‘Tis the season to be generous—estimates put the amount of holiday giving in Canada at around $5 billion. How amazing is that?
Our Ian Thomas stopped by CTV Morning Live to share some tips about charitable giving this holiday season.
Check out these six tips as you help spread the season’s cheer to those in need.
- Choose a charity you know well, based on track record, and one that is making a difference in an area that appeals to you. There are about 86,000 registered Canadian charities so there’s likely one that connects with your values, passion, or personal experiences. Deciding where to give can be very personal, but make sure it’s an organization you trust to put your money to good use.
- Be cautious with organizations you are supporting or learning about for the first time. If in doubt, search Canada Revenue Agency’s directory of charities. Find out if the organization is a registered charity and take a look at its latest financial statements, showing how much it spent on charitable work and on overhead costs.
- Visit the organization’s website as part of your research. Learn about the benefits of the organization’s programs and activities, its leadership, and most important, its impact — how the charity is making a difference, based on its mission and goals.
- You better watch out…for fraudsters! Unfortunately, Canadians lose money every year by donating to fake or non-existent charities. To keep the thieving Grinch at bay:
- Don’t respond to suspicious phone calls asking for donations.
- Beware of fraudulent emails appealing for funds through a link (known as phishing).
- Before you donate online, check that the page is encrypted (there should be a padlock icon in the address window and the URL must begin with https:)
- Legitimate store-front canvassers will seek permission from the retailer so check with the store’s management if you have doubts.
- If a fundraiser knocks on your door, ask for official ID and phone the organization for verification.
- Don’t forget about “cashless giving.” If for financial reasons you can’t write a cheque, volunteer. You can also donate items you no longer use, such as gently used clothes for a local shelter, or a used car. Some charities will provide a tax receipt for non-cash gifts (like used cars), as determined by the fair market value.
- Donations to a registered Canadian charity qualify you for a non-refundable tax credit. Make sure you keep your donation receipts for when you file your taxes. To take advantage of the tax credit, you need to make your donation before December 31.
Here’s to a joyous charitable giving holiday season!