Some ideas for Helping Charities

April 17, 2020

As I have written before, we are living in uncharted times. There are millions of people out of work at the moment and most people’s personal investment portfolios have taken quite a hit. That’s the bad news.

So what could possibly be the good news?

The desire to help out our fellow man has never been stronger. People are craving some sort of positivity and ways to do their own part in making this world a better place.

As fundraisers, we are now forced to think outside of the box. What worked years ago (or even months ago) in the fundraising world may no longer work.

While we may one day go back to galas and other special events, I would surmise that it will take a while to build back up to those fundraising modalities. I contend that the future of fundraising has (and always will be) a combination of Major Gifts and Deferred Gifts. These will bring in the largest sums of money and allow you to grow other areas of your development office to help further your charitable cause.

How can Government help?

The government is doling out billions of dollars in aid packages to businesses, charities, and individuals. But the government cannot be the only source of funding. There needs to be a community component.

An idea for Canada is that I would suggest that the rate of the tax credit for donations be increased. This essentially has the government ‘paying’ for part of the donation, but it acts as a leverage for some.

Additionally, another idea would be to see the government help those that volunteer on a charity’s behalf. Currently, the Canadian tax treatment does not provide for volunteer hours — unless you volunteer with a Volunteer Firefighter or Volunteer Search and Rescue. If the rules were ‘equalized’ across charities, individuals could claim up to $3,000 in credits.

Another idea could possibly be the treatment of Estate Taxes with a charitable lens attached to it. I think that if the Estate had a significant charitable component to it (i.e. 20% or higher) then the entire estate should be taxed at a much lower threshold. This would certainly see an uptick in the number of charitable bequests.


As I have written in previous articles, tax relief is not the primary motivator for donating to charity. But, it is still a motivator. And with the Government looking to help out as much as it can (but recognizing that we will all have to pay for these programs one day down the road), these ideas may have merit.

Stay safe and healthy.