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BMO Harris Private Banking

BMO Harris Private Banking

November 15, 2012 06:00 ET

BMO Harris Private Banking Annual Philanthropy Report: Charitable Giving is On the Rise in Canada

- Seventy-nine per cent of Canadians made a charitable donation in 2012, an increase of more than 10 per cent from 2011

- Average donation in 2012 is $557, up from $487 in 2011

- Ontario led the country with 85 per cent having made a donation and giving the highest average amount, followed by the Prairies and Atlantic Canada

- Health, anti-poverty and animal welfare are most popular causes to support

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 15, 2012) - With today marking National Philanthropy Day, BMO Harris Private Banking has released the findings of its Second Annual Philanthropy Report which found that the number of Canadians giving to charitable causes - and the amount they are giving - is rising.

The report revealed that almost 79 per cent of Canadians made a charitable donation over the last 12 months, up from 68 per cent last year. The amount they are giving has also increased, from an average of $487 in 2011 to $557 this year.

Ontario led the country with both the highest percentage of individuals (85 per cent) who donated in 2012 and with the highest average amount ($778) given as well. The Prairies were the second highest region in the country with 84 per cent donating and an average amount of $751, followed by residents in Atlantic Canada at 78 per cent with an average of $616.

According to the report, the most popular causes Canadians supported include:

  • Health and medical (60 per cent)
  • Anti-poverty (45 per cent)
  • Animal welfare (30 per cent)
  • Education (19 per cent)

"Canadians continue to demonstrate their generosity in supporting charitable causes," said Marvi Ricker, Vice President & Managing Director of Philanthropic Services, BMO Harris Private Banking. "It's very gratifying to see that not only are more Canadians choosing to donate, but the amount they're giving has increased too. Donating to a worthy cause is a great way to support one's community and help the less fortunate."

Ms. Ricker noted that studies have shown that supporting charitable causes can increase one's overall happiness. Additionally, it allows individuals to take advantage of valuable tax benefits.

The report also found that only 18 per cent of Canadians have a specific strategy for giving; meanwhile, 45 per cent donate on an ad hoc basis. Furthermore, just half (51 per cent) involve their spouse or partner in their giving decisions and only 15 per cent involve their children.

"In order for your donations to have the maximum impact, consider working with a financial professional to develop a giving strategy that becomes part of your overall financial plan," added Ms. Ricker.

BMO Harris Private Banking provides the following tips for those looking to develop a giving strategy:

Speak with a professional: Regardless of the amount you are going to be donating, work with a financial professional to develop a plan that includes a budget for giving. This is an important first step to a sound strategy.

Gifts of securities: Recent federal budgets have fully eliminated the capital gains tax on donations of publicly traded securities to a registered charity. These include shares, bonds and mutual funds. Donating securities is more advantageous than selling them and donating the cash proceeds; the capital gain on the donated securities is tax-free.

Consider alternative methods: Credit cards, like BMO Rewards World Elite MasterCard, provide cardholders with the ability to donate their points to charities. Customers can use their points to make a donation to four charities: United Way of Canada, The Canadian Cancer Society, The Canadian Red Cross and Make-a-Wish Foundation of Canada.

Regional Breakdown- BMO Harris Private Banking Philanthropy Report

Percentage who donated to a charity 79 78 72 85 84 77 77
Average amount donated (in $) 557 616 129 778 751 558 512
Percentage who have a donating strategy in place (i.e. a philanthropic plan) 18 23 9 21 17 20 20

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The online survey was conducted by Pollara from November 2 to November 5, 2012 among a randomly-selected, representative sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18 years and over. A probability sample of this size would yield results accurate to +/- 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.

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