Corporate charity support remains near decade high

Corporate support for the country’s non-profit and charitable sector has remained strong despite a slowing economy.

Corporate support for the country’s non-profit and charitable sector has remained strong despite a slowing economy.

According to the latest available information from Statistics Canada, corporate donations remained stable during the economic slowdown in 2008 and 2009 following the global financial crisis. Total donations claimed in 2009 dipped relatively slightly to $2.29 billion from $2.42 billion in 2008 and have stayed above $2 billion since 2005.

The bulk of donated dollars have come from Canada’s largest companies. According to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) data, more than 80% of the $2.4 billion donated in 2006 came from large companies (those with more than $15 million in assets). That’s up from 72% in 2000. The remainder came from Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Overall, the average donation from large Canadian firms has been increasing, rising to $231.305 in 2006 from $132,284 in 2000. The average donation from SMEs has remained relatively consistent at around $7,550 per year between 2000 and 2006.

According to the CRA, a greater proportion of businesses are claiming corporate donations. About 8% of large corporations and 4% of SMEs claimed charitable donations and gifts, up from 7.5% for large businesses and 3.3% for SMEs in 2003.But those numbers are likely to under-report corporate contributions to the non-profit sector. In a report last year, Steven Ayer at Imagine Canada suggested most businesses don’t bother to claim donations on their tax returns, even though most of them support by donating cash and in-kind goods and services.

The figures also don’t take into account the additional support business leaders provide charities. Its 2009 Canadian Survey on Business Contributions to Canadian Communities noted that 83% of large businesses increase their corporate support by mobilizing employees and customers to support local communities. More than 80% gain additional financial support from employees and encourage staff to volunteer. Nearly two-thirds have programs to match employee contributions to charities and half have programs to raise funds from customers and suppliers. •

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