Corporate Community Investment :

Findings from the Latest Imagine Canada Report

Espace idées   •   December 17th, 2019

Imagine Canada carried out a very interesting study in 2019 about the community investment practises of Canadian employers. An initial survey was undertaken among 65 large companies that had collectively contributed close to $600 million in donations to nonprofit organizations across the country and a second survey was conducted with over 1,500 representatives of the Canadian workforce.

In this National Workforce Survey, Imagine Canada asked Canadians to share their views on corporate philanthropic activities. More specifically, workers were questioned on their opinions related to the community and charitable activities of their employer and whether these actions influence their professional satisfaction and perception of the company.


Very important results emerged from this study and strongly demonstrate that the involvement of companies in the community makes a difference not only in the attraction of employees, but also in their retention. Data to take into consideration, especially with the current labour shortage in Quebec.

Some highlights:

  1. “Canadian employees who worked at a company that they believed was highly committed to their community were 1.5x as likely to report intending to stay at their employer for the next two years, 1.9x as likely to be extremely or very satisfied with their job, and 2.6x as likely to recommend their employer to a friend or family member.”
  2. “Employees who participated in a workplace giving program and employer-supported volunteering were 2.3x as likely to say it was extremely likely they would still be with their employer in 2 years (52% versus 23%).”
  3. “50% of Canadian employees considered the reputation of the employer for doing charitable work in the community before accepting their current role.”

The Imagine Canada study shows that Canadian workers, especially those with more education, who have higher incomes and who are in skilled jobs, attach a greater importance to the community investment made by their employers.

  1. “28% would take pay decrease to work at a firm that is more highly committed to supporting community.”
  2. “12% is the average pay decrease employees willing to accept a pay cut would accept to work at a more responsible firm.”


Businesses play a major role in supporting nonprofit organizations and they have the ability to convince their employees to contribute to various causes, either through donation programs or volunteer activities. We can therefore deduce from the Imagine Canada report that "the more employees participate in the community programs of their employers, the more connected they are to their job and their employer.”

Of all the companies that participated in the study, 95% collected donations from their employees and 66% supported volunteer activities, either by granting paid leave, by organizing events, or by offering flexible work hours to accommodate volunteer projects.

  1. “Of employees that reported their employer had a full array of programs to encourage them to donate, including a workplace giving campaign, matching contributions when they donate, as well as payroll giving programs, 79% reported making a donation to charity compared to only 47% who reported no employer supports for donations, 1.7x higher.”
  2. “Of employees who reported that their employer regularly shares information about charities they may be interested in donating to, 76% reported that they now regularly support a charity they originally learned about at work.”

The report on corporate community investment clearly demonstrates the desire of Canadians to see their employers actively engaged in philanthropy. It’s up to businesses to put the necessary resources in place to reach a significant level of involvement, and above all, to make them known to potential workers. To read the full Imagine Canada report, click here.

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