Canadian Fundraising Ticking Slowly Upward

Overall giving in Canada grew 2.7 percent during the three-month period ending Feb. 28, 2014, compared to the same period one year earlier and online giving grew 7.2 percent.

Software firm Blackbaud released its first Blackbaud Index-Canada today. The Canadian results showed stronger overall growth but less online growth than the American giving index for February 2014, which had 0.7 percent overall growth of the same period one year earlier and a 13.8 percent jump in online giving.

According to Blackbaud spokesman Andy Prince, this index is the first time the company has aggregated data from its Canadian clients and released it as a report.

Both metrics in the Canadian index showed improvement compared to the three-month period that ended in January 2014, which had 1 percent overall and 6.8 percent online growth. In the past year’s worth of indexes, September 2013 showed the strongest overall growth, at 7.1 percent, while November 2013’s 13.6 percent bump in online giving was the highest.

“Canadian charities with effective fundraising programs benefited from growing investment in fundraising staff and capacity, greater attention to major donors and donor loyalty, and increasing sophistication in fundraising technology and best practices,” wrote the report’s author Todd Cohen. “But many Canadian charities face big challenges in securing the investment they need in their fundraising capacity, particularly in developing board leadership and staff expertise.”

Canada’s nonprofit sector is the second largest in the world behind the United States, with approximately 170,000 organizations. The sector accounts for 2 million jobs and 7.8 percent of Canada’s gross domestic product. The Blackbaud Index-Canada tracks data from 276 organizations that raise between $600 million and $700 million per year, between 6 and 7 percent of the Canadian sector. For comparison, the U.S. index tracks data from 4,186 nonprofits with $12.8 billion in revenue, about 4.5 percent of the total sector.

The Canadian charitable sector finished 2013 strong, with the 276 tracked nonprofits raising 6 percent more in the second half of 2013 than they did during the second half of 2012. In total, the nonprofits tracked in the index raised $692.5 million in 2013. According to the report, growth was flat in the first half of 2013. About one-third of giving takes place in the final quarter, with 25 percent occurring in December.

“That surge in overall giving represented a strong finish for a year in which Canadian nonprofits generally posted lower overall results for much of the year, compared to the previous year,” said Blackbaud chief scientist Chuck Longfield in the report. “It does look like things are looking up in the Canadian market.”