Giving More Strategically for a Greater Impact

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Since the onset of the pandemic, many Canadians have relied on the services of charities. Responding to the pandemic, charities have been on the frontlines in hospitals, nonprofit nursing homes, food banks, meal delivery, and mental health clinics, to name just a few. Charities have also continued the work they usually do throughout the year, creating art, providing education, enabling community connections and support, and much more.

According to the most recent edition of The Giving Report, which offers data insights into charitable giving, Canadians responded generously last year through online giving to help charities meet the unprecedented demands of Canadians in need. We have worried for years about the growing giving gap, characterized by a shrinking pool of older donors making the bulk of gifts and a shrinking participation rate, but in 2020 we were inspired by the way Canadians (particularly younger people) rallied around the causes they care about through gifts to Cause Funds, which support the collective work of many charities responding to an issue in a single transaction.

For many people who are new to giving, knowing where to start can be a challenge. But even for well-established donors looking to expand their giving, the sheer number of charities in Canada can be a bit daunting. Everyone can benefit from taking a strategic approach to giving to increase their impact.

Who (or what) do you want to support?

Taking the time to determine which causes you want to support should be the first part of your charitable giving strategy. Are you passionate about a particular cause, like anti-racism, women’s health, or the environment? Do you prefer to support work that you have a personal connection to or that is very different from your own life? Would you like your money to be spent locally, nationally, or internationally? Would you like to give to research or frontline services?

If all these questions seem overwhelming, that’s ok. Giving to a Cause Fund, for example, can be an excellent gateway to giving that only asks you to answer the question of which cause you want to support. From there, you can take your time to learn more about individual charities and refine your giving if you choose, or continue to give in broader ways.

How will you give?

There are several ways you can make a financial donation to your favourite charity.

One of the most strategic ways to give is through a monthly donation. When you set up a monthly donation, you control how much you give each month, which makes your expenses more predictable and makes you feel great giving throughout the year. Plus, monthly donations help charities by providing them with reliable income throughout the year that enables better planning.

If you’re looking to make a larger donation and have financial investments, a donation of securities may be right for you. Since the elimination of the capital gains tax on securities donations in 2006, a donation of securities or mutual fund shares is one of the most tax-efficient ways to support your favourite charity and reduce your tax bill.

Have you decided how much you will give per year?

While we saw an increase in online giving in 2020 following the onset of the pandemic, the drop in total donations to charities is predicted to be 10%. There is a great risk to Canadian society if the services provided by charities cannot be maintained. At the same time, many Canadians have lost jobs or reduced their incomes. If you’re financially stable, giving generously is more important than ever. But no matter your income, giving an amount that you feel comfortable with makes a difference.

Generally, a good starting place is to determine a percent of your income you are comfortable giving. Deciding to give a percentage of your income allows you to give what you can, even if your income changes. Generally, one percent of income is a starting point for many. If you already give and live comfortably, you can challenge yourself to give a higher percentage of your income.

Have you researched charitable tax benefits?

When making or re-evaluating your giving plan, remember to factor in the tax credits you’ll receive when you claim your charitable donations on your annual tax return. Take into account how the money you’ll save on your tax bill can allow you to give more throughout the year.

At the end of the day, giving back to your community and those in need is a great feeling because you’re helping to make a positive change in the world, and an impact on individual lives. No matter how you choose to do it, you’ll be part of making your community stronger.

Marina Glogovac is President & CEO of CanadaHelps, a leader in providing powerful fundraising and donation technology to charities and donors since 2000. Marina has been a technology and media executive for more than 25 years, including roles at Kobo, Lavalife Corp. and St. Joseph’s Media.

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1 Comment

  1. S arnold on August 5, 2021 at 9:58 AM Is an excellent resource to review charities. I also recommend the book “The Most Good You Can Do” by Peter Singer.

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