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The 10 year trend of admin expense ratios for each charity type

Updated Nov 3, 2017
Matt Dubins

I know admin expenses are a sore point due to the misconception that for a charity to be good the admin expenses have to be a very low proportion of total expenses!  That being said, it's still a very important metric to track.  Let's take a look at this week's graph, showing overall administration expense percentages for each overall charity type.

I'm seeing an interesting pattern here.  After the 2008 tax year, the administrative expense percentages jumped significantly for charities in the categories of Education, Health, and Religion.  Interestingly, of those 3 just mentioned, it is only health where administration expenses seem to have trended back downwards, whereas the others haven't done the same!  To my mind it's as if the global recession had a very big impact on the cost of running Canadian charities in these categories, and only Health charities seemed able to work on recovering from that impact.

Benefits to Community is very interesting to me as it's the only one that shows a relatively downwards trend extending all the way from 2006 to 2015.  Welfare on the other hand looks like it trended up from 2006 to 2010, but then showed a fantastic ability to reign in its administration expense percentages and thus trended so far down after 2010 to the point where this percentage was lower in 2015 than it was in 2006!

These line graphs seem to tell fairly different stories for each category.  I wonder if anyone can shed any more light on these differences!

Source: T3010 Charity tax return data, all charities, 2006-2015.



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