Bad News in This Giving Survey?

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November 15, 2010; Source: The Gazette | It all comes down to a matter of perspective. A survey shows that most Canadians with a net worth of $1 million or greater feel giving back to the community is important. To most that would qualify as good news. Yet the author of the Gazette article, Derek Abma, finds “bad news” in the fact that the actual percentage that feel giving back is important isn’t 100 percent, but only 76 percent.

Maybe Abma also thinks the glass is only half full. As for those who believe in giving, Marvi Ricker, vice-president of BMO Harris Private Banking, the firm that commissioned the study, says the majority of survey’s respondents feel an obligation to help people less fortunate than they are. “They tend to feel that they want to give back. They feel that they somehow owe it to the community out there to give some of the good life they’ve had.”

Ricker also describes givers as “people who are very much involved in the community, and their success is dependent on the community around them—they are their customers, they are their employees.” Ricker, too, seems to share some puzzlement with the Gazette writer about why some don’t feel the same motivation to give. “Since I’m involved with people who give, I find it hard to understand people who don’t give. But there are a lots people who feel, ‘No, I made this money; I’m going to keep it.'”

Another tidbit from the survey that tends to give weight to the argument that it contains more good news than bad: some 59 percent of those surveyed haven’t let the recession change their giving. In addition, looking forward, almost the same number of people—60 percent—plan to give away between one and three percent of their wealth this year.—Bruce Trachtenberg