Check off your December to-do list and get last-minute holiday gifts—all in the spirit of generosity.
Charitable giving has always been a big part of the year-end season. After all, that is the true holiday spirit. But it’s worth noting that the pandemic has created unprecedented financial challenges for millions of Canadians, and has affected the ability of some to give. A 2020 survey by Angus Reid Institute produced with a consortium of charitable organizations (including Charitable Impact), found almost 2 out of 5 Canadian charitable donors say their giving has declined.
You may be wondering how you can give over the holidays. Especially to those who may still be feeling the economic effects of the COVID-19 shutdowns, as well as those affected by crises such as the floods in BC.
It’s a busy time of year. Still, there may be more you can do to help than you realize. Here are a few ways you can make charity a part of your holiday plans, and encourage generosity and joy in those around you.
Organize a toy drive
Keeping COVID-19 safety protocols in mind, you can organize a toy drive in your home. Invite loved ones over for an afternoon of cheer. In the invitation, ask guests for an unwrapped toy instead of a bottle of wine or a fruitcake. To keep costs down for yourself, make the get-together a potluck. After months of isolation, friends will be happy to pitch in for an opportunity to spend time together in person. After, those toys can be donated to a local toy drive or dropped off at the closest fire hall. It’s a great way to get your family and friends involved to help others in need.
Give away items for free
Donating doesn’t have to cost you a thing. You may have new or almost new items in your own home that you can donate. There are a number of social media sites dedicated to donating free stuff in your community. By joining this community you can offer the items you no longer need. If they are brand new, indicate they are in “‘giftable”’ condition. This will make it easier for someone who is using this route to finish up their holiday shopping. It’s a win for everyone as the giver gets to declutter their home and the receiver gets to cross one other thing off their own shopping list.
Volunteer your time
Many Canadians choose to donate their time during the holidays. You can do so at a local shelter to prepare a Christmas meal. You can donate your time in other ways too, by offering to help a senior in your community get their holiday shopping done or shovelling the driveway of a physically challenged neighbour. Your generosity doesn’t have to be directed towards a charity to make an impact.
A donation as a gift
How many times do we all struggle to buy a gift for a person that has “everything.” If you find yourself in this situation, consider a donation in their name. You can donate a sum of money in their name through your Impact Account. Consider finding a charity that really suits the personality of the person you are giving to—like an animal shelter for a dog-lover or a nature conservatory for an avid hiker.
Send charitable dollars
Another way to share the joy of giving is to send charitable dollars through your Impact Account. Rather than guessing the cause your loved one believes in, you can give them the ability to choose on their own. The recipients will be asked to sign up for an Impact Account. Once they’ve signed up, the charitable dollars you sent them will automatically appear in their account and they can choose their own charities to support.
Giving and the holidays have always gone hand in hand. The pandemic has exacerbated many Canadians’ financial situations. For example, food banks across the country are reporting a record level of demand. Finding ways to give doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. If you want to be charitable this season there are several ways to make it happen.
This is a guest post from Rubina Ahmed-Haq, journalist and personal finance expert. Rubina regularly appears on TV and radio across Canada and writes for several online and magazine publications, including CBC Radio and Television, Global News Toronto, and Global News Radio 640 Toronto. She writes regular columns for several magazines and has her own website: www.RubinaAhmedHaq.com
Rubina began her career as a broadcast journalist in 1999.
Follow her on Twitter: @RubinaAhmedHaq
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