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Most Canadian Businesses Support Charity

(March 3, 2008) An overwhelming percentage of Canadian businesses provide support to charities in some manner, according to a new report by Imagine Canada.

Involving nearly 2,200 companies, the report, Business Contributions to Canadian Communities, found that 91 percent of companies provide some form of support to charities and nonprofits. The various methods of support include:

  • 76 percent provide cash donations
  • 51 percent give goods and products
  • 43 percent provide services
  • 43 percent support or encourage their employees to volunteer
  • 22 percent raise funds from customers and suppliers

Causes related to children and youth were the most popular recipients of business support, with 68 percent and 55 percent of all businesses reporting contributions to those causes, respectively.

Businesses Engaged, But More Coordination Needed

Even more importantly, a large majority of businesses see the value of supporting the charitable sector.  Nearly nine in 10 (87 percent) said that an important reason for their contributions was because they help build strong and healthy communities, which is good for business.  In addition, more than eight in 10 (83 percent) said that an important reason for their contributions was “because it is a good thing to do, irrespective of financial returns.”

“We see that both large and small companies across Canada are drawing on a broad range of their assets to support community organizations,” said Dr. Michael Hall, vice president of research at Imagine Canada, and lead author of the report, in a press release.  “However, we believe there is still potential for businesses to increase the impact of their contributions by devoting more attention to organizing and formalizing their giving strategies."

According to the survey, only 22 percent of companies have ongoing programs to organize their giving, and just 8 percent have written policies to guide their giving. Hall suggests this may be one reason why businesses reported that one of the biggest challenges is the difficulty they face in responding to increasing requests for support.

About the Study

Business Contributions to Canadian Communities is available here for purchase at the Imagine Canada website.

Imagine Canada is a national charity that works to increase philanthropy and public engagement and strengthen the nonprofit sector.