How nonprofits can recapture the generosity of Canadians


A recent study reveals that Americans give more to charity annually than Canadians. Generosity was the focus of a recent study by Canada's Fraser Institute.

Investigating the country's most up-to-date tax data, which spans the decade between 2001 and 2011, the Fraser Institute's annual generosity index discovered that charitable gifts had declined in nearly every Canadian province, with the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Overall, just under 23 percent of Canadians gave to charity in 2011, managing to be three points shy of their American counterpart. Not only are fewer Canadians giving, but the ones who are making donations are contributing less. The Fraser Institute found that Canadians were giving only 0.64 percent of their aggregate income, while Americans were giving 1.33 percent, making the average U.S. contribution $3,000 more.

What to do?
It's not as though Canadians are overly frugal. They have shown a penchant for generosity in recent history. So the question becomes: What can nonprofits be doing to increase gift amounts and donor retention?

Go online!
As it's done with most industries, the hand of technology has taken a firm hold on the nonprofit sector. Accepting donations online opens your organization up to a whole other world of potential donors. By allowing interested parties to give digitally, you remove location from the donation equation. Before you may have only invested efforts in drawing attention locally,but on the Internet you can establish your nonprofit as a global brand. If people in your neighborhood want to give, chances are there are other people around the world who are just as interested.

Don't go for the one and done
If someone wants to give a one-time donation to your charity, great. There's hardly ever a reason to say no to a generous gift. The end-goal, however, should be to establish regular contributors. Quick donations can put pressure on your organization to be continually seeking out new donors. Of course, fundraising should be an ongoing effort, but monthly contributors give you the ease of mind to focus on the mission of your charity rather than struggling to constantly raise money for it.

Document your efforts
For many, donating money to charity is not so much a blind gift as it is an investment in your nonprofit's specific message. They like what you and your staff are doing so much that they're willing to reach into their pocket and hand you money so you can keep doing it. Pay them back by showing them how their money is helping. Social media, your website, there are any number of ways to share articles, pictures and videos that your donors will appreciate.

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