Get an edge on charitable giving

January 31, 2018 Suzana Popovic-Montag Charities, Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, In the News, Uncategorized 0 Comments

This recent article in the Globe and Mail by Rob Carrick caught my eye, since charitable giving is often a component of estate planning.

The article highlights some statistics on charitable giving in Canada, based on a recent study and data from Statistics Canada. Some notables: while 70% of Canadians feel a sense of personal responsibility for helping achieve positive change in the world, just four in 10 donate money on a regular basis, and just 21.4% of tax filers in 2014 claimed the charitable donation tax credit.

It’s clear that wrapping an organization in the blanket of a great cause is not enough to gain people’s trust when it comes to charities. Only half of study participants agreed that charities can be trusted with the money people donate to them.

Choosing a trustworthy charity (one that’s well-run, with a high percentage of donated dollars going to further the cause rather than to administrative and fundraising expenses) is always important – but why is that importance magnified when it comes to estates and charitable giving? There are a couple of reasons:

  1. First, even if someone doesn’t leave anything to charity in their will, their family may well suggest a donation to a charitable cause in their memory. This could result in dozens (if not hundreds) of donations to a specific charity. The family will want the chosen charity to be both reflective of the values of the deceased family member and a good charity to donate to in terms of deeds done for dollars received. The family is really directing other people’s money, and they will want to ensure that money goes to a good and trustworthy organization.
  2. Second, estate gifts are often much larger than gifts given during a lifetime. So, to put it simply, the stakes are higher. If you leave a substantial gift to a charity in your will, you want the satisfaction of knowing that your money will be put to good use.

In this digital age, the information you need about charities is at your fingertips. Organizations such as CHIMP provide information on how charities spend their budgets. The information is drawn from the annual filings that charities must make to the Canada Revenue Agency. You can even donate directly to charities from the CHIMP site.

And there are other sites that will rank charities based on their effectiveness against a set list of criteria. Sites like Charity Intelligence  or MoneySense magazine can help in your research.

There are hundreds of great charities out there – and that are deserving of your support. If you want to make charitable giving one of your priorities, make sure it’s a well-considered choice.

Thanks for reading … Have a wonderful day,
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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