As 2020 continued to unfold, the Canadian social good community found itself navigating a rapidly evolving and unprecedented landscape. The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations across Canada to grapple with seismic shifts to their operations, from canceling major fundraising events to working remotely and altering service delivery in ways they never have before.

According to the Blackbaud Institute 2020 Charitable Giving Report, “year-over-year changes showed overall charitable giving in Canada increased 6.4% over the last 12 months. Additionally, online fundraising in Canada experienced a 23.7% increase in the past 12 months ending in June 2021 compared to the previous 12 months ending June 2020.” This amplifies the figures and giving trends we are reporting from our Canadian Luminate Online customers.

Although Canadians continue to give to a diverse range of causes, online donations supporting social services and health charities grew significantly in response to COVID-19. One of the largest sectors of growth was seen within food banks. Canadians came together in record numbers to help food banks across Canada continue to be there for Canadians during the first year of the pandemic and continue to do so today.

Online Giving & Sustainer Trends

  • The propensity for giving across Canada increased as total online revenue grew by 30.8%, almost twice the industry average of 15.8%.
  • The average online transaction for a first-time donor within Canada ($154.27) was above the industry median ($138.69).
  • As a result of uncertain economic and environmental factors, we saw an increased reluctancy towards sustained giving, as sustainer revenue as a percentage of total revenue decreased from the previous year.

Email Engagement Trends

  • As in-person fundraising opportunities shrunk due to health restrictions and pandemic related guidance, we saw some of that revenue get re-captured through email fundraising as revenue solicited by email increased by 72.2%.
  • As email lists grew by 13%, so did the number of emails sent. Canada saw an increase of 32.2%, compared to the industry median of 15.9%.
  • The email open rate (24.8%) was also above the industry average (15.2%).

Which of these trends will continue?

Blackbaud experts identify the 2020 trends likely to continue into 2022 and suggest ideas and tactics to make the most of online fundraising.