The Future of Charitable Giving in Canada

03/06/2016  |  Events |  Posted by: Ivy Cuervo


(Toronto, Ontario) This digital age has changed the way people give to charities. Growing up as a child, my parents always gave money to their church and to international causes supporting underprivileged children. As an adult, I support causes where I can measure results, most recently donating through crowd funding to my friend battling breast cancer. Millennials are driven by similar goals. They want to see how their dollars are spent or, as I learned at a luncheon organized by the Economic Club of Canada, use their clout on digital spaces to make a difference.

The President and CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, Paul Alofs, was among the panelists invited to take part in a discussion about the future of charitable giving in Canada. Below is a highlight from the panel discussion:

From your perspective how does that interaction with millennials play out given the broader shift in demand for your services?

Paul Alofs: Cancer isn’t just a disease of the boomers. Many health care organizations see children from birth who have cancer. Cancer touches everyone. But in answering your question on millennials and their impact, I have to start out by saying that millennials don’t have a lot of money but they have a lot of impact. A lot of us talk about millennials but for all of you in this room like me who have a fundraising job, as the CEO of The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation, my responsibility is to raise $100 million dollars or more in net fundraising every year. And so I have to put resources, time and effort from my 70 colleagues who work at the Foundation to where the greatest benefit is. Frankly we could all chase millennials in terms of fundraising but I think the real value of the millennial crowd is more in the influence that they carry. Now they are extremely influential on their parents and how parents give and interact.

Blog_EconomicClub_Thumbnail.jpgAt the Foundation when we are thinking about engaging millennials, we think about the fab 5. It’s the tips and thoughts we always go back to. The first one of the fab 5 is build passion first. If millennials don’t feel passion for your cause and it’s not authentic then they are not going to get involved, they’re not going to influence, they’re not going to give, they’re not going to participate. So build passion first. Commitment is second. Donations come third because, you know what, we can all spend time and effort building great websites but if there are no donations, we are not serving our cause of fundraising. From a donation, try to turn a donor into an advocate. Hopefully they start to influence and advocate. The fifth of the fab 5, is to find that small group of true warriors for your cause. And these are the people who are not just going to advocate, they are actually going to bring change to what you do in those communities that you serve. Passion, commitment, donations, advocacy, and then finally trying to make them warriors for your cause. That’s why we believe it’s really worthwhile talking to, engaging, and working with millennials.