Charitable giving is important to many of us. But with the multitude of worthy charities and non-profit organizations to give to, and only so much money to go around, how do you choose where to give?
I've been supporting various charities for the better part of a decade, some consistently and others more sporadically, and I've come up with a way to choose charities and causes that align with my values and my wallet. Here's what I suggest based on my experience.
Things to Keep in Mind When Considering a Charity to support
Figure out what truly matters to you. Are you passionate about animal welfare? What about the education of women in developing countries? Find out what causes are close to your heart to help you decide where donate.
Some Places to Start
- A good place to start would be Canada Helps. It's a comprehensive Canadian platform for donating and fundraising online. The website makes it easy to look up charities based on categories and takes some of the research and guesswork off your hands.
- Another good website to consider when looking for general data about a charity or nonprofit is Charity Data. It's a website run by a non-profit and charity lawyer aimed at providing a better understanding of the size, scope, and complexity of charities and the sector in general.
- If you're interested in the legalities surrounding Canadian charities, check out Canadian Charity Law.
Some Questions to Consider
- What's the structure of the charity? Are they independent or owned by a bigger organization? In which countries do they operate? How much of your donation goes directly to their charitable work?
- Is this a registered charity? Will you be receiving a tax receipt?
- What's the charity's history? Has it ever faced a scandal?
- Do they have a program in place to provide updates about how your contributions are being used? How accessible is this program, and how often is it updated?
If You're Still Not Sure
- If you're not comfortable committing to a charity long-term, I'd suggest starting small.
- Consider supporting charities supported by the stores where you shop and make donations when requested at the checkout. Supporting children's fundraisers and online charitable initiatives is also an easy way to make a difference.
Remember, when you give to causes you feel strongly about — and you do it in a way that works with your wallet — you'll feel more connected to your community, and you'll be able to make a difference.