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Canadians use multiple channels to give

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While Canadians donate to charity through all primary channels, younger donors have helped online giving surpass giving by mail, a new study says.

More than 58 percent of the 1,500 Canadian donors surveyed by hjc, Strategic Communications Inc. and Convio have given through a check-out line within the last year, 41 percent have given at a fundraising event and 34 percent have given donations in honor or memory of someone.

And driven by Generation Y donors, who are under age 30, 32 percent of Canadians overall have given online, surpassing the 27 percent that have mailed in a gift.

While social media represent only 2.6 percent of giving in Canada and mobile giving accounts for 3.1 percent of donations, those channels are expected to grow as younger, tech-savvy donors age.

And regardless of how they donate money, all generations tend to find out about the charities they support through the traditional media outlets of newspaper, radio and television.

Other than traditional media, Generation Y donors were more likely to find out about a charity through family or friends than are older donors.

Whatever the channel, though, personal connections tend to lead to the most gifts, the study says.

The generation labeled Civics, those age 65 and over, are the most generous, making average contributions of $833.

Baby Boomers, those ages 46 to 65, gave a smaller average gift of $725, but the larger number of Boomers resulted in total giving of $4.1 billion, compared to $2.6 billion for Civics.

Generation X donors, those ages 30 to 45, donated an average of $549 for total giving of $2.3 billion, while Generation Y members contributed an average of $325 for overall giving of $800 million.

Compared to their American counterparts, Canadians are more likely to give on a monthly basis, with a quarter of all Canadians doing so, compared to only 14 percent of U.S. donors.

And American donors are more than twice as likely to give to charity using their mobile phones.

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