Our Summary: National Insights into Non-profit Organizations


National Insights into Non-profit Organizations, Canadian Survey on Business Conditions, 2023

In the first quarter of 2024, the Canadian Survey on Business Conditions dedicated a specific module to non-profit organizations, and generated a full report, which can be read here, reviewing the findings from this non-profit-focused module. 

The SAA has summarised the key points from the report, primarily survey data, in the following bullet points: 

  • Non-profit organizations contributed $216.5 billion in economic activity in 2022
    • This is equivalent to 8.2% of GDP
  • In 2023 47.4% of board of director positions were filled by women
    • Organizations related to social services (70.4%) and the environment (56%) had  the highest proportion of female board members
    • Organizations related to business, professional associations and unions had the lowest percentage of female board members (36.4%) followed closely by organizations related to religion (37.1%)
  • 9.8% of board of director positions are filled by members of racialised communities
    • Religious organizations were the highest (15.7%), followed by business, professional associations and unions (13.1%)
    • Environment (2.9%) and organizations related to development and housing (4.7%) were the lowest
  • 42.1% of non-profit organizations serve the general public; children and youth 14.2%; religious or spiritual groups (9.1%) and then occupation-specific and union groups (4.7%)
    • Low-income households or individuals were the specific focus of 3.4% of non-profits, but received services from 26.8% of all non-profit organizations
  • The most prominent funding source for non-profits were individual donations (21.7%); membership fees or due (17.7%) and funding from provincial or territorial governments (10.5%)
    • Health (43.6%) and social services (42.5%) non-profits received the largest portion of their funding from provincial or territorial governments, and religious (0.4%) and grant-making, fundraising and voluntarism promotion (3.9%) received the lowest amount of provincial or territorial government funding.
    • Individual donations are of high importance to smaller organizations: organizations with no employees (21.4%); 1-4 employees (31.6%); 5-19 employees (17.3%.)
      • Organizations with 100 employees or more (6.4%) or 20-99 employees (8.5%) received more funding from provincial or territorial governments and fees for goods and services than individual donations
      • Individual donations were the main source of funding for registered charities (41.5%) 
      • Membership dues were the primary funding for non-profits that are not registered charities (29.1%). 
  • 46.1% of non-profits reported an increase in demands for their services or products
    • 24.3% reported an increase in capacity to meet demand
    • Social services (70.2%) and health (69.7%) organizations saw the largest increases in demand though their capacity was not increased; social services saw a 40.3% increase in capacity and 35.6% of health organizations indicated their capacity had increased
  • 33.3% of non-profits focus on sports and recreation
    • Religious organizations (19.8%); grant-making, fundraising and promotion (8.8%) and social services (8.5%)
    • Health (1%) and the environment (.4%) are the least represented among non-profits
  • 81.8% of non-profits rely on volunteer labour
    • 44.7% of those have less than 20 volunteers
    • Arts & culture organizations were the most likely (93%) to have volunteers, followed by religion (92.5%) and law, advocacy and politics (92.2%)
      • Business, professional associations and unions (64%) and housing (71%) were the least likely to have volunteers