BMO Financial Group

BMO Financial Group
BMO Harris Private Banking

BMO Harris Private Banking

November 15, 2010 06:00 ET

Despite Recession, Canada's Wealthy Keep On Giving

- Three-quarters think it's important to personally give back to their community

- Two-thirds say they expect to donate between 1 and 3 per cent of their wealth this year

- Women more likely than men to say it's important to personally give back

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 15, 2010) - BMO Harris Private Banking released the results of a survey today examining the charitable giving habits of high-net-worth Canadians(1) which finds that the majority (76 per cent) believe it is important to personally give back to their community.

The survey, conducted by Harris/Decima, also found that, despite the recent recession and market volatility, two-thirds (62 per cent) of affluent Canadians plan on giving away between one and three per cent of their wealth this year. The majority of respondents (59 per cent) report that the recession has not impacted their donating habits. 

"It is encouraging to see that the majority of high-net-worth Canadians continue to consider philanthropic initiatives to be an important part of their lifestyle despite the recent economic downturn," said Marvi Ricker, Vice President & Managing Director, BMO Harris Private Banking. "Incorporating charitable giving into your life, regardless of your financial status, can provide a real sense of personal satisfaction, engagement and the ability to make a difference."

Ms. Ricker went on to highlight that this time of year marks a point when many people and organizations pay particular attention to their charitable giving initiatives, whether it be to the United Way/Centraide or their local community foundations. These organizations provide an easy and efficient way for Canadians to get their money to where it is needed most.

Other Key Findings:

  • Eighty-nine per cent of those who hold a business as an investment vehicle say that personally giving back to the community is important to them.
  • Women (91 per cent) are more likely than men (72 per cent) to say it is important to personally give back to their community.
  • Increasing media and public attention on environmental issues has not impacted giving patterns- 81 per cent of respondents indicate that they are not swayed by environmental causes-of-the-day when giving.

"Generally, the survey results validate strong trends we have been seeing among our clients," continued Ms. Ricker. "One of the points that really stood out is the growing number of self-made professionals and business owners who are feeling a strong sense of gratitude regarding their achievements and want to share that success by donating a portion of their financial wealth to the benefit of their communities."

For those thinking of getting involved in philanthropic initiatives, Ms. Ricker suggests the following: 

  • Have a plan: Think about an issue or cause that is important to you; one that will motivate you to contribute your time, energy and money.
  • Do your research: Find out about both the cause and the organization you are thinking of getting involved with to understand where your funds could be allocated to greatest effect.
  • Get outside help: Speak with your financial advisor, who can help you determine how much money you will want to dedicate to your cause, whether it be on a regular basis or a one-time donation.

The online survey was completed by Harris/Decima between September 2 to 8, 2010 using their proprietary panel. A total of 459 Canadian adults who have $1 million in total investable assets and at least share in the financial decision-making process of their household were surveyed.

(1) For the purposes of this release, "wealthy", "high-net-worth", and "affluent" refer to those Canadian adults who have at least $1M in total investable assets

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