Enrich Yourself by Giving to Others
Like most Canadians, we are active supporters of charitable organizations in our communities. Whether its sponsoring our local soccer team or participating in an United Way event, we enjoy introducing our clients to the wonderful people who do such valuable work in my community.
Developing a charitable giving strategy
As we get older and accumulate wealth, charitable giving is a way of sharing some of that wealth. Although there is no single right way to give to charity, there are ways to make your financial support more effective.
Align your giving with your values
Find something that you believe in or are passionate about. There is no limit to the number of causes and organizations that can use your donations to make a difference. Perhaps you value books and reading, and would like to help literacy groups. Or maybe you want to support research into the cure for a specific disease. Giving to a cause you truly believe in will help turn your support into a lifelong commitment and give you the most satisfaction.
Make it automatic
Consider making charitable donations on a regular basis. Select an amount you can manage and then have it come out of your bank account on a monthly basis. Most registered charities can set this up for you. You might want to start small and then contribute more over time. More importantly, regular donations help charitable organizations plan their own activities and make it easier for them to respond quickly to emergencies.
Keep good records
To encourage Canadians to give more, the federal government provides tax credits for donations to registered charities. The first $200 donated receives a federal tax credit of 16%; amounts over $200 get a 29% credit.
Do some research
It's important that the charity you give to make good use of your money. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) website includes a list of all registered Canadian charities. Go to "Programs" on the left-hand side and click "Charities". You can find information about a specific charity by searching for it on the CRA site and reading the Registered Charity Information Return. It provides a wealth of information about the charity's fundraising activities, how it uses your money, the number of employees, and so on.
The Greater Good
Volunteering is a great way to sharpen skills and make valuable job contacts particularly when you are taking your career in a different direction. If youre interested in volunteering, you may already know of some groups in your community that could use your time, such as an adult learning centre or drop-in facility. If youre unsure how to help, go to www.volunteer.ca to find out more.
Charitable donations don't have to be claimed in the year they are made they can be carried forward for up to five years. If you (or your spouse) donate in smaller amounts, consider grouping together donations to take advantage of the higher credit available on amounts above $200.If you file your taxes online or using TELEFILE, be sure to keep your charitable donation receipts, as the Canada Revenue Agency may ask to see them.
Here are a few sites that can help you develop your giving strategy