The war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic and rising inflation have certainly transformed our world recently. In response, organizations have had to expand their activities, which has required them to seek out more donations and subsidies so that they can continue to respond to society’s needs. Let’s see what challenges the philanthropic world will face in 2023.
A philanthropic sector striving to reinvent itself while facing growing needs
Disruption in our modes of communication
Even with its technological lag, the philanthropic sector was able to demonstrate a high degree of adaptability over the last few years, which has allowed it to:
- Better maintain connections with donors
- Attract a labour force that got used to a hybrid work model and greater flexibility, but that does not necessarily know the sector
- Develop methods for soliciting donations
- Diversify events
- Improve its reputation by taking into account brand image
Increase in need of critical fundraising resources in Canada
Contending with so many challenges has considerably increased the workload in the philanthropic sector. Organizations are having to take into account increasing precarity, growing social and economic inequalities and mushrooming requests for help for organizations.
Evolving organizational strategies and management
We have to rethink our boards of directors. Today, we need to combine individual profiles with complementary and beneficial expertise so that we can reflect on and talk about adapted and durable strategies that will ensure the survival of various causes. The board members of our Canadian organizations must be better trained to take on their responsibilities so that they can effectively fulfil their role. Integrating the new generation and raising their awareness of philanthropy will help to ensure the sector’s future.
Environment, climate change and biodiversity
These issues are leading to an increase in philanthropic needs and will take up more and more space in philanthropic development in the coming years. In coordination with government efforts, it will once again be up to organizations to take action to support the growing number of new causes. This will require involving other stakeholders in society: businesses, many of which are part of the problem but can also offer elements of the solution, as well as wealthy foundations and individuals that will adopt this cause and serve as important levers for change. By supporting environmental causes and philanthropy, they will contribute to making change.
Québec, a generous society
The Fraser Institute’s 2022 Generosity Index, published on December 15, 2022, claimed that Québec is the least generous province in Canada.
Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin responded to this claim in an article in La Presse entitled “Moins généreux, les Québécois ?” [Quebecers, less generous?] published on January 13, 2023, and made the following important points:
- Quebecers give less because they are less wealthy than people elsewhere in Canada.
- Given the recent wealth of Québec Inc., major philanthropists are still a rarity.
- The Institute does not take into account one-time donations. In fact, in times of crisis, Quebecers give spontaneously: major public campaigns are very effective.
- Québec has the least social inequality and child poverty, and the greatest life expectancy, in North America, thanks to the income tax its residents pay.
- Donations to the religious sector represent a major proportion of contributions in the other provinces and are substantially lower in Québec.
Thus, while the Québec population seems less generous, the fact is that it contributes in a roundabout way, by building a better society through, in particular, our tax contributions. Québec’s philanthropic sector needs to invest more in the training and development of its philanthropic HR, and work on developing major and planned giving in order to reduce the gap with the other provinces. We need to work in a more concerted fashion with the various levels of government to develop a fundraising culture, promote citizen action and showcase Québec’s societal qualities.
Philanthropy and the non-profit sector: essential and complementary to government services
Canadian philanthropy and the non-profit sector contribute to meeting a number of needs that fall through the safety net of government services, in health and social services, food assistance to the most disadvantaged, help for the homeless, etc. It is also important to demonstrate to our donors that their donations will not replace government funded services and development projects.
Attrition and shrinking numbers of donors and volunteers : taking action to reverse the trend
The sector reports on the evolution of giving in Québec prepared by BNP Philanthropic Performance and its partners from Impact 4.0, show that donation numbers are down, but donation amounts are up. This is explained in part by our ageing population, decreasing purchasing power, inadequate segmentation of our databases and lack of awareness-raising among our youth.
Several studies conducted over the last few years by Statistics Canada, the AFP and the Canadian Knowledge Hub for Giving and Volunteering have shown a significant drop in volunteering in Canada.
The challenge in 2023 is to reengage with potential pools of volunteers through:
- Education on philanthropic culture
- Building trust through greater organizational transparency
- Involving governments in promoting giving and volunteering
- Strategic planning by organizations in order to develop viable business models
- Integrating social marketing because, like any private business, an organization must sell its cause if it is to generate donations
Inclusion, diversity and equity: more present than ever
Activity sectors are also faced in 2023 with issues of inclusion, diversity and equity. The philanthropic sector must serve as an example by advocating the respect and defence of all individuals in order to support minorities and foster a more inclusive society. An important way to help achieve this is to ensure that boards of directors are representative of their communities!
The influence of Blockchain, cryptocurrency and NFTs on philanthropy
The 2020s were marked by the advent of cryptocurrency. While many remain skeptical about the use of bitcoin in the charitable sector, we need to learn more about it and determine how we can integrate this new payment method in our strategies. Indeed, younger generations are interested in using bitcoin, which can reduce financial fees, and increase the quantity and recurrence of donations. Stay tuned for our upcoming analysis of this new payment method.
By being attuned to global changes and, in particular, new technologies, the philanthropic sector will manage to get back on its feet and move forward to help more and more people in need.
Do you want to share your challenges for the philanthropic world in 2023? Share this article on your social networks with a comment.