positive aspect is the greater potential to divide our donors into segments, and to know much more about the interests and motivations of individuals.

Almost 20% of your expenses go to fundraising and administration. Is it too much?
We are in the middle range of organizations with a model similar to ours. Some can do it cheaper—they might have a strong volunteer component. But the other measure is impact. Are you interested in the organization that spends the least on overhead, or the one that is helping the most?

How much do you make personally?
My income is just under $200,000, so I am well paid. That is the challenge. We need to pay enough to get top-notch people to run the organization, but we work with some of the poorest people in the world. There has to be a willingness to see this as a mission. You are not getting top dollar for the job you are doing.

Follow related topics

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies