When it comes to philanthropy on the Sunshine Coast, where do you start? We are one of those communities blessed to have citizens who are generous with both their money and their time. And regardless of what we may think, according to Statistics Canada thatís not unusual in our country.
Generally speaking, Iíd just as soon read Lord of the Flies in pig Latin as spend a few days dwelling on statistics. However, perusing the mathematical equations of Canadian trends in giving is actually quite interesting.
Some of the indicators are not surprising. For instance, the older you are, the more apt you are to give. It would appear that the longer your days on Earth, the more you come to realize that you really canít take it with you.
Also interesting is the correlation between religious giving and donations in general ó†it would appear that folks with faith have stronger social consciences. Dare I say they donít worry about having money to burn?
Another factoid I found heartening is the relationship between people who do volunteer work and their donations. It appears people who spend their leisure time giving back to their causes also donate more than those who do not volunteer. According to a 2010 report, Canadian Social Trends, issued by Stats Canada of the people who volunteered more than 60 hours in the previous year, 91 per cent also made donations ó†giving an average of $784 as opposed to the $288 of those unwilling or unable to volunteer time.
The statistics also indicate that ó contrary to the opinion some of us have that the rich continue to get richer and donít really give a damn about the rest of us ó the more money a person has, the more likely he or she is to be a philanthropist. In fact, people whose household earnings are $120,000 make up 33 per cent of the top donors in Canada.
Our patterns of giving in Canada make for interesting reading too.
Overall in 2010, of the $10 billion Canadians gave, 40 per cent went to religious organizations ($4.26 billion), and thatís actually down from the 46 per cent in 2007. Given that 61 per cent of the top donors are 65 or older and are the most apt to donate to a religious organization, the coming years could trigger a crisis of faith in Canadian churches.
The report also shows that anglophones are significantly more generous than francophones by a three to one margin. Quebec showed the least median and average annual donations of the all the provinces in 2010.
Those of us who chose to donate and are not affiliated with a religion are most likely to give to an organization in the health sector, women even more so than men. Older seniors are likely to have made at least one donation to a hospital in 2010. Given our higher than average senior population, this may help to explain at least in part the success of the hospital foundation and auxiliaries on the Coast in their drive to make our new hospital extension state of the art.
Some of the reasons we donít give include a lack of empathy for the cause and/or a concern that our hard-earned dollars may not be used exclusively for what we intended. That, in part, may explain why organizations like Rotary International and Community Foundations such as our own Sunshine Coast Community Foundation are becoming more popular beneficiaries of choice. Open reporting and a low-to-nil overhead in the organizations give us faith that our money is benefitting a lot of people.
When you look around the Sunshine Coast it quickly becomes apparent that the statistics on giving are more than cold hard facts ó†our generosity is the glue that binds us. November truly is a month to celebrate philanthropy.