One of the joys of establishing a Foundation at Canada Gives is making the move from simply writing cheques to charities, to understanding what it means to be a philanthropist. It’s that great leap that our donor clients find so exciting. Operating as a Foundation funder gives them the ability to engage with charities and non-profits in entirely new ways, understanding how they can create a lasting impact and gaining recognition for their extraordinary generosity (if they desire it). One easy way to facilitate that for our Foundation clients comes through personalizing gifts supported by customized grant letters.
We should point out that among the many benefits of choosing to set up a Foundation account at Canada Gives—such as turnkey administration and reporting to the Canada Revenue Agency, grant application management, access to our easy-to-use Donor Portal with its Charity Research function and ongoing total grant reporting—is the potential for complete anonymity. If you prioritize privacy, any gift you make can be sent from your Foundation account without direct attribution to you or your family. Many active philanthropists opt for that approach because they want to avoid ongoing solicitation by charities, or because they simply hope to shine the spotlight elsewhere.
For others, gift personalization offers an opportunity to build closer connections to a charity or preferred causes. But the benefits don’t end there.
Personalized grant letters are a unique feature of the Canada Gives service experience. As a donor advised fund sponsor focused on helping philanthropists build high-impact foundations that also add value to their recipient charities, we introduced this service because we felt that it was a useful tool for fostering stronger relationships between our philanthropists and their favourite charities.
Here’s how it works: Once a grant is approved, our Client Services team issues a cheque to the recipient charity on behalf of the donor’s Foundation account. In the background, we track all receipts from the recipient charity for CRA compliance and reporting purposes. The customized grant letter is submitted to the recipient charity at this point. Grant letters include key information such as:
- The amount of the gift
- The name of your foundation
- Your name and address
- The direction for your gift
- An invitation to recognize the donor who established the Foundation account
Requesting how a gift is used is an important consideration for many of our donor clients. It’s a way for them to direct their charitable dollars towards specific initiatives that align with their values and giving goals. That latter point is important. Now more than ever, philanthropists aim to make a lasting impact, but particularly in areas where they want to achieve quantifiable results, whether that’s advancing a cause or supporting a specific organization. Others choose not to set a direction for their gift, instead allowing the recipient charity to use funds to pay for their highest priority needs as an unrestricted gift.
We list each of these charitable gifts in our consolidated Quarterly Foundation reports, while a Total Grants Report that summarizes support by charity, can be generated at any time. The latter allows donor clients to review and quantify the total impact made to the charitable sector from their Foundation account, and is often what prompts them to share that experience with other family members.
Experiencing philanthropy across generations
Gaining recognition for their philanthropy through a customized grant letter is important for another reason: it’s a chance for our Foundation clients to demonstrate to their children and grandchildren that charitable giving is an important part of their family’s value system. Having a recipient charity reach out to say ‘thanks’ is a moment of pride and a way for the next generation to embrace the sense of accomplishment and purpose that comes with giving back.
While many studies have shown that Gen Y and Z are deeply passionate about making a difference in their communities and beyond—their commitment to creating change often has global ambitions, especially when it comes to environmental and social issues—they especially want to see evidence of that impact. In many cases, they also want to lend their time to a favourite cause through volunteering. The interaction that occurs between a Foundation client’s family and the recipient charity is often sparked by a customized grant letter.
Going the extra mile to ensure our donors receive the recognition they deserve for their inspiring generosity is a relatively simple aspect of what we do as an organization, but it’s an important one that helps ensure that the cycle of philanthropy carries on.
Because there simply is no better feeling than knowing what an impact a single grant is making on the lives of so many people.
The Canada Gives team
For more information about our services, please contact a member of the Canada Gives Client Services team.