We know that generosity helps the giver, as well as the recipient! If you would like to help others more, your next step is deciding how. There are a lot of options, so look for a way to give back that is meaningful and achievable.
With more than over 86,000 registered charities in Canada, finding a few charities to support financially can be easy—or mind-boggling. After all, you want your dollars to go to worthy organizations.
To make sure you donate to a reputable nonprofit, keep these tips in mind:
- Do your research. Don’t give to a charity about which you know nothing. Ask for financial statements and other documentation. Also, make sure you’re not donating to a copycat organization with a name similar to a legitimate nonprofit.
- Ask where your money will go. Find out what percent of donations are used for overhead and what percent goes directly to the cause.
- Donate directly to the organization. If a middleman or other third party is involved, they may take a cut of your donation.
- Don’t bend to pressure. Reputable charities do not pressure donors to give immediately. If you feel overly pressured, say no.
Financial gifts can reap you tax benefits as well. Charitable donations are non-refundable tax credits, and the larger the donation, the greater the credit. Any eligible amount you give above $200 qualifies you for a higher rate. Revenue Canada has more information about the tax implications of charitable giving.
Donating your time
The options for volunteering your time are almost limitless.
Pitch in on a community project. Share your professional expertise. Help out an aging neighbor. Read to kids at the local school. Be a mentor. Organize a fundraiser.
Whatever you choose to do, keep your other commitments in mind. Overloading your schedule will only shortchange the people you are trying to help and others who depend on you—making you exhausted and stressed in the process.
You don’t have to do all of the research on your own.
You can find a wealth of information on nonprofits online. One good resource is CanadaHelps.org. All organizations listed on CanadaHelps are Canadian charities registered with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), and tax receipts are issued immediately. Another good source for information is CharityData.ca, a searchable database which provides provides financial information on Canadian registered charities as disclosed in their tax returns.