Canadians are known for their generosity and this holiday season they will give approximately $5 billion to charitable causes.
Many of those Canadians learned to give from their parents or from others they admire.
In a recent national survey of parents, 89% believe in inspiring their kids to give to charities!
Let’s create a giving legacy and give kids the gift of generosity by inspiring them to donate, and volunteer with the charity of their choice.
This Guide to Giving presents tips and information to help you make more meaningful contributions to the causes most important to you.
Holidays are the perfect time to instill the spirit of giving in kids!
By doing little things that inspire kids to give back, parents can bestow a giving legacy that will improve the quality of life for their children and their community.
1. Give to something you are passionate about
Consider your donation a contribution toward the world you want to build. Ally yourself with organizations that reflect your ideals and invest in the future you want to see.
2. Impact vs. overhead
It’s easy to focus on a charity’s fundraising and administrative costs, understanding impact is not. Evaluating or ranking a charity solely on how much it spends on overhead is misleading. The bottom line is that the measure of an organization’s effectiveness is the impact it makes on the community, not what it spends. Charities need the right tools to get the job done and, like businesses, have hard cost ‘checks and balances’ to ensure it is accountable, transparent and effective.
3. Registered charities & tax receipts
Charities and nonprofits are not exactly the same and there are different rules governing these two categories of organizations. One simple distinction is that only registered charities are able to issue tax receipts for donations. If a tax receipt is important to you, visit the Canada Revenue Agency website to confirm if an organization is a registered charity.
4. Where to find and research charities
Most Canadians are familiar with the charities they donate to on a regular basis but what if you wanted to learn about other organizations? Obviously, a good Google search can be useful but time consuming. We suggest starting with ‘giving portal’ sites such as CanadaHelps. Not only do they feature all of Canada’s registered charities, but charities can also add additional information about their impact.
5. Your rights as a donor
Giving to your favourite cause should give you joy and personal satisfaction. If someone asking for a donation makes you feel uncomfortable, pressures you or does not have the information you need to make a decision, do not feel obligated to give right away or at all. Ask for a brochure or website address and tell them you’ll make up your mind once you have more information.
6. Leadership matters
The most successful charities are the ones that are well managed. Strong leadership and good governance are the qualities you want to look for when considering donating to a charity. You can explore this information on your own by visiting a charity’s website or reviewing their annual reports and financial information, or you can look for third-party accreditation.
Choosing a charity to support can be a difficult task. After all, it’s an investment of your hard-earned money.
To help you out, Imagine Canada created the Standards accreditation program. Look for the accreditation symbol when giving, because it’s good to know that your charity of choice has achieved the gold standard, meeting 73 criteria in the management of these key areas:
Financial Accountability & Transparency
Right now, more than 200 organizations from all causes, sizes and regions have been accredited, and every year more are joining.
There are many well-managed charities and nonprofits that do amazing work in Canada, but if you are looking for somewhere to start, here is a list of our accredited organizations.
Find Accredited Organizations
Family & Senior Support
Health & Wellness
About the Standards Program
The goal of the Standards Program is to strengthen public confidence in charities and nonprofits by awarding accreditation to organizations that exemplify strong management practices. Accredited organizations demonstrate compliance in five key operational areas: board governance; financial accountability and transparency; fundraising; staff management; and volunteer involvement.
Imagine Canada is a national charitable organization whose cause is Canada’s charities and nonprofits.
We strengthen the sector’s collective voice, create opportunities to connect and learn from each other, and build the sector’s capacity to succeed.
The Guide to Giving
Published by: Imagine Canada | T 416 597 2293 | F 416 597 2294
Copy Editors: Cornelia Schrecker, Lindsey Vodarek
Author: Marnie Grona | French Translation: Cornelia Schrecker
All rights reserved. The content of this electronic publication may be reproduced, in whole or in part, by charitable and nonprofit organizations for non-commercial use and where Imagine Canada is acknowledged as the original publisher including year of publication, publication title, and original document source (electronic publication link or website link). Otherwise, no part of this report may be reproduced without prior written agreement from Imagine Canada.
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