Hill Strategies Reports on Cultural Volunteers and Donors in Canada

Report funded by the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council

Many arts and culture organizations in Canada are organized as not-for-profit organizations and rely on individuals to donate time or money in order to help achieve their mandates. Volunteers and Donors in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2010, the 40th report in the Statistical Insights on the Arts series, highlights the volunteer time and financial donations given to Canadian arts and culture organizations. The report is based on statistics that Hill Strategies Research queried from Statistics Canada’s 2010 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP), a survey of more than 15,000 Canadians 15 or older.

About 1.4 million Canadians volunteered for or donated to arts and culture organizations (or did both) in 2010. This represents 5.1% of Canadians 15 or older. Key statistics regarding arts and culture volunteers and donors in 2010 are highlighted below.

Arts and culture volunteers

  • 764,000 volunteers
  • 2.7% of Canadians 15 or older
  • 5.8% of all 13.3 million volunteers in Canada
  • 97 million hours volunteered
  • 4.7% of all hours volunteered
  • Equivalent to about 51,000 full-time, full-year jobs
  • Valued at nearly $1.6 billion
  • 127 hours on average: more than any other type of organization
  • Motivated to make a contribution to their community
  • Many long-term, dedicated volunteers
  • 5% increase in the number of volunteers from 2004
  • 11% increase in hours volunteered from 2004

Arts and culture donors

  • 760,000 donors
  • 2.7% of Canadians 15 or older
  • 3.2% of all 23.8 million donors  in Canada
  • $108 million donated
  • 1.0% of all Canadian donations
  • $141 per donor on average
  • Motivated to help a cause in which they personally believe
  • No change in the number of donors from 2007
  • 7% increase in total donations from 2007 (not adjusted for inflation)

(Note: The estimates of volunteer hours, full-time / full-year jobs, value of volunteer contribution, and value of donations have relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution.)

While there are very similar numbers of arts and culture volunteers (764,000) and donors (760,000), there are relatively few people who do both. Roughly 87,000 people both volunteered and donated in arts and culture organizations in 2010. This is only about one in every 16 people who either volunteered or donated in arts and culture organizations in Canada.

The demographic analysis in the report shows that education is a very important factor in arts and culture volunteering and donating. University graduates are much more likely than other Canadians to volunteer and donate. In addition, women are much more likely than men to both volunteer and donate in arts and culture organizations. Household income and age are important factors regarding arts and culture donors but much less so for volunteers.

The report highlights other interesting facts regarding arts and culture volunteers:

  • Arts and culture volunteers tend to stay with the same organization for a relatively long period of time: 42% of arts and culture volunteers were with the same organization for at least five years.
  • Arts and culture volunteer activities are very events-driven, with substantial work on committees and boards but less fundraising work than in other types of organizations.
  • Arts and culture volunteers indicated that they acquired, in particular, three important skills via their volunteer activities: interpersonal skills (cited by 64% of arts and culture volunteers), communication skills (56%), and organizational skills (44%).
  • Very few volunteers give their time to more than one arts and culture organization.
  • Almost one-half of arts and culture volunteers indicated that their volunteer activities “helped their chances of success in [their] paid job or business”, while one-third indicated that their volunteer activities had “ever helped [them] to get a job or start a business”.

The report provides a number of comparisons with other types of not-for-profit organizations:

  • Compared with the arts and culture’s share of all volunteers (5.8%), sports and recreation organizations and social service organizations attract the most volunteers (25% of all volunteers each), followed by education and research organizations (21%), and religious organizations (20%).
  • Compared with the arts and culture’s share of all donors (3.2%), health organizations have the largest number of donors (63% of all Canadian donors gave some money to health organizations in 2010), followed by social services (49%), and religious organizations (39%).
  • While arts and culture organizations receive 1.0% of all donations, religious organizations receive the largest proportion (40%), followed by health organizations (15%), social service organizations (11%), and international organizations (8%).

The full report also provides estimates of the number of arts and culture volunteers and donors in each province. While the provincial estimates of volunteers and donors are statistically reliable, all of the provincial statistics – except for British Columbia and Ontario – have a relatively high margin of error and should be used with caution. Unfortunately, estimates of arts and culture volunteers and donors in the three territories have high margins of error and cannot be reliably stated.

In Canada, the arts and culture volunteer rate is equal to the donor rate (2.7% for each). In many provinces, the volunteer and donor rates are quite similar. This includes:

  • Alberta (volunteer rate of 2.5%, donor rate of 2.7%).
  • Saskatchewan (volunteer rate of 3.2%, donor rate of 3.1%).
  • Manitoba (volunteer rate of 2.9%, donor rate of 3.1%).
  • Ontario (volunteer rate of 2.7%, donor rate of 2.8%).
  • Nova Scotia (volunteer rate of 3.4%, donor rate of 3.3%).

However, a few provinces have higher volunteer rates than donation rates in arts and culture organizations:

  • British Columbia (volunteer rate of 3.8%, donor rate of 3.5%).
  • Quebec (volunteer rate of 2.0%, donor rate of 1.7%).
  • Prince Edward Island (volunteer rate of 3.0%, donor rate of 2.2%).

Two provinces have lower volunteer rates than donation rates:

  • New Brunswick (volunteer rate of 3.3%, donor rate of 4.0%).
  • Newfoundland & Labrador (volunteer rate of 2.7%, donor rate of 3.1%

To view the full Hill Strategies report visit Volunteers and Donors in Arts and Culture Organizations in Canada in 2010.

 

Hill Strategies Research is a Canadian company that specializes in applying social science research methods to the arts sector. 

 

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