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Manitobans rank near top in giving to charity: poll

MANITOBANS continue to rank near the top in charitable giving, donating almost $200 more per person than residents in oil-rich Alberta.

A BMO Harris Private Banking poll released Wednesday found 84 per cent of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents (it lumps the two provinces together) donated to a charity in the last 12 months. The amount they gave averaged $751 each.

That's just a shade lower than in Ontario, the most generous province, where 85 per cent of residents gave to a charity and the average donation was $778.

In Alberta, 77 per cent of the population gave, and the donations averaged $558 per person.

At the bottom of the philanthropy scale were Quebecers. There, 72 per cent gave to a charity and the average donation was $129, almost $400 less than the next lowest average donation, which was from British Columbia.

BMO released its poll in time for National Philanthropy Day. The poll found more people are giving greater amounts to charity than last year.

On average, about eight in 10 Canadians made a charitable donation in the past 12 months, up from 68 per cent last year. The size of donations increased from an average $487 in 2011 to $557 this year.

The most popular charitable causes are health and medical (60 per cent), anti-poverty (45 per cent), animal welfare (30 per cent) and education (19 per cent). Manitoba and Saskatchewan did not deviate markedly from these national averages.

The survey found only 17 per cent of respondents have a strategy for giving. About 40 per cent said they donate on an ad hoc basis. BMO recommends working with a financial professional to develop a strategy for giving.

It found 60 per cent of Prairie residents include their spouse or partner in giving decisions and 18 per cent involve their children.

The online survey was conducted by Pollara from Nov. 2 to 5 among a randomly selected representative sample of 1,000 Canadians ages 18 and up. A sample this size would yield results accurate within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Manitoba and Saskatchewan were combined because the provinces aren't large enough individually to report with a high level of statistical accuracy.

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