Monthly Archives: April 2014

Charitable Giving Continues to Decline

Charitable Giving Continues to Decline


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The new 2012 Statistics Canada data on charitable giving is out – and the news isn’t good. Canadians gave less in 2012 than in 2011, reaching a new low in terms of the percentage of people reporting donations.

Giving Decline Chart

The trend reveals a steady decline in the percentage of people donating, down to 22.4% from almost 30% two decades ago. 2012 declines took place in almost every region of the country, except Nunavut and Alberta. The total dollar amount of donations reported on tax returns was down by 1.9% to $8.3 billion.

According to Statistics Canada, some good news is that Canadians who did donate, gave slightly more than in 2011, with the median donation up to $270 from $260.

Let’s take a moment to focus on the idea that there is room to grow! If more people are inspired to donate, and if each donor gives a little bit more, it will make a huge difference. GIV3 decided to do some math and here’s what we figured out. If we can increase the incidence of donations in Canada from the current 22.4% to 25% of tax filers, it could generate an incremental $1 Billion for charities. Let’s make the $1 BILLION DIFFERENCE!

GIV3 is a public awareness program of The GIV3 Foundation, with a mission to encourage more Canadians to be more giving – Find out more.

Note from Statistics Canada: Canadians contribute in many ways to charitable organizations. These data include only amounts given to charities and approved organizations for which official tax receipts were provided and claimed on tax returns.

Case Study – Art à la Carte

Case Study – Art à la Carte


Art à la Carte, is a grassroots charity based in Calgary, Alberta that brings art, joy and conversation to the bedside of acute care patients. Like many charities, we host our annual fund-raising campaign during the holiday season. We were instantly drawn to the concept of Giving Tuesday and the opportunities it presented for creating non-monetary ways to honour the true spirit of the Giving Season.

Art a la carte logo


A challenge we face is that our programs must be delivered by trained volunteers who have met all the registration requirements of the medical institutions that receive our services. How then, could we welcome the entire community and beyond to participate? For GivingTuesday 2013 we initiated a letter writing campaign. People in our community would be asked to send words of encouragement that could be shared with hospitalized patients and their families during the holiday season. The letters would be sent to our attention electronically for editing and then delivered by Art à la Carte volunteers to the patients we visit each week.

 Activation details

The GivingTuesday “Letters of Hope campaign” was initiated in partnership with Wellspring Calgary. Both organizations sent out a Call for Submissions to members:  “If you could offer a message of hope to patients and caregivers, what would you say? As you gather with families and friends this giving season, please take a moment to remember those whose greatest gift may well be a message of hope from a friend they’ve not yet met.”

In a period of two weeks, we received approximately 50 letters, including heart-wrenching words of encouragement from a 12 year old whose mother had breast cancer. She spoke of how her life has changed, referencing the time prior to her mother’s illness as the time “when she was a kid”. Imagine this, from a 12 year old. The letters were printed on colourful paper (by hand when possible) and inserted into greeting cards that were either left in a basket for members at Wellspring Calgary or delivered  by Art à la Carte volunteers to the bedside of cancer and palliative care patients. All names were kept anonymous.


Response to this program exceeded expectations. The patients were deeply touched by this act of giving and people in our community became much more engaged in our mission. Our wonderful media supporters at Global TV ran a segment on both local and national TV. Several local publications also featured the story.

Left: Letters of Hope Recipient  Right: Sandy Ottewell-Watson, Art à la Carte Volunteer

Left: Letters of Hope Recipient
Right: Sandy Ottewell-Watson, Art à la Carte Volunteer 

Sample “Letter of Hope”

Sample “Letter of Hope”