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Ipsos Poll: Twenty Three Percent of Canadians Now Rely on Charities to Meet Essential Needs

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62% of Canadians expecting to need charitable services in the next six months say they cannot keep up with the cost of living; new data highlights why charities are struggling to keep up with demand

TORONTO, May 16, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CanadaHelps, the country’s largest platform for donating and fundraising online, has published the findings from a new Ipsos poll that reveals 23% of Canadians are currently accessing charitable services to meet essential needs such as food, clothing, or shelter; this is expected to increase to 26% within six months. The alarming number of Canadians expecting to turn to charity represents a four-point increase since last fall. The poll also reveals that among those Canadians who are expecting to use essential charitable services in the next six months, 62% of them say they can’t keep up with the rising cost of living, ultimately resulting in charities facing unprecedented new strains on their operations and pressure to meet growing demand.

Key Findings from the Ipsos Poll

  • Women (27%) are significantly more likely to say they will need to use charitable services to get by, up 9 points from fall 2022, while men are slightly less likely to need help (25%, -2%).
  • Significantly more Canadians aged 18-34 (38%, +3%) and 35-54 (30%, +4%) are likely to require charitable services in the near future than those ages 55+ (14%, +4%) compared to fall 2022.
  • Canadians with household incomes below $40K a year (46%) are most in need, up 11 percentage points from fall 2022, while those earning $40K to $60K (18%, -9%) are less likely to rely on these services.
  • Three in ten (29%) parents expect to access charitable services in the coming year, up +2% since fall 2022.
  • Canadians who say they are most likely to access charitable services are unable to work due to mental or physical illness (59%), work multiple part-time jobs (43%), or are currently searching for work (40%).
  • Others who are likely to access charitable services are facing addiction (8%), are fleeing domestic violence (7%), or say they need these services for some other reason (15%).

“These numbers are stark and startling,” says Duke Chang, President and Chief Executive Officer of CanadaHelps. “As a result of sustained inflation and economic pressures, Canadians are struggling and turning to charities in numbers we’ve never seen before. The call to action from this new data is clear – we must rally together to ensure charities have the funding and volunteers they need to meet the tremendous growth in demand for their services, and long-term solutions are in desperate need. While charities must respond with speed and agility to new demand, the government must enact strategic, long-term, and targeted policies to help lift Canadians out of poverty.”

Regional Findings from the Ipsos Poll

  • Regionally, since 2022, demand for charitable services to support essential needs has increased in Ontario (32%, +14%) and British Columbia (21%, +3%), but decreased in Alberta (27%, -3%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (25%, -2%), Quebec (22%, -4%), and Atlantic Canada (20%, -5%).

According to The Giving Report 2023 released last month, more than 30% of charities are reporting revenue below pre-pandemic levels and 57% of charities are reporting that they are unable to meet current levels of demand.

What Charities Are Saying

  • “At the onset of the pandemic, many food banks experienced a surge in demand that was met by an outpouring of generosity,” says Kirstin Beardsley, Chief Executive Officer of Food Banks Canada. “Today, however, Canadian food banks are experiencing an even higher demand for services that far outpaces donations. New clients are turning to food banks for the very first time, including seniors, children, Canadians on a single income, or those working multiple jobs to make ends meet.”
  • “These new numbers highlight gendered poverty in Canada, a reality that many single mothers, women with disabilities, and others who are marginalized face due to significant economic barriers,” says Paulette Senior, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. “It limits options, keeps women and gender-diverse people trapped in unsafe situations, and exacerbates all gender inequalities. Government, non-profits, workplaces, and philanthropists have to work in tandem to turn the tide of gendered poverty, which harms over half of the population and reverberates across families and communities.”

To learn about the many ways Canadians can support charities, visit CanadaHelps.

About the Ipsos Poll

  • These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between April 25th and April 26th, 2023 on behalf of CanadaHelps.org. For this survey, a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18+ were interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

About CanadaHelps

CanadaHelps is a public foundation advancing philanthropy through technology. For Canadians, it powers CanadaHelps.org, a safe and trusted destination for discovering and supporting any charity in Canada, and UniteforChange.com, where Canadians can learn about causes and easily support the collective work of charities addressing a cause they care about. CanadaHelps also develops affordable fundraising technology used by more than 26,000 charities, and free training and education so that, regardless of size, all charities have the capacity to increase their impact and succeed in the digital age. Since 2000, over 3.6 million people have given more than $2.3 billion through CanadaHelps. Connect with CanadaHelps on TwitterFacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

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  • Date

    May 24, 2023

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