Gen­er­ous crowd

N.L. main­tains best donor rate in Canada

The Compass - - S22, - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON TRANSCON­TI­NEN­TAL ME­DIA

New­found­land and Labrador is once again lead­ing the way in char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions, based on the lat­est find­ings of a Sta­tis­tics Canada sur­vey.

The 2010 Cana­dian Sur­vey of Giv­ing, Vol­un­teer­ing and Par­tic­i­pat­ing, re­leased March 21, found the prov­ince had the high­est donor rate in Canada (92 per cent). The fig­ure rep­re­sents the per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion aged 15 and over who made at least one do­na­tion to a char­ity or non-profit group within a 12-month pe­riod.

“That’s a very high level of civic en­gage­ment,” said Penny Rowe, CEO of the Com­mu­nity Sec­tor Coun­cil of New­found­land and Labrador. “It means only eight per cent of the pop­u­la­tion are not giv­ing any­thing.”

The 2010 fig­ure rep­re­sents a one per­cent­age point in­crease over the donor rate from the 2007 sur­vey. Av­er­age an­nual do­na­tions also in­creased from the 2007 sur­vey ($300) to 2010 ($331). The Cana­dian av­er­age in 2010 was $446.

“It could be that there’s more money in the prov­ince,” said Rowe. “It could be that’s the nat­u­ral in­crease from in­fla­tion over this pe­riod of time. It could be that peo­ple are more ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive in their fundrais­ing, and it could be that peo­ple are af­fil­i­at­ing them­selves with more causes and be­ing more gen­er­ous.”

The vol­un­teer rate in New­found­land and Labrador also im­proved in the lat­est sur­vey, jump­ing from 46 per cent in 2007 to 52 per cent in 2010 among cit­i­zens aged 15 and over. The 2010 fig­ure was above the Cana­dian av­er­age of 47 per cent and ranked sixth among all prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries.

How­ever, the lat­est data also iden­ti­fied a con­tin­u­ing trend among vol­un­teers in the prov­ince of com­mit­ting less time to such en­deav­ours. Av­er­age an­nual vol­un­teer hours for those sur­veyed dropped from 176 hours to 155. In the 2004 sur­vey, that fig­ure was 188.

“That could be at­trib­ut­able to the fact more peo­ple are en­gaged who are just get­ting en­gaged (in vol­un­teerism),” said Rowe, “but the good news is that we have more peo­ple do­ing the vol­un­teer work that needs to get done.”

The Cana­dian av­er­age for an­nual vol­un­teer hours is 156.

Amongst other data, Rowe was par­tic­u­larly pleased with the vol­un­teer rate for peo­ple in New­found­land and Labrador be­tween the ages of 15 to 24. At 74.2 per cent, it was the best re­sult in Canada and an eight-per­cent­age point im­prove­ment over the 2007 sur­vey re­sult.

“We’re con­stantly hear­ing in this prov­ince that young peo­ple don’t get en­gaged, and yet when you look at the six age (ranges), young peo­ple 15 to 24 have a higher rate of vol­un­tary par­tic­i­pa­tion than any other age group.”

New­found­land and Labrador’s donor rate was sec­ond-best within the same age group across Canada, at 78.5 per cent, trail­ing only Nova Sco­tia.

Rowe was also pleased to see the vol­un­teer rate for peo­ple aged 25 to 34 im­prove from 2007 to 2010 — from 41 per cent to 46 per cent. She has heard con­cerns expressed within her sec­tor about who will suc­ceed older vol­un­teers once they are no longer able to con­trib­ute.

“What we can see is these younger peo­ple are start­ing to par­tic­i­pate at a rate higher than they did when the last sur­vey was done, so that’s prob­a­bly a very good sig­nal.”

Rowe noted the sur­vey does not pro­vide data on a re­gional ba­sis within the prov­ince, and said it would be valu­able for the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment to con­sider con­duct­ing a sur­vey of its own on char­i­ta­ble do­na­tion and vol­un­teer trends.

arobin­son@thetele­gram.com

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