— What Can Individuals Do to Better Support Charities?
Lanlin Bu, Michael Bloomfield, and Adrian Southin
Knowledge is power. Tell your friends and colleagues about the problems highlighted in our recent paper “Unleashing the Power of Canadian Charities”, and encourage government and corporations to remedy those problems. At the same time, we can all take actions to directly help charities.
What can we do in our own life to help charities?
1. Re-examine our giving.
On average, Canadians donate $531 (CAD)  to charity, while Americans give $1,201 (USD). Many of us can afford to give more support to the charities that keep our water clean, help those in need, run our hospitals and fight for social justice. Even if you can’t give more, you can help in other ways. Learn more about the charities you’re supporting and get involved. Online resources like the CRA database (http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html) provide financial and operational information for many charities.
Volunteers are essential for many charities to delivering their services. More volunteers mean that charities can offer more benefit to your community and all Canadians. Contact an organization you support directly, or find a listing for volunteer opportunities online.
3. Consumer Awareness
It’s important to support companies that invest in society and are good corporate citizens. Just as we expect corporations to respect human rights, maintain safe workplaces and protect the environment, we also should expect them to generously contribute to the arts, education, and social wellbeing. After all, through our tax dollars, businesses are given lots of support including research and development grants, training and access to infrastructure. It’s only fair that Canadians and the communities they live in get a return on their investment. RBC’s Blue Water Project is a good example of an effort to improve the world, where self-promoting schemes like Amazon Smile take away from sincere giving.
A strong civil society is vital to a healthy democracy, giving voice to concerned Canadians. These voices help ensure fairness and justice for all. Let’s make sure these organizations are well equipped and not being held back from achieving their potential.
Charities are too important to be put at risk by short-term political or economic trends. Governments, corporations and the public need to be more supportive in meaningful ways if we truly value the many services charities provide to Canadians.
Read the full research paper “UNLEASHING THE POWER OF CANADIAN CHARITIES” from http://harmonyfdn.ca/?page_id=2756
 Turcotte, Martin. “Charitable giving by individuals.” Statistics Canada. 2015. 4.
 Link to: http://nccs.urban.org/nccs/statistics/Charitable-Giving-in-America-Some-Facts-and-Figures.cfm
 Link to: http://www.rbc.com/community-sustainability/environment/rbc-blue-water/index.html
 Link to: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/brady-josephson/why-amazon-is-smiling-and_b_4360405.html