Supporting a thriving charitable sector
August 13, 2021
9 min read
How to support a charitable sector that helps meets urgent and emerging needs.
Charities and non-profit organizations are major drivers in our society. From their beginnings as resources to alleviate poverty, charities have evolved to now address a wealth of topics and issues: “From providing social services to driving research and community development, Canadians experience the impacts of their work every day.”
It should go without saying that charities need our support. But behind this obvious statement is the lingering question: how can you best support a thriving charitable sector?
It’s an increasingly important concern as giving has been on the decline. Some charities saw an exacerbation of this drop in 2020 to residual effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. In May 2020, Imagine Canada found that revenues for charities had declined by 30.6% since the onset of the pandemic and 69.o% of charities were reporting decreased revenues.
Even before the start of the pandemic—due to increasing needs and declining number of donors—Imagine Canada had predicted a revenue shortfall of $25 billion could affect charities by 2026.
Engaging younger generations is critical to the future of the sector. A 2021 report found that, while online giving grew substantially in 2020, overall giving dropped by 10%. Younger people are tending to give less than older generations.
A strong future for the charitable sector
There is hope for the future of a robust charitable sector that addresses gaps in services and amenities. And we all pitch in to help. That’s because we all have something to give. You can start by being intentional and considerate of the impact of your charitable actions.
“One of the best ways that we as donors have to give back is just be thoughtful of where we are giving,” said Sloane Davidson, the founder and CEO of a U.S.-based non-profit called Hello Neighbor and an active donor in her own life. “If you want to give more, or if you want to be more involved, reach out to the [charity] and tell them.”
Beyond giving charitable dollars, you can lend enormous support through volunteering your time or skills. This is where understanding the needs of an organization is key. There are so many ways to get involved and you can help effectively with an informed perspective.
User tip: At Charitable Impact, we offer philanthropic advisory services that can help to bridge your connections to charities and learn more about their missions. You can also get advice on crafting your own personalized giving strategy. Reach out to us at [email protected] to find out more.
Consider being a monthly donor
Once you have thought more about what you want to proactively achieve through giving and you have gotten to know a few charities, committing to a cause can be the next step.
If you can, it’s worthwhile to be a monthly donor to a charity or cause. The amount could be comparable to your monthly podcast subscription or gym membership. A simple formula is to divide by 12 the amount of charitable dollars you would like to give annually.
“One of the best ways you can support [charities] is by being a monthly donor, because that is sustaining revenue that they can count on when they are planning,” said Davidson.
Regular monthly giving to charities affords organizations the ability to predict and project their finances. Dedicated donors help charities weather the storms. Plus, they form a community who cares. And that’s good for the charitable sector.
With regular and expected donations charities can:
- Plan ahead and determine the programs and services they can afford to run.
- Sustain through challenging times when fundraising dollars may decline.
- Forge stronger relationships with their donors and other supporters.
Giving monthly brings you benefits as a donor
As an individual donor, committing to one or a number of charities also can provide more peace of mind to your own charitable actions. Having a clear direction can make it easier to respond to the annual chorus of fundraising requests.
When you say no, you know that you are doing so because of other overarching priorities. And when you say yes, you know that you have set aside funds for your own giving priorities.
User tip: On Charitable Impact you can easily schedule monthly gifts to charities, and adjust or cancel when needed. Give how you want, remaining anonymous or adding your contact information. You can also include messages to be shared directly with charities.
Technology to support charities
Giving through Charitable Impact offers distinct benefits to charities. Without having to set up the technology on their own, charities with fewer resources can access online monthly giving from donors like you.
The platform also enables organizations to cater to and connect with their donors by offering customizable charity profile and Giving Group pages. Charities can create Giving Groups around events or awareness days through which they can update supporters.
As a donor, you may know you want to give to a small charity that has few resources for processing non-cash assets or major gifts. A donor-advised fund like Charitable Impact that operates as a foundation, can accept such donations and send gifts to any qualified donee
User tip: Giving Groups allow multiple people to combine forces and pool funds together or raise money to support one or more registered Canadian charities on Charitable Impact. Anyone can set up a Giving Group to rally supporters or simply to encourage generosity in your networks.
Commit to your generosity now and give later
It’s an immense task to consider the full breadth of the charitable sector. With more than 86K charities across Canada, many of them may fall under the radar. Most people only know of a handful of big-name charities.
Giving through a donor-advised fund offers the unique advantage of time and space to decide where to give. When you add money to your Impact Account, you receive an immediate tax receipt and can give to the charities of your choice whenever you like.
You can set aside money for giving—just as you might for your savings, retirement, or other long-term expenses. By doing so, you are investing in your own potential for creating change and voicing your interests. And that feels pretty good.
By planning for your giving more strategically you are also cultivating more financial literacy. As you dive deeper into giving, you can access tax benefits, give assets other than cash like publicly traded securities, and consider a giving legacy.
As a donor setting aside money for giving each month you can:
- Budget for your giving and include your generosity as part of your financial planning.
- Commit to your charitable giving and take time to find your own strategic direction.
- Gain knowledge of giving that is particularly meaningful to you and build a sustainable giving practice for your life.
User tip: It takes just a few minutes to set up a monthly deposit to your Impact Account. You receive a tax receipt when money is added to your account, and these are stored in your account where they are easy to find and keep track of.
Committing to your cause creates sustainability
When you start to think of giving as a long-term investment, rather than a one-time deal, you are creating a practice. Over time, you can learn what causes bring you more joy, satisfaction, and positive rewards. As you understand more about charities’ needs and how they spend their money, your giving can feel more meaningful.
You can also decide on specific giving strategies that suit you. Do you like to make a significant impact for a number of smaller charities? Or would you prefer to invest in the future of one or two charities doing work you feel most strongly about?
Setting up a monthly deposit is an opportunity to build knowledge about what you care about and why. If you have a bad experience with giving, you know that you can still keep practicing to find what works for you. When active and engaged donors gain this understanding, the benefits to charities and the charitable sector as a whole can only multiply further.
When you give a little each month, you can make a big impact. Because we all have something to give. Through Charitable Impact, you can quickly set up a monthly deposit to your Impact Account. It takes just a few minutes to start a lifelong generosity habit. And giving monthly means it is easily factored into your regular expenses. Add a monthly deposit today!