Research | Insights for grant makers : Canadian charities' perspectives on funding

publication date: Jun 24, 2020
author/source: Excerpt from Charities Share Their Perspective On The Fundraising Process”; Sector3Insights Inc, 2019

For the first time in Canada, a comprehensive analysis is underway to gather insight into the state of the relationship between funders and not-for-profits.

In the first phase we surveyed over 600 Canadian charities. The findings reveal exactly what the pressing issues are for these essential social responders and are intended to open up the conversation. It is only by strengthening the relationship between grantees and not-for-profit organizations that shared goals can be accomplished successfully – whether it’s the eradication of poverty, gender equity, reconciliation with Indigenous people, or reversing climate change. Through this examination of current funding practices and real-life experiences lived by charities receiving grants from various sources, we are taking a first step toward helping you strengthen the Canadian social sector.

It is time to be honest with each other if we want the sector to thrive. The relationship between funders and charities needs to be healthy, efficient, and collaborative. It starts with hearing the answers to some tough questions as a starting point to a bigger conversation.

Charities have the opportunity to solicit more funding from governments, foundations, and businesses.

Individual donors are the most common source of funding: Over 90% of all charities count on giving from individuals; less so from other funding sources. More charities can be approaching businesses, governments, and foundations than are currently doing so.

With declining giving behaviour among individual Canadians (as measured by T1 tax returns over the past decade – see appendix), there is an increasing importance for charities to seek funding from governments, foundations and businesses.

Smaller charities in particular are not benefitting from grants from governments, foundations, and businesses. Small charities with annual operating budgets under $250,000 represent the majority of charities in Canada at 57%. These charities have an even greater dependence on individual donors, and are less likely to be receiving funds from governments (47%), foundations (46%), and businesses (52%) compared to medium and larger charities.

To read the full report, click here.

Sector3Insights is a social enterprise research firm providing insights for non-profit success.

We leverage state-of-the-art research tools from the corporate world to help guide non-profits in their strategies and actions. Our profits are directed to registered charities.

Learn more at

If you have questions, comments or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us. We would love to hear from you:

Contributing partners also included CanadaHelps and Phil.

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