The Blackbaud Institute Index – Canada

Canada has multiple, credible sources of giving data publicly available.  There’s yearly tax data collected by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) from charities and individuals, as well as, the quinquennial survey on Volunteering and Charitable Giving by Statistics Canada.  These sources offer different perspectives and insight into giving by Canadians and are excellent resources for the sector.

We are pleased to add our perspective to the mix and provide the most current view of nationwide giving, The Blackbaud Institute Index – Canada.   Since its launch in 2014 the Index has grown to include approximately over 400 Canadian organizations and more than $1B in giving.  The Index is updated each quarter and reports year-over-year percent changes, as well as, giving to date for the last 12 months.

2019 Quarterly Overall Charitable Giving

  • Q2 2019 vs Q2 2018 -3.2%
  • Past 12-Months -3.6%*

Overall 2018 charitable giving increased by 1.9%.Given the relatively flat growth in giving we observed in 2018 and the continuing trend in the first quarter of 2019, it’s more important than ever for charities to focus on retaining and engaging the donors they do have.  As you tweak your strategies for 2019, remember your entire giving experience must be optimized from engagement to communication to donation to acknowledgment. Expect to see a widening gap between organizations that are continuously optimizing and those that are standing still.

A Message from Allan Hoffmann
Blackbaud President and General Manager of Blackbaud Canada

“The Blackbaud Index – Canada is an excellent tool enabling Canadian organizations to gauge the overall direction of giving across the country on a quarterly basis. I am thrilled the Blackbaud Institute is tracking giving data and providing a resource organizations can use to understand trends, benchmark their efforts, inform their strategic planning and ultimately make better decisions.”

How we create the Index

Each quarter, we draw actual giving statistics from the databases of around over 400 Canadian charities using a variety of fundraising systems to determine how much revenue was raised. We include giving from all sources of fundraising activities: direct mail, telemarketing, face-to-face fundraising, email, online, mobile giving, small- and large-scale events, and major and deferred giving.

We do not include the unfulfilled portion of pledge gifts, but we do include the donated value of in-kind and stock gifts. We include giving from individuals, corporations, and foundations but do not include giving by individuals or corporations to private and community foundations or other intermediaries. To include these gifts would double count the revenue when those organizations subsequently make grants to other charities. We do not currently exclude the advantage amount or the value of goods and services provided in exchange for donations or event participation (for example: a campaign where donors who give more than $100 receives a coffee mug or the difference between the cost of a meal provided at a signature event and the cost of sponsorship or ticket) but hope to in the future. And lastly, we do include adjustments made to gifts (e.g., bounced checks and refunds) to provide a more accurate accounting of real revenues. As a result, you may find that indices values change slightly, as we obtain newly-adjusted data from each organization.

We report the Index as a three-month moving median of year-over-year percent changes in giving. We add up all giving for the prior three months and compare this total to the same three months one year earlier to calculate the annual percent change for each organization in our index.

Why do this?

“Economic conditions, natural disasters, and market fluctuations have made it extremely difficult for non-profits to make fundraising decisions informed by the latest donor behaviour. That is why we created The Blackbaud Index — to provide insight into what happened in the prior quarter and valuable analysis by leaders in the sector into what fundraisers can learn from it.”
— Chuck Longfield, Founder of Blackbaud Institute Index and Blackbaud Institute Advisory Board Member

Many organizations have big campaigns (events or mailings) that occur at roughly the same time each year. However, if an event was in late May one year but June the next, the change in monthly giving might be significant while the change in giving over a three-month period might be the same. An index based on a moving median is less sensitive to these small timing issues and will serve as a more practical decision-making tool. However, one downside of a moving median is that it can dampen large fluctuations caused, for example, by disaster relief giving.

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For more Canadian insight: 50 fascinating stats about Canadian Charities

The Blackbaud Institute Index – US

The Blackbaud Institute Index – UK

The Blackbaud Institute Index – AUS

*2018 Blackbaud Institute Charitable Giving Report – Canadian Highlights

Benchmarking: The Insight Track to Success

Listen to your data to transform your organization’s strategy. The Blackbaud Institute Index keeps you aware of the trends, and now this guide offers practical strategies for using these resources to introduce benchmarking across your organization.

Download the free guide now!