Canadian hospital donors giving more, but less than pre-recession

publication date: Sep 30, 2011
author/source: AHP/Janet Gadeski (Hilborn)
The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy says donors to Canada's health care institutions boosted their contributions by $80 million last year. But even that increase remained far below amounts raised before the recession hit. While charitable cash and pledges in 2010 totalled $1.204 billion, 7.1% more than in 2009, they were $133 million less than the total funds raised in 2007.

The association's FY2010 AHP Report on Giving-Canada believes Canada's improved economy in fiscal year 2010 enabled Canadian hospitals, medical centers, and other health care facilities to recover partially from the recession's negative economic forces in 2008. Giving dropped to just $1.068 billion in that year.

"We need to do more, but the trend is in the right direction," says Jory Pritchard-Kerr, AHP's incoming regional director for Canada and executive director, Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Foundation in Collingwood, Ontario. "Improved fundraising is providing more up-to-date equipment for our hospitals, more money for construction and renovation, and more resources for research, teaching and general operations."

Capital campaigns down, productivity up

The report shows that since the pre-recession days of 2006, Canadian health care fundraisers have decreased their reliance on raising large amounts of money for specific projects in a limited amount of time. Such capital campaigns accounted for more than 31% of all philanthropic activity on behalf of Canadian hospitals in 2006, but comprised only 13.4% of such endeavours last year.

Pritchard-Kerr says the economy likely explains the drop in capital campaign efforts. "In my own experience, we spent much more time and effort in cultivating and stewarding our donors before launching our current capital campaign," she explains. "The cultivation period for a major or capital campaign gift is now significantly longer. Donors are now more educated about their charitable giving and more discerning in how and where they make their gifts."

The 2010 report indicates more emphasis is being devoted to raising money through major gifts, planned giving, and special events. Annual giving campaigns remain a mainstay of fundraising.

Fundraisers also saw improved productivity in 2010, as the cost to raise a philanthropic dollar dropped to 28 cents, down from 34 cents a year earlier.  On average, they were able to bring in $3.56 for every dollar of fundraising expenses last year, 65 cents more than in FY 2009.

Individuals lead the way

The vast majority of donors are individuals. Their combined donations accounted for almost three out of every five dollars raised in 2010. "Community support and the generosity of grateful patients are especially important," Pritchard-Kerr notes.

Businesses, including corporate foundations, gave 28% of the total funds raised. Other types of foundations contributed 7%.

US results similar

Survey results for the US indicated that philanthropic fundraising by nonprofit health care institutions totalled $8.264 billion in 2010, up from $7.644 billion in 2009, but still below the $8.588 billion raised in 2008.

Giving patterns are similar in the US and Canada, with individual donors accounting for most contributions and most money raised. However, US hospitals and health care systems devote a smaller portion of donated dollars than their Canadian counterparts to buying equipment, and a larger portion to physical plant improvements.

A copy of the AHP Report on Giving Fact Sheet is available free on the AHP website at

For more information, Kathy Renzetti 703-532-6243, 571-216-0146,

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