2022 Giving Season Recommendations

2022 Giving Season Recommendations

On the air with CBC News we discussed how inflation, higher food prices and shelter costs may affect donations this Giving Season 2022 and how charities will be able to cope.

We’re optimistic and take the dire headlines in stride. Canadians have always risen to challenges in the past. When covid hit in March 2020, there were catastrophic estimates that projected donations would drop 37%. That didn't happen. Actually giving increased 2%. We’re in a giving boom driven by demographics, rising prosperity and Canadian generosity. Giving is part of disposable income which tracks gross domestic product. The economic forecast is that Canada’s GDP grows 3% in 2022 and stabilizes at 1% growth in 2023. Giving should track along these lines.

For the 2022 Giving Season, we ask Canadians to consider giving more to smaller, local frontline charities rather than rich, national big-brand charities. We're concerned that it looks like donations to smaller charities dropped 1% compared with a 12% increase in donations to large charities.


2021/2022 update from charities in our database*

10% increase in overall donations for March 2022 and 2021 year ends. This increase in donations is more than the 7%-8% increase in inflation.

In response to covid, Canadians shifted their giving to food banks and shelters.

46% increase in donations to foodbanks

15% increase in shelter donations.

Cash and investments held by charities increased 21%. (We define funding reserves as the cash and investments a charity holds less bank debts and mortgages). This increase in funding reserves tells us that charities didn’t spend all the additional donations received in previous years. Some money was banked for the future. This gives some charities the financial ability to meet increases in demand or higher prices.


Worried about small local frontline charities

But in the numbers, the increase in donations was not across the board. Donations to large charities increased 12% whereas donations to smaller charities with revenues under $5 million dropped 1%.

One of the less known issues is how rich some charities are. Donors are familiar with looking at overhead costs and cents to the cause. Yet most donors are less familiar with looking at a charity’s balance sheet. Looking back at our 2020 data, 131 charities had more than three years of program spending in the bank. This is 16% of the charities we analyze. Seventy charities, 9%, had more than five years. For your giving to do the most good, it needs to go where there is a current need.

As always, we urge Canadians to give intelligently. Do your homework and look to switch some of your giving to small, local frontline charities. If you need any help, we’re always here.



*Data is drawn from the 450 (out of 803) charities in our database with updated financial data for years ending 2021 (or 2022 if available). 

Learn more

2022's Top 100 Charities

Funding reserves why "Excessive fundraising by charities is not a joke", Opinion piece for Calgary Herald September 2020

These findings are similar to our mid-summer update July 2022


If you find Charity Intelligence’s research useful in your giving, please donate to support our work. Being funded by donors like you maintains our independence to help Canadians be informed in their giving. Canadians donate over $18 billion each year. This giving could achieve tremendous results. We hope Charity Intelligence’s research helps Canadians give better.

Legal disclaimer: The information in this report was prepared by Charity Intelligence Canada and its independent analysts from publicly available information. Charity Intelligence and its analysts have made endeavours to ensure that the data in this report is accurate and complete but accepts no liability.

The views and opinions expressed are to inform donors on matters of public interest. Views and opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, organization, individual, or anyone or anything. Any dispute arising from your use of this website or viewing this material shall be governed by the laws of the Province of Ontario, without regard to any conflict or law provision.

Print   Email

Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors to be informed and give intelligently. Our website posts free reports on more than 800 Canadian charities, as well as in-depth primers on philanthropic sectors like Canada’s environment, cancer, and homelessness. Today over 500,000 Canadians use our website as a go-to source for information on Canadian charities reading over 1.6 million charity reports. Through rigorous and independent research, Charity Intelligence aims to assist Canada’s dynamic charitable sector in being more transparent, accountable and focused on results.


Be Informed. Give Intelligently. Have Impact


Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001