Friday 1 December 2023

You Can Make a Difference - Giving Strategies 2023

Give with a grateful heart!

Written by Robyn T. Braley

Robyn T. Braley is a brand specialist, writer, speaker, community leader and media commentator. He is the President of UniMark Creative Inc. 

The last day of December 2023 is the final opportunity to receive tax credits for donations to charitable organizations.

The needs are significant! Recovery from the COVID pandemic has been compounded by runaway inflation causing a worldwide economic crisis. The shock of skyrocketing rental rates and food costs caught financial experts and extraordinary people off guard. 

The needs in our communities have been amplified several times overPeople are desperate. Families are in distress. Many are forced to choose between paying the rent and buying food!

Every day, worthy causes inundate companies and private individuals with letters, emails and phone calls pleading for help. The challenge is to choose which organizations to help when so many need support.

All of this brings added pressure on food banks, family resource agencies, addiction recovery organizations, youth programs, and mental health services. Counsellors are overwhelmed by the number of people seeking help. 

There have been business failures. However, other companies have experienced record-setting years. While many can’t give, others can respond to the tremendous need by giving generously.

Your ability to give depends on your economic reality. But the gift amount is not always as significant as the act of showing it. 

How to choose which organizations to support?

So, where do you start? Identify the areas of greatest need. Focus on your community. Make a list that includes organizations that meet basic needs. 

·                     Food supply

·                     Homelessness

·                     Addictions Recovery

·                     Troubled Youth

·                     Mental Health

·                     Seniors

After making your list, break down each category. For example, Food Supply may include food banks, community kitchens, providing school lunches, or delivery of hot meals to seniors. 

Give to Organizations You Know

The bottom line for most people is to make their donation count. They want the largest portion of their gift to go to people who need it most rather than operations. 

At a minimum, check out the organization's annual report. Some have it on their website. Most will quickly send it to you. If this is a problem, it may be a red flag. 

One way to simplify the process is to ask people you know about the organizations they support. Giving is a private matter, but when people are passionate about a cause, they are happy to share their experiences.

Close To The Community

Another strategy is to give to organizations closest to the community, like churches, mosques, temples or service clubs. They operate through an army of volunteers, meaning only a tiny portion of your gift will be held back for operational purposes, if any. You can designate how your gift is to be used. 

Recently, a lady who co-owns rental properties stood up at my Rotary Club meeting to make a spontaneous announcement. She told of meeting a family of refugees from the war in Ukraine who were desperate to find a home for their children.   

The lady and her husband decided to lease an apartment at no charge for 6 months. They set aside a further $2,500 to help them buy a car so they could find jobs. The lady asked club members to match the gift. Having a car meant being able to commute to a job.

You wouldn't know about the family's extreme needs unless you talked to a member of our club. 

Due Diligence

The big thing is to choose a recipient you can trust. Organizations like the Salvation Army, local Homeless Shelters, Youth Centres and Immigrant Shelters work with the poorest of the poor in your community and are highly credible. 

Fill in the blanks by doing a few minutes of research. Begin by visiting the websites of the organizations you are considering giving to. 

  1. Do they have local, national or international operations?
  2. Do they list specific humanitarian activities in your community?
  3. Do they list their management teams?
  4. Do they list board members?
  5. Do they list local or national certifications?
  6. Do they give tax receipts?
  7. Do they publish annual reports?

Finally, google their name. There may be media reports and other information that comes up. If you're still not sure, call your local Credit Bureau.

More Ideas - An Excerpt

Last year I wrote a longer post called, Ebineezer Says Small Businesses Can Make a Big Difference in a COVID Christmas

Why do Albertans give?

Albertans have a rich history of giving. For the most part, we give because it’s the right thing to do. We don’t give because we have to. We give because we can!

Many give because they remember the struggles of their past. They take great pleasure in helping young people who face various barriers to success. They see it as providing a hand-up rather than a handout.

Now families need the basics like food and shelter. In some homes, there is no breadwinner. Parents feel there is no place to turn. 

Does it matter how much we give?

To get through this time, those who can give should give until it hurts! And many are doing just that. 

Dr. Marme Hesse was a generous Alberta philanthropist who died in 2016 at the age of 100. She had a great belief in the power of community.

We were sitting with a group of fellow Rotarians waiting for a committee meeting to begin. Someone made a sarcastic comment about volunteers in general and how small the donations had been for the fundraiser we were organizing.

There was a silent pause before she spoke. Then she offered profound insight, and I paraphrase, 

“Some can give a little, and some can give a lot. When each one gives as much as they can, when they can to the best of their ability, knowing that all gifts won't be equal, great things can happen in the community.” 

There wasn't another word spoken as we got to work with a renewed commitment to make the event a success. 

And that’s how we’ll get through this! By coming together to mobilize the power of community.

The End

Robyn T. Braley is a brand specialist, writer, speaker, and community leader. He is the President of UniMark Creative which focuses on website design, video production, media services (editorial and advertising), and graphic design. 

Check out the Brandit Academy on this website for speaking and webinar topics!

Please Talk To Us

Your Opinion Matters. Please share your comments below. What have I missed? What caused you to think differently?



Twitter: @robyntbraley

Check These Out - More Brandit Posts by Robyn T. Braley

No comments:

Post a Comment