Charitable giving on the rise in Canada, up 8% at $624 in 2014: BMO poll

TORONTO – A new poll says charitable giving by Canadians remains on the rise and is expected to increase yet again next year.

The poll, produced for the Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) by Pollara, found 84 per cent of those surveyed reported making some form of charitable donation in the past 12 months, up from 77 per cent in its 2013 survey.

The BMO Charitable Giving Poll also found that Canadians were giving more, with average donations by respondents totalling $624 — up eight per cent from $580 last year and from an average of $557 in 2012.

Moreover, the survey, released Friday to mark National Philanthropy Day in Canada, found that a full 90 per cent of Canadians expected to make charitable donations next year, with average giving rising to $720.

Health, anti-poverty and animal welfare were the most popular causes, being among the choices of 66, 39 and 22 per cent of donors respectively. Education, at 16 per cent, and environmental causes, at 11 per cent, saw the largest increase in donations in 2014 — up four and three percentage points respectively.

The poll also ranked the most popular methods for donating among Canadians, with donations of cash at specific locations being among the choices of 46 per cent of survey respondents.

Purchasing products to be donated came next at 40 per cent, followed by donations added to point of sale transactions at 29 per cent and online donations via credit cards at 24 per cent.

“Year after year, Canadians have shown that supporting charities and causes across the country is a priority for them and their generosity is showing no signs of slowing down,” BMO spokesman Nick Mastromarco said.

Mastromarco added that regardless of the amount or method, it’s important that people ensure they can track their donations, both from a financial planning and tax efficiency perspective.

“Using secure payment methods and tools and working with a financial planner to build charitable giving into your overall household budget can help ensure you maximize the amount you’re able to give and take advantage of the tax benefits associated with your donations,” he said.

The results were compiled from a random sample of 1,003 Canadians 18 years of age and over surveyed between Oct. 20 and Oct. 22. Pollara says a sample of this size is accurate to plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.