Up-to-the-minute view of Canadian major gift fundraising

publication date: Jun 14, 2012
The statistics look great, but they're a year or two old. That's why KCI convened round table discussions all across the country this spring to see whether the early promise of Canadians' increased giving in 2010 (reported by Statistics Canada in November 2011) and the North American uptick for the first six months of 2011 (Blackbaud) are still delivering.

Here are some of the developments KCI reported in its spring issue of Philanthropic Trends Quarterly.

Cautious optimism

The fundraisers who spoke with KCI conveyed hope and enthusiasm, while noting that we are in a period of "business as unusual." The 24/7 news cycle emphasizes and deepens the impact of short-term market fluctuations, making individual Canadians and institutions more anxious about their financial well-being. Nothing can be taken for granted.

Core activities need private support

The balance among governments, the private sector and individual Canadians is shifting, with the first two sectors shrinking their share of funding for core priorities such as patient care in hospitals, keeping the lights on in arts institutions or delivering education in educational institutions. Private donors are increasingly paying for the meat, not just the sauce. That makes fundraising central to the organization's mission and a core function of the organization.

Peripheral vision

"Peripheral vision" is the term KCI uses to describe responsiveness to change. It involves questioning assumptions, being open to new ideas and processes, and exploring new ways to deliver mission and stay relevant to its funders. And, far from the old model of governments as disbursers and nonprofits as recipients, nonprofits have begun to partner with governments on jointly funded projects.

Major giving alive and well

In the first three months of 2012, KCI knows of "at least 43 gifts of more than $1 million made to Canadian charities by individuals, corporations and foundations, totaling $275 million," including the largest private gifts ever to Sick Kids Foundation, CAMH Foundation and Le Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal.

But those donors are changing. They look harder at the organization, its case, and how it will use their specific donations, and they want longer pledge periods (seven or even ten years).

Download the full publication at www.forwardthinkingkci.com.


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