Growth Trends

February 22nd, 2009   •   Comments Off on Growth Trends   

In their final newsletter of 2008, Canada Revenue Ageny reports approximately 83,000 currently registered charities and 4,500 new applications submitted every year (with the majority of new applications being approved). If this trend continues, the number of registered charities in Canada could surpass 100,000 by 2015. When non-profits without charitable status are added into the mix, that number doubles.

Why does this matter?

Canada’s population currently stands at approximately 32.9 million. In 2007, Canadian taxfilers reported making approximately $8.6 billion in charitable donations. If every single individual in Canada were included in this $8.6 billion, it would work out to approximately $261 per individual. However, not every individual in Canada is a tax-filer. Children, for example, are included in the population count, but not as tax filers.

The actual number of donors reported in this $8.6 billion was approximately 24% of tax filers – just under 5.7 million people. Using these numbers, we end up with an average donation of $1,500 per person. Statistics Canada reports the median donation as $250, meaning that half of the donors gave more than $250 and half less.

In a 2004 study conducted by Imagine Canada, 75% of charities reported annual revenues of less than $250,000. Assuming the growth trend for registered charities continues, and that approximately 25% of tax-filing Canadians continue their support to the charitable sector, the years ahead could see 6 million tax-filers providing annual financial support of more than $4,000 each to sustain revenues of less than $250,00/year for 100,000 charities. However, if all Canadian tax-filers contributed to tax-deductible charitable donations, that amount drops to approximately $1,000 per tax-filer, on average – still well above the mean donation amount of $250 reported by Statistics Canada.

So, does the charitable sector need more donors and supporters? Of course. As citizens, we can all add value to the work of the Canadian charitable sector. But does the charitable sector also need to work together, share resources, and examine potential mergers and partnerships before considering adding yet one more organization to a sector that is currently being supported by only 25% of the Canadian population?

Your views are welcome.

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