As our Canada Gives Foundation families get set to celebrate the holidays, they’re mixing present wrapping with charitable gift planning. That often means bringing their loved ones into the philanthropic fold, involving the next generation in their generosity as they work to select the charity(ies) they’ll be supporting through their Canada Gives Foundation account in the coming year. Every year our Client Services team is asked the same question: Which type of charitable gift is best?
Because they’re dedicated to making a difference to the causes they support and across their communities, our donor clients are really wondering how they can maximize the impact of any gift they make. The simple answer is that there are many ways to make the world a better place; every gift is important and various gift structures can be effective.
What’s important is for Foundation account holders to design a gift that aligns with their values, that supports their favourite causes and helps one or more charities achieve their mission (while aligning with that charity’s operational needs). Simply put, an impactful gift for one donor client may not be the same for another. Charity needs also differ widely. Some are in search of longer-term gifts that provide predictable revenue streams that can help fund major capital investments or expand their organizational capacity.
A Canada Gives Foundation account provides the flexibility and strategic planning opportunities to enable our donor clients to field grant applications from charities and make multi-year gift pledges. Our Client Services team assists in helping to identify the charities that align with their giving goals and to help them plan those larger, higher-impact gifts.
Philanthropic planning is key to creating impact. So, how does it work?
Knowing your passion, choosing your cause
Putting the ‘why’ behind your philanthropy—specifically, why you and your family are passionate about creating an impact—is the first step.
We work with our Foundation families to outline their shared values, their influences, the moments and interactions that have changed their lives—and those of their family members. Often, they want to create meaningful change in a way that reflects their beliefs and identity, to even the playing field for others or to fund programs or initiatives to which others may not have access.
Through targeted questions and conversations, our team’s discovery process is designed to help our Foundation families develop a mission statement for their foundation (if they choose to define one). Think of it as a summation of the ‘why’ behind what they hope to achieve as philanthropists. Here’s an example of how a mission statement might be drafted:
Our foundation will deliver support to organizations that provide services to help youth across Canada achieve their full academic, athletic and social potential.
That’s only one potential approach. Every Foundation family puts their own distinctive spin on a mission statement.
Finding the right charity partners
Once our Client Services team understands a Foundation family’s preferred causes and their goals, we do the necessary research to highlight several potential charity partners among the more than 86,000 qualified donees in Canada. They could range from large, well-established organizations that have millions of dollars of private or government funding, to grassroots charities that have relatively little funding, but are no less diligent in their efforts to support one or more designated stakeholder groups. The key, again, is to find charity partners whose values and approach align with yours, while also finding the ones that demonstrate sound governance and are logging quantifiable results.
Our team will then reach out to select charities to determine whether their values fit with those of the Foundation family for whom we’re conducting research, while also assessing the charity’s organizational needs. Note: Grant Applications are a tool that we use to elicit needs-based information from a charity, particularly when our donor clients are planning to make a large or multi-year gift. This helps us determine what funds are required by the charity, how they’ll be used and how the charity measures success.
From there, we work with our Foundation families on an ongoing basis to discover new charities they may choose to support, and to continue supporting the ones to which they’ve made a commitment. We handle all necessary Foundation account administration and Canada Revenue Agency compliance, freeing them to focus on giving back—and enjoying the process along the way.
And what a process it is. This is very much a journey of personal discovery between a philanthropist and their family. No matter the type of gift they choose to give, they all appreciate the joy that comes with building a lasting legacy of generosity.
The Canada Gives Team