Gen X a Rising Force in Canadian Philanthropy; Boomers and Civics Most Generous

canadian flag_0Gen X is a rising force in Canadian philanthropy, quickly gaining on Boomers and Civics, the most generous generations.


A newly released study, 2013 Next Generation of Canadian Giving, uncovers the preferred giving and communication channels of four generations of Canadian donors: Generation Y (18-32); Generation X (33-48); Baby Boomers (49-67); and Civics (68+).

The study, which builds on a similar one conducted in 2010, is based on a major national survey of Canadian donors, commissioned by Blackbaud, and produced by hjc, Edge Research and SeaChange Strategies.

Key findings include:

  • Gen X is giving in high numbers and is an important generation to watch.
  • Multichannel is the new normal. While all generations are multi-channel in their communications habits, the ideal mix varies from generation to generation.
  • Direct mail is far from dead, but it also won’t last forever. Gen Y and X are far more likely to give online, and as many Baby Boomers say they give online as via direct mail.
  • Generation Y has distinct priorities and preferences with regard to causes they support. Notably, they are far more likely to demand accountability and transparency than older donors.
  • The value of some channels, e.g. social media, is undervalued if measured by transaction, as opposed to engagement, metrics.

Differences between Canadian and United States donors

Because the study was based on similar studies into the habits and preferences of American donors, it also provides insight into the differences between Canadian donors and their American counterparts. For example, support for advocacy organizations in the U.S. is almost double that in Canada, and support for military troops/veteran organisations is about three times greater in the U.S.

However, Canadians are far more likely to support health and children’s charities than their American counterparts.

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