Hello everyone. I am pleased to be here to help you with your questions on giving.
Philanthropic.ca helps donors find their passions, identify the right charity and evaluate their impact. I look forward to your questions
Donations are always a great idea. Ask your family members how they feel about donating and if you get consensus, then choose a charity that you all can relate to.
It is difficult to indicate specific charities so I would focus on ones that may have some meaning for your family.
Families are like that! Perhaps donate a smaller amount and still give the aunts their gifts. There are local organizations that may be of interest- the local food bank, local shelter- you could donate your time, it is just as valuable as your money.
Any amount will make a difference. If you are not sure, look around your neighbourhood, are there groups that could use your help.
Check out Free the Children's website for example, they have lots of ideas on giving that make a big difference, or Kiva, where you can lend $25. and help someone's business
Absolutely! You can actually ask the charity to use your funds to support a specific program or activity. Then if it is local, you can visit and see your dollars at work, or ask them for a report.
You can ask -how many people attended the breakfast club? How may children were served? etc
Yes- the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is the directory! Now it has over 85,000 charities but you can search each one, it notes the program area and their annual expenditures
If you are willing to do more, you may wish to see what other areas within your community you may get involved in. Whether it is making a few calls from your home in the evening for an organization or looking for auction items for a fund raiser for the hospital. Every bit helps
It has aqctually gone down, with only 23% of Canadians claiming a tax credit in the most recent Stats Can statistices. You can see more info on the Globe's Giving in Numbers
The annual donations by my clients tend to be from $200,000 and up, however, I do often help families who are just starting a foundation or help a donor do a search for a specific charity who may be giving much smaller amounts but need some help.
Most charities are really doing good and it is only really a few that are the bad apples. Get to know the charity. See if the charity has a website, or if nearby, go and visit it to see what it is actually doing.
You can also ask friends and colleagues about what charities they support. A google search is also good and check out the CRA website to make sure they are indeed in good standing with the CRA.
You should also think about what is important to you - what stirs you up- are you concerned about the environment, our education system, poverty, the local food bank or do you love your local theatre or art gallery and would like to help them out. Always start from what is of interest to you
Big questions, you can check CharityVillage as a source. They have a huge jobposting area and lots of information on charities so that is a good start. Imagine Canada is also a good source for identifying information sources. CRA also has webinars you can log onto.
There are other sources
There are other sources, that I will post in a minute when I find the names.
Fund raising is indeed a big part of many charities roles these days with government funds reducing, however not all positions are fund raising so it is worth taking a look at some of the charities to see what other positions they have- adminstration, bookkeeping, communication, programming etc.
Here is a link to a series of seminars on charitable giving that will give you an introduction to charities management :http://ow.ly/6xnJu
Being on a board does have its responsibilities but if the organization is well run and the board is responsible, you should have a great experience.
Terry - I know you deal with many wealthy clients in your day to day, but many questions coming in from struggling parents. What's your advice for families that aren't so fortunate? How do parents instill a sense of volunteerism and generosity into their kids, when they might not have the money themselves to give?
I am aware of the Imagine Canada session. I would check into it more thoroughly to make sure this is a session that you can fully participate it before you sign up.
Susan, it is always hard to say no to children, but absolutely ask them for some identification. If you are not comfortable with what they are saying, then I would say no. It is your money, give where you want to give and try not to be pressured into spontaneous giving if you are unsure
MW, it is really hard to generalize but transparency is a big one. If they will not give you information about their charity, it makes one ask why not? Finances are the next area to look at, and then the programs- are they doing what they said they would do? Does that help?
GR, this is time of year we get overloaded with requests indeed! I would look at the organization/donor and see what they have supported in the past. Really focus your ask on something that they can relate to vs a general letter saying we need more funds, please give- know who you are asking and know their interests
My son has started his mustache as well! I know, it is difficult to say no to your friends, but you can say, great you are doing this, but sorry,I have allocated all my charitable giving for the year, or I focus my giving on xx but I wish you well with your campaign.
Great tips, Terry. Any final thoughts as we wrap up this discussion?
I would say find something that really interests you, make sure it is a viable charity, get involved if you can and follow up- make sure your money is actually doing some good. Thank you very much, Terry