GivingTuesday is an annual day that encourages people to give back in any way they can. It is a day when charities, companies, groups and individuals join together to share commitments, show support for favourite causes and think about how to give to others.
This year, I encourage you to think about the concept of great giving. This means giving smarter, giving more creatively and giving in a way that is most beneficial for you and the causes closest to your heart.
On the GivingTuesday website, www.givingtuesday.ca, there are lots of toolkits, guides, webinars and other resources to help you make the most of GivingTuesday. It helps you to identify charities to give to, research the impact of your gift, and learn new ideas to sustain your gift and become more involved with the charity you support. I encourage you to take a look and share with your friends and family.
As a non-profit leader, I have inspiring conversations with donors about their reasons for giving and why they want to make a difference to a cause or need. The truth is that people give their time and money to the things in their lives that they are closest to. I have heard time and time again the motivations for giving is due to feeling compassion for those in need, wanting to help a cause in which the donor personally believes and wanting to make a contribution to make their community a better place to live. It is also true that donors give because they or someone they know has been personally affected by the cause of the organization or because of their personal beliefs or deeply held values.
According to a survey carried out in December 2016 for GIV3, 22% of adults in Canada took part in GivingTuesday activities. Most participants made financial donations (about 3.5 million people), and many millions more volunteered for non-profits in creative and inspiring ways including food, clothing, shoe and toy drives, committing to blood or organ donations and taking action on social media. The research also showed that, among those aware of GivingTuesday, the majority (68%) agreed the movement inspired them to be more giving.
Last year the movement was celebrated in 98 countries worldwide. Here at home, we saw 5,700 partners, thirty Canadian community movements and activities in every region, from coast to coast to coast. Each year we have seen increased donation results on the day itself as well as more participation from Canadians.
For many, Giving Tuesday is a way to kick off their holiday season and to show their generosity of spirit through a gift to a charity they believe in. I have been asked several times how to I pick a charity to give to and how do I know they are making a difference in my community.
Organizations such as food banks and shelters care for and support people who are most vulnerable and benefit significantly from food, clothing, personal items and cash donations. United Ways, the social safety net, invests in community support networks of human service agencies that deliver critical, prevention-based programs and services that improve lives and strengthen the community. A single donation has a greater depth and reach through The United Way.
Community based hospital foundations raise funds and manages donor gifts for the purpose of supporting outstanding clinical and patient care and research. Your donation to health care in your community goes a long way to help improve the health care needs for the full spectrum of life’s journey.
The list of worthy organizations is truly endless. To find more information about a specific charitable organization, visit their website. To learn more about the transparency and accountability practices in Canada, you can find financial information about a registered charity by visiting Canada Revenue Agency’s site: www.canada.ca/en/services/taxes/charities
And did you know that for every eligible donation, you are entitled to receive federal and provincial tax credits? On the federal level, you will receive a 15 percent tax credit for the first $200 of donations and then 29 percent on the remaining amount. Plus, each province offers its own tax credits for charitable giving. I encourage you to visit CRA’s site for more information about tax benefits or speak with your tax advisor.
Ultimately, this is the time of year when we think about giving gifts, food, clothing and making charitable donations to help those less fortunate and support charities and non-profit organizations that do extremely important work to strengthen the fabric of our community.
I encourage you to think about what your gift can be this season - whether it is time, talent or treasure. I give of my time and through personal donations because it makes me feel good to know I am helping a cause that is important to me. Rest assured that it does make a difference.
Ask yourself the question, how will you pay it forward?
Roger D. Ali is President and CEO of Niagara Health Foundation and Chair (volunteer) of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Foundation for Philanthropy Canada.