Hill Strategies Research on Volunteers, Donors and Non-profit Sector Information

The latest issue of Hill StrategiesArts Research Monitor includes results of Canadian surveys on volunteers, donors and charities, including a survey of trust in charities, a study of arts and culture volunteers and donors, and two Statistics Canada articles on volunteers and donors in all types of not-for-profit organizations.

Click the link within each summary below to access the full report.
 

Talking about charities 2013

The Muttart Foundation
Authors: David Lasby and Cathy Barr (Imagine Canada)
https://www.muttart.org/publications/surveys-results/

This report argues that “public trust is of central importance to Canadian charities. It underpins many key relationships: with donors, volunteers, clients, policymakers, regulators, and corporate sponsors.” Based on a telephone survey of 3,853 Canadians 18 years or older, the report finds that 79% of respondents have "a lot" or "some" trust in charities.

As noted in the report, “Canadians report more trust in charities than they do in almost all other societal institutions covered by the survey”, including trust in “local (57%), federal (45%) and provincial (44%) governments”, the media (53%), and major corporations (41%). Trust in small businesses (81%) is slightly higher than trust in charities (79%).

Trust in arts charities ranks eighth out of 11 types of charities, with 60% of Canadians indicating that they have a lot (19%) or some (41%) trust in arts charities. This is similar to trust in churches and other places of worship (59%) and higher than trust in international development organizations (50%) and religious organizations other than churches or places of worship (41%). Canadians are most likely to trust hospitals (86%), children’s charities (82%), and health promotion and health research charities (80%).

As is the case with charities in general, arts charities receive the highest levels of trust in the Atlantic provinces (all four above the Canadian average). While trust in many types of charities is lowest in British Columbia, this is not the case for arts charities, which receive trust levels in B.C. equal to the national average (60%). The only province below the national average is Ontario, where 57% of residents indicate that they have trust in arts charities.

Trust in arts charities is highest for the four age ranges under 55 and lower for the two age ranges 55 and older. There is a moderate difference between women (62% with trust in arts charities) and men (57%).

Trust in many types of charities, including those in the arts, has remained fairly consistent from prior surveys in 2004, 2006, and 2008.

Nearly all survey respondents (93%) agree that "charities are important to Canadians", and 88% believe that "charities generally improve our quality of life". However, the survey also found that 73% of Canadians believe that “charities spend too much of their funds on salaries and administration” and 68% believe that "too many charities are trying to get donations for the same cause". Respondents were asked these questions regarding all charities, not specific types.

Many respondents feel that charities can do a better job of disclosing information to the public:

  • 73% believe that charities do only a "fair" or a "poor" job of providing "information about charities' fundraising costs".
  • 70% indicate that charities do a fair or a poor job of providing "information on how charities use donations".
  • 58% believe that charities do a fair or a poor job of providing "information about the about the impact of charities' work on Canadians".
  • 43% indicate that charities do a fair or a poor job of providing "information about the programs and services the charities deliver".

Based on this information, the report concludes that “Canadians say that charities need to make significant improvements in how they tell the story of their work and its effect on the country.”
 

Volunteers and Donors in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2013

Hill Strategies Research Inc., February 3, 2016
http://www.hillstrategies.com/content/volunteers-and-donors-arts-and-culture-organizations-canada-2013

This is the first of three reports in this issue of the Arts Research Monitor that is based on Statistics Canada’s General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering, and Participating (a survey of 14,714 Canadians 15 or older). This report delves into arts and culture statistics, while the two other reports focus on all volunteers and donors in Canada.

A key finding of this report is that there were “1 million donors and 900,000 volunteers in arts and culture organizations” in 2013. The 896,000 arts and culture volunteers represent 3% of all Canadians 15 or older. Arts and culture volunteers gave a total of 107 million hours in 2013, the equivalent of approximately 56,000 full-time, full-year jobs. The report estimates that this work effort would be worth about $1.9 billion.

In 2013, each volunteer gave, on average, 120 hours of their time to arts and culture organizations, more than the average hours volunteered in any other type of organization. The top 10% of arts and culture volunteers (who donated at least 294 hours) “contributed 55% of total volunteer hours in arts and culture organizations”. Arts and culture volunteers also tend to be very loyal: 39% of them volunteered with the same organization for at least five years.

The most common motivations for volunteering in arts and culture organizations are making a contribution to their community (94% of arts and culture volunteers) and using their skills and experiences (86%).

On a provincial level, the report cautions that “the estimates of volunteers in all provinces except Ontario and Quebec have a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution”. That being said, the report does indicate that the four Western provinces have the highest proportion of the population who volunteer in the arts and culture, led by Saskatchewan (5%), British Columbia (also 5%), Manitoba (4%), and Alberta (also 4%).

Between 2004 and 2013, there was a 23% increase in the number of arts and culture volunteers, compared with a 7% increase in all volunteers. Similarly, the 22% increase in the number of hours volunteered in arts and culture organizations is much higher than the 1% increase in volunteer hours in all types of not-for-profit organizations.

In 2013, 3% of Canadians 15 or older (1 million people) donated to an arts and culture organization. Total donations were $162 million, representing just over 1% of donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations. On average, donors gave $159 to arts and culture organizations, ranking sixth out of 13 types of not-for-profit organizations.

Three motivations were noted most commonly by arts and culture donors: helping a cause in which they personally believe (95% of arts and culture donors), feeling compassion towards people in need (91%), and making a contribution to the community (also 91%).

Similar to the provincial estimates of volunteers, the report indicates that the four Western provinces have the highest proportion of the population who donate to arts and culture organizations, led by Manitoba (5%), British Columbia (4%), Alberta (also 4%), and Saskatchewan (also 4%). The report warns that “the estimates of donors in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and each of the Atlantic provinces have a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution”.

Between 2007 and 2013, the number of donors to arts and culture organizations grew by 34%, much higher than the 6% increase in all types of not-for-profit organizations. During the same timeframe, there was a 46% increase in the value of donations to arts and culture organizations (after adjusting for inflation), compared with the 16% growth in donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations.
 

Volunteering and charitable giving in Canada

Statistics Canada, January 30, 2015
Author: Martin Turcotte
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-652-x/89-652-x2015001-eng.htm

Based on the General Social Survey on Giving, Volunteering, and Participating, this article highlights the gifts of time and money made by individuals to all types of not-for-profit organizations in 2013.

Overall, 44% of Canadians volunteered a total of 1.96 billion hours in not-for-profit organizations in 2013, “equivalent to about 1 million full-time jobs”. The percentage of Canadians 15 or older who volunteered during the year decreased very slightly from 85% in 2004 to 84% in 2013. The change was very small but still statistically significant. During the same timeframe, the number of hours volunteered remained fairly stable (1.98 billion hours in 2004 and 1.96 billion hours in 2013).

On average, each volunteer donated 154 hours in 2013, a statistically significant decrease from 168 hours in 2004. The article indicates that older Canadians are less likely to volunteer but contribute more hours than younger residents. In fact, the average number of hours volunteered in 2013 was well above the overall average (154 hours) for Canadians 55 and older (203 hours for those between 55 and 64 years of age, 231 hours for those between 65 and 74, and 196 hours for those 75 and older). On average, men volunteer more hours per year than women (164 and 154 hours, respectively).

Among the provinces, the volunteer rate is well above the national average (44%) in Saskatchewan (56%), Manitoba (52%), Nova Scotia (51%), Prince Edward Island (50%), Alberta (also 50%), and British Columbia (49%). Quebec residents have a volunteer rate of 32%, well below the Canadian average (44%). The average annual hours volunteered is highest for residents of Nova Scotia (181 hours), New Brunswick (180), and Prince Edward Island (179), and lowest for residents of Quebec (123 hours). (The General Social Survey did not survey residents of the three territories.)

Regarding donating, the article finds that 82% of Canadians donated a total of $12.8 billion to not-for-profit organizations in 2013. The proportion of Canadians 15 or older who made a donation decreased from 85% in 2004 to 82% in 2013, but the amount donated increased from $10.4 billion to $12.8 billion over the same timeframe. (All of the financial figures in the article are adjusted for inflation.) Both changes were statistically significant.

The average annual gift per donor was $531 in 2013, a statistically significant increase from $469 in 2004. The article indicates that “donors aged 55 and over gave the most”, with the average annual donation exceeding $700 for those 65 and older. The average annual donation increases for each age group, with the strongest increase between those who are 35 to 44 years of age ($427) and those who are 45 to 54 years of age ($664). Men tend to donate higher amounts than women ($580 and $484, respectively).

Among the provinces, the average annual donation is highest for residents of Alberta ($863), British Columbia ($704), and Saskatchewan ($680), but lowest in Quebec ($264), New Brunswick ($345), and Newfoundland and Labrador ($350). The donor rate is highest in Newfoundland and Labrador (87%) and lowest in B.C. (78%).

Religious organizations receive 41% of all donations (a significant decrease from 45% in 2004), followed by health organizations (13% in 2013) and social service organizations (12%). Donations to arts and culture organizations represent 1% of donations to all types of not-for-profit organizations.
 

Volunteering in Canada, 2004 to 2013

Statistics Canada, June 18, 2015
Author: Maire Sinha
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-652-x/89-652-x2015003-eng.htm

This article provides a more in-depth examination of Canadian volunteers and trends in volunteering between 2004 and 2013 than a similar Statistics Canada article (Volunteering and charitable giving in Canada, summarized elsewhere in this issue of the Arts Research Monitor). The article is based on the Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, which surveyed 14,714 Canadians 15 and older about their volunteer activities.

While 59% of Canadians had volunteered at some point in their lives, 44% did so in 2013. For the 12.7 million volunteers in 2013, the most common activities include organizing events (46% of all volunteers participated in this activity), fundraising (45%), and sitting on a committee or board (33%).

The most common motivations for volunteering include making a contribution to the community (93%), using their skills and experience (77%), being personally affected by the cause supported by the not-for-profit organization (60%), and wanting to improve their own well-being or health (52%).

Among different types of not-for-profit organizations, the article notes that “about two-thirds (64%) of all volunteer hours were devoted to the four leading sectors, including 20% for social services, 18% for sports and recreation, 15% for religious organizations and 11% for education and research”. Volunteer hours in arts and culture organizations represent 6% of hours volunteered in all types of not-for-profit organizations.

Regarding barriers to volunteering, the survey results show that a lack of time is the most common barrier (cited by 66% of non-volunteers), followed by an inability to make a long-term commitment (62%), preferring to give money instead of time (54%), and not having been asked to volunteer (49%).

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