Generosity is a trait Canadians really embrace. We love to give, whether that’s within our community, the country or across the globe. We are a nation that believes in the power of giving to those less fortunate, which is proven every year with Canadians increasingly donating to causes dear to their heart.
Every donor has something in common: they desire to contribute to the well being of their fellow citizens, or to hopefully advance the values they believe in. To me, that’s what it means to be Canadian: we ‘re sincere in wanting only the best for the people around us.
My husband John and I have always believed in the gift of giving, especially when it comes to our community, so when it came to supporting local causes in our town of Etobicoke, John made a bigger decision to start one of his own: The John Zanini Foundation. His goal? To support at-risk youth within the city, by way of shelter, counselling and training to help children build healthy, successful and empowered lives. It’s a cause that’s very close to John’s heart and a passion project he’s deeply committed to.
Through the foundation, John also funds The Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment, which is an organization that is focused on building the self-esteem and self-worth of young women and girls ages 7-17 years old by changing their outlook on life and broadening their horizons through programs focused on the arts, life skills, academic success and leadership.
If you’ve thought about donating your time or money to a charity, here are a few things to consider when making your decision.
Budgeting for Charity
As you consider how much to give, remember everyone’s financial situation is personal. As a general rule, donations don’t have to exceed 2 percent of your total annual income.
When figuring out your budget, go with an amount that you can handle without resorting to dipping into your emergency fund or retirement savings. Also, know there are several other ways to donate outside of money: time, services and other in-kind gifts are just as great!
Pick What’s Important to You
When you consider where you might give your money, think about what really matters to you. Are you passionate about climate change or saving a particular type of animal? Have you experienced something personally that inspires you to want to give back? Find a personal connection and your giving will feel very rewarding.
Do Your Research
Conduct a search on organizations whose goals align with yours. Then, head to the organizations’ individual websites to research their programs and see if they do work in areas you feel passionate about. Be mindful of their donation cycles: Do they have particular drives during the holidays, or do you see a type of donation that would make a great gift for someone (i.e. adopting one animal of an endangered species)?
If you still feel you need more information to make a good decision, call the organization itself to find out what they are accomplishing in your area of interest, or if they have special holiday fundraising programs to which you can donate. Doing so will also help you feel sure that their work aligns with your own interests.
P.S.: If you’re in town, please come visit us on Tuesday, May 29th at the Mimico Tulip Festival, which is a lovely (and very popular!) spring event in the area that supports the community. It’s a really fun event with music, a barbecue and vendor market; plus, both John and I will be there! John’s company Dunpar Homes is sponsoring an interactive climbing wall, and we’ll be sharing some of our personal tips and advice on how to climb with confidence. We’re avid climbers ourselves, so it’s a fun way to try out the sport yourself!