Wealthy clients give to charity because they believe in the value of philanthropy, says a BMO Harris survey, but their advisors think the donations are motivated by tax savings.

The majority (91%) of Canadians with more than $1,000,000 in investable assets have given to charitable causes in the past 12 months, and 74% say they’ve donated up to $10,000.

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More than half (55%) of wealthy people say they’re driven to donate because they’d like to have an impact on their communities. And:

  • 32% feel passionate about a cause;
  • 23% feel they should share their wealth with others;
  • 21% want to reduce taxes.

But when the survey asked advisors about their clients’ motivations, many financial advisors put too much importance on tax savings and creating a family legacy.

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Along with motivations, the report found that affluent Canadians also have hesitations around charitable giving. Among the concerns cited around giving, 43% were worried their gifts might not be used wisely by the receiving organization, and 26% feared receiving an increase in donation requests as a result of their gift.

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Motivations for giving

Financial Advisors High Net Worth Individuals
To impact community/world 65% 55%
Passionate about a cause 64% 32%
To reduce taxes 63% 21%
To give back 62% 50%
Religious or spiritual 51% 21%
To create a family legacy 34% 4%
To start/continue a tradition of family giving 26% 18%
To encourage children/future generations 21% 11%
Were asked by someone 17% 14%
To fulfill an obligation of wealth 17% 23%

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Hesitations for Giving

Financial Advisors High Net Worth Individuals
Haven’t yet explored their philanthropic passions 49% 8%
Lack knowledge or connection to charities 41% 10%
Have no tradition of family giving 38% 3%
Don’t have enough money for heirs 28% 6%
Have not been asked 26% 5%
Think gifts won’t be used wisely 26% 43%
Don’t have enough money for self 25% 11%
Not wealthy enough 24% 16%
Fear an increase in donation requests 16% 26%