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Canadians re-evaluate how they support charities amidst financial concerns

Canadians are calling on governments and corporate Canada to step up in their support for nonprofits.

Toronto (April 18, 2023) – A new study by Sage, the leader in accounting, financial, HR, and payroll technology for small and mid-sized businesses, has found that Canadian donors and volunteers are re-evaluating how they would like to support charities in face of personal or family’s financial health concerns. 

The annual Grow Together Report - conducted by Léger - surveyed 1,004 Canadian donors and volunteers in March 2023 to understand how the current economic volatility is affecting charitable giving in Canada and how nonprofits can drive higher donor and volunteer engagement. The survey found, economic uncertainty is having a significant impact on donors and volunteers plans to give back in 2023, including:

  • Two-thirds (63%) of Canadian donors and volunteers are concerned about their person or family’s financial health in the next 12 months, with 17% being very concerned.
  • More than a third (38%) will stop or reduce their charitable donations in the next 12 months.
  • More than a quarter (26%) will either stop volunteering, reduce their volunteer hours, or keep volunteering but support fewer charities in the next 12 months.

While Canadians are concerned with the current economic uncertainty, their support for charitable causes remains strong, but they are choosing to engage differently. The survey found that 69% of respondents, across all age groups, said they are likely to support charitable causes through shopping at a business or brand that donates a portion of the sales to charities. Additionally, 60% of respondents said they are likely to support charitable causes by signing a petition to advocate for a charitable cause, with the younger generation sharing more enthusiasm - 68% age 18 – 34 and 63% age 35 – 54.

“Understandably Canadian charities are facing some tailwind from unprecedented inflation and an uncertain economic outlook,” said Mark Hickman, Managing Director of Sage in Canada. “However, our findings also show nonprofits have an important opportunity to rethink how they can work with individual and corporate supporters. To attract and retain supporters, nonprofits must be ready to engage them differently and efficiently.”

Driving Donor Support
Given the economic uncertainty and shifting giving behaviours, Canadians are becoming more strategic and expecting more transparency with the nonprofits they choose to support. The survey found that supporters are paying close attention to charities’ efficiencies and how they are being engaged digitally as a criterion to earn their support:

  • 86% of respondents said they are more likely to donate to a charity if they know the charity is operating efficiently.
  • 83% think charities with up-to-date web sites, digital processes and communications can make it easier for donors and volunteers to give back.
  • 73% of respondents believe charities that are taking advantage of available technologies are operating more efficiently.
  • 66% support the use of automation technologies to reduce overhead costs.
  • 66% are more willing to donate if they can manage their donations online.

"At Vancouver Food Runners (VFR), a food recovery organization, we recognize these are uncertain times for many people in Canada. In our work, we use app technology to help redirect surplus food from businesses to non-profit organizations, and volunteers are able to instantly see the food rescues available near them,” said Michelle Reining, Executive Director of Vancouver Food Runners. “This allows for flexible, on demand volunteering with our organization, as we know people have busy lives. Being cost-effective and efficient is also a priority for us. Our app tracks all our metrics, and financial partners appreciate knowing that every $1 donated to VFR results in more than $8 in food (or two meals) going directly to the community." 

In addition to improving efficiencies and digital engagement, Canadians are expecting  businesses (63%) and governments (57%) to do more. More women are holding this belief (67% for corporate support and 62% government support) than men (59% businesses and 52% government support). Additionally, individuals aged 18-34 (65%) feel that governments should be stepping up to support charities compared to those aged 55 and over (50%).

Furthermore, 37% of respondents want businesses to increase their donations / sponsorships to support charities’ programs and / or operations. While a quarter (26%) want businesses to lend their expertise as well as financial support to improve charities operations and technologies to achieve better efficiencies.
Building a Corporate Culture Around Giving Back 
In addition to helping to close the giving gap, there are added benefits to corporations to increase their support for charitable causes. The survey found organizations can strengthen their corporate culture by supporting charitable causes. Two-thirds of Canadians (66%) would feel more proud of their employer if they are offered opportunities to give back to charities with colleagues. Additionally, 62% would feel a stronger sense of belonging if their employer offers opportunities to give back to charities with their colleagues. 

To read the full 2023 Grow Together report, visit

Media contact:

Brittany Farquhar
PR Manager, Canada
[email protected]

Research methodology

An online survey of 1,004 Canadian Donor and Volunteers was completed between March 15th and March 20th, 2023, using Leger’s online panel. No margin of error can be associated with a non-probability sample (i.e., a web panel in this case). For comparative purposes, though, a probability sample of 1004 respondents would have a margin of error of =/-3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

About Sage

Sage exists to knock down barriers so everyone can thrive, starting with the millions of Small and Mid-Sized Businesses served by us, our partners, and accountants. Customers trust our finance, HR, and payroll software to make work and money flow. By digitizing business processes and relationships with customers, suppliers, employees, banks and governments, our digital network connects SMBs, removing friction and delivering insights. Knocking down barriers also means we use our time, technology, and experience to tackle digital inequality, economic inequality, and the climate crisis. Learn more at

About Leger  

Leger is the largest Canadian-owned market research and analytics company, with more than 600 employees in eight Canadian and US offices. Leger has been working with prestigious clients since 1986.

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