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Study: Charitable giving in Canada, 2013

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Released: 2015-12-16

In 2013, the total amount of donations that Canadians made to charitable and non-profit organizations was $12.8 billion, an increase of 23% over 2004.

Donations by primary donors—the 10% of individuals who donate the most money in a given year—represented 66% of total donations in 2013. The contribution of these primary donors was up, and accounted for most of the increase in the total amount of donations made from 2004 to 2013.

During this period, the total donations made by primary donors rose 30%, from $6.4 billion to $8.4 billion. By comparison, the contribution of other donors increased 11%, from $3.9 billion in 2004 to $4.4 billion in 2013.

In 2013, primary donors gave $1,150 or more during the year.

These results are drawn from a new report, released today entitled "Charitable giving by individuals." An infographic entitled "Charitable giving in Canada" is also available and illustrates the different results.

The largest donations are made to religious organizations

As in previous years, donors gave the highest total amounts to religious organizations in 2013, that is, those that promote religious beliefs and provide religious services and rituals.

Religious organizations received $5.2 billion in donations in 2013, or 41% of the total donations made by donors during the year.

This was followed by health organizations ($1.7 billion or 13% of total donations) and social services organizations ($1.6 billion or 12% of all donations).

International organizations ($1.3 billion) and grant-making, fundraising and volunteer work promotion organizations ($690 million) took the fourth and fifth spots.

From 2004 to 2013, donations to international organizations (+203%) saw the highest increase.

During the same period, donations rose 86% for community development and housing organizations, 49% for social services organizations and 14% for health organizations.

Conversely, total donations to sports and recreation organizations declined 22% from 2004.

Gift or food donations

In addition to monetary donations, many Canadians donate gifts or food. In 2013, 60% of Canadians donated food to charitable organizations such as a food bank, while 76% of Canadians donated clothing, toys or household items or products to charitable and non-profit organizations.

Women (66%) were more likely than men (53%) to donate food. They were also more likely (82%) than men (70%) to donate material goods.

  Note to readers

The report "Charitable giving by individuals" also presents a breakdown of data by province, as well as information about the characteristics of primary donors, the payment methods used to make donations and the ways in which organizations solicit donors. Data on what motivates donors and their general perceptions of charitable and non-profit organizations are also given.

Canadians contribute in many ways to charitable organizations. Data in this release are from the General Social Survey – Giving, Volunteering and Participating (4430). This survey collects information on all monetary donations reported by individuals, regardless of whether or not the donation resulted in a tax credit. Only charitable donations made in the 12 months preceding the survey are included.

Another source of donation data at Statistics Canada is the Financial Data and Charitable Donations (4106) program. These data include only amounts given to charities and approved organizations for which official tax receipts were provided and claimed on tax returns. It is possible to carry donations forward for up to five years after the year in which they were made.


The article "Charitable giving by individuals," which is part of the publication Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey (Catalogue number89-652-X), is now available from the Browse by key resource module of our website under Publications.

The infographic "Charitable giving in Canada," which is part of Statistics Canada — Infographics (Catalogue number11-627-M), is also available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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