The giving season is meant to inspire benevolence and the sharing of joy with others. Yet, something seemingly simple can be so hard to do. To start, we are busy with buying gifts and celebrating with loved ones. Coupled with the added expenses that come with those things, we can end up feeling overstretched.
Many of us find it hard to be confident in the effectiveness of our giving and busyness doesn’t help with that. It’s not easy to take the time to identify and get to know charities. According to an Angus Reid survey conducted in partnership with Charitable Impact, six in ten Canadians (61%) say they would give more if they felt more confident about charities and where the money is going. About half (48%) said they would be more generous if they could find the right cause for them.
So, how do we avoid just saying all the right things with regards to giving as opposed to actually doing them? None of us want to be guilty of the famous idiom “do what I say, not what I do.” Still, most of us can relate when it comes to giving charitably, perhaps more so at this time of year. We recognize there are needs in our communities and beyond, we want to help and see ourselves as essentially charitable, but we don’t quite know how to follow through.
I started Charitable Impact to create a platform that empowers individuals to become more confident and fulfilled donors, regardless of what causes or charities they end up supporting. By giving through a donor-advised fund (DAF), practicing generosity doesn’t require a full sense of what you actually want to do charitably. With a DAF you can make a donation to your account now and then take the time and space to decide how you’d like to use that money to make the biggest impact for whatever cause you choose to help.
This holiday season, it is possible to start taking steps towards embracing the practice of generosity as a regular part of your life. Here are some thoughts about how to truly act on your charitable nature and in the spirit of the season:
- First, slow down and enjoy the holiday season time with family and friends. Include someone who might otherwise be alone.
- Make giving and your experience as a donor topics of conversation: don’t be afraid to discuss your feelings and experiences, whether good, bad, ugly, or ambivalent. You can be a guide and a student of giving at the same time.
- Be charitable by making a donation to your Impact Account (your DAF at Charitable Impact) before the year end, taking advantage of a 2019 tax receipt.
- Take the time and space you need to discover and find confidence in the causes and charities that are most important to you. We would rather see you move slower and with more confidence than faster and reactively.
- Find a group of friends to continue charitable conversations. Think “book club” more than “fundraising team”. Not everyone has to like the same things, but you do have to be able to share opinions and listen to those of others.
Since generosity is contagious, we can all be role models. It is inspiring to see important life lessons being put into action. Studies show that seeing others give makes an individual more likely to do so, and seeing others make bigger donations inspires them to give even more.
With that in mind, you don’t have to be a paragon of benevolence in order to inspire generosity in others. You don’t have to be perfect to give. You don’t even have to get everything done on your end-of-year list to commit to being charitable. It can start with simply sharing with others that you are trying and have set out to explore the charitable landscape. Perhaps you will inspire others to do the same.
Join us at Charitable Impact for your giving, your way, with our support. Throughout the new year, we will be sharing more tips and strategies. Find more resources and information at charitableimpact.com or follow us on social media at @wearecharitable. This giving season, it’s possible to dedicate your time to celebrate with family, friends, and loved ones, while still contributing to a brighter future. Imagine a brighter future. Let’s make it happen.