Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating

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The vast majority of Canadians provided either time or money to charitable and non-profit organizations in 2010. Between 2007 and 2010, the total of money they donated and the total number of hours they volunteered remained stable.

In 2010, nearly 24 million people, or 84% of the population aged 15 and over, made a financial donation to a charitable or non-profit organization, for a total of $10.6 billion. Both the percentage of the population donating and the total amount of donations were relatively unchanged from 2007.

At the same time, more than 13.3 million people, or 47% of the population, volunteered their time through a group or organization.

Canadians volunteered nearly 2.1 billion hours in 2010, the equivalent of nearly 1.1 million full-time jobs (assuming 40 hours per week for 48 weeks). The hours volunteered for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics represent approximately 0.7% of this total. Overall, the total number of hours remained relatively unchanged from 2007.

Average donation and volunteer hours remain stable

The average annual donation in 2010 was $446 per donor, virtually unchanged from 2007. Those who gave the most were more likely to be older, to have a higher household income and a formal education, or to attend weekly religious services or meetings.

Canadians who volunteered did so for an average of 156 hours in 2010, relatively unchanged from 2007.

Those who volunteered the most hours tended to be older, widowed and no longer in the workforce. They were also likely to not have any children at home and to attend weekly religious services or meetings.

However, the highest rates of volunteering were found among Canadians who were younger, were single, married or in a common-law relationship, or had young children at home.

Provinces and territories

The proportion of the population who made a financial donation to charitable and non-profit organizations was highest in the Atlantic provinces. However, the donors from the Western provinces donated higher average amounts. This pattern is, for the most part, unchanged from 2007.

Donor rates were the highest in Newfoundland and Labrador (92%) and in Prince Edward Island (91%). These were significantly above the national average of 84%. Rates for the Northwest Territories and Nunavut were the lowest nationally.

Charitable donors from Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia donated about $550 on average to a charitable or non-profit organization in 2010, among the highest in the country. Average donations were lowest in Quebec.

Note to readers

This release provides data from the 2010 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating (CSGVP). It is the fifth iteration of a series of surveys that began with the National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating in 1997. The survey was last conducted in 2007.

This is the first of several releases from the 2010 Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating. Starting in spring 2012, Canadian Social Trends, a Statistics Canada flagship publication, will present a series of analytical articles exploring in more depth the topics of charitable giving, volunteering, employer support to charitable behaviours and new Canadians.

The survey was developed through partnerships with federal government departments and voluntary sector organizations. These include the Canada Revenue Agency, Canadian Heritage, Health Canada, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, Imagine Canada, the Public Health Agency of Canada, Statistics Canada and Volunteer Canada.

Not all donations reported to the CSGVP are eligible for a tax receipt and thus would not be included in the data collected from income tax returns.

Differences in total donation amounts were calculated using constant dollars.

Definitions

Donors: People who made at least one donation of money to a charitable or other non-profit organization in the 12-month reference period preceding the survey.

Donor rate: This is the percentage of a given population that are donors.

Volunteers: People who volunteered, that is, who performed a service without pay, on behalf of a charitable or other non-profit organization, at least once in the 12-month reference period preceding the survey. This includes any unpaid help provided to schools, religious organizations, sports or community associations.

Volunteer rate: This is the percentage of a given population that are volunteers.

In terms of volunteering, 58% of the population of Saskatchewan and 56% of the population of Prince Edward Island aged 15 and over volunteered through a group or organization in 2010. These rates were the highest in the country and were significantly higher than the national average of 47%. The Northwest Territories and Quebec were among the provinces and territories with the lowest volunteer rates.

When comparing the amount of time volunteered, volunteers from Nova Scotia devoted 207 hours on average to volunteer work in 2010, the highest average in Canada. Volunteers from Yukon and Quebec devoted the fewest hours on average.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 4430.

The publication Caring Canadians, Involved Canadians: Tables report, 2010 (89-649-X, free) is now available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Client Services (toll-free 1-800-461-9050; 613-951-3321; fax: 613-951-4527; ssd@statcan.gc.ca), Special Surveys Division.