My charitable giving “strategy” has typically been to wait until one of my friends is doing a fundraiser, or someone passes away and the family suggests a donation in their memory, and then to donate to those. I do have a few charities that I give to at least once a year without prompting from someone I know doing fundraising – Vancouver Orphan Kitten Rescue Association (VOKRA) (from where I adopted my beloved kitties), Centre for Inquiry (CFI) Canada (which I believe does important work), and the Wikimedia Foundation1 (because I think it’s important for knowledge to be freely available to all). I also have some money that I’ve leant out through Kiva ((Props to Sarah and Dave who introduced me to Kiva many years ago by giving me a gift card of funds to start loaning through Kiva)), which I just re-lend to new borrowers as existing borrowers re-pay their loans.2 This year I also gave to the BC NDP during the provincial election, because I thought it was really important to get the BC so-called “Liberals” out of power3. But this year it seems like not very many people I knew were doing fundraising, as I’m looking at my 2017 charitable tax donations and I haven’t donated very much at all. So I’m thinking I should probably come up with a better system than just waiting to be reminded to give.
I recently heard about Give Well, which makes recommendations for charities to donate to that are “evidence-backed, thoroughly vetted, and underfunded”, so you know that your donations are doing the most good. As someone who values evidence, this appealed to me! However, this is an American website and being that I am selfishly interested in getting a tax deduction when I can, I tried to find a similar one for Canadian charities, but the only one I found was Charity Intelligence Canada, which does give charities a score for the impact they have, but doesn’t include it in their rating of the charities, which seems weird. Then when I was playing around on their website, I discovered that to get some of their ratings, you have to subscribe! And the only other stuff I could find was articles rating charities based on things like how much of the money they raise goes to overhead vs. how much goes to the services for the cause itself, and other articles talking about how that’s not a good way to rate charities (because does it matter if all the money goes to the “cause” if it’s not effective in making a difference?)
Anyway, I guess all this is to say that I still don’t have a solid charitable donation plan for the new year, but I’m thinking about how to come up with one. Any suggestions would be appreciated!
The other thing that I really should be donating is blood. I’m needle phobic, especially when it comes to someone taking my blood (more so than I am about, say, getting a vaccine injected into me) but I feel guilty about not giving blood when people whose need is much greater than my mere queasiness at the thought of a needle poking into me and my blood pumping out of my body into a bag4.
I really wish there was a Canadian arm of the Wikimedia Foundation, as when I give to this charity I don’t get a tax receipt since it is American. [↩]
I also started supporting a podcast through Patreon, but I that doesn’t count as a charitable donation, since you are technically supporting someone to create something, but if feels a bit like one, since one could just listen to the podcast for free. In case you are interested, the podcast is called Onlightened and it’s by one of the former hosts of Caustic Soda, a podcast that I loved but only discovered as it was ending. It’s just getting started and I’m hoping that in 2018 there will be more regular episodes! [↩]
And donations to political parties give big tax deductions – except if you are donating to municipal campaigns, which don’t give you any tax deduction. But that’s a story for another day. [↩]
Oh man, just typing that makes me want to hurl. [↩]
VOKRA, the non-profit organization from which I adopted my kitties, has put out a plea for help. Vancouver has been experiencing an unusually long, hot summer and they are having difficulty keeping their operations centre – where the most vulnerable kitties (sick kitties, new moms and their kittens, and kitties waiting for a foster home) are – cool enough to keep the kitties safe and healthy. Someone donated an industrial air conditioner to them, but they need to raise $10,000 to have it installed.
At the time of writing, they’ve raised just over 1/3 of the money they need. And right now, if you donate, a generous donor will match that donation, up to $5,000. If you are interested in donating, click here!
I know that times are tough and lots of people are competing for your charitable donations, so I think I need to up the ante a bit. I need to offer something more than just my undying gratitude. But what to offer?
I could offer to write a blog posting about whatever you want. I could offer to wash your car. I could offer to bake you cookies! But really, I guess what I need to know is what you’d actually want, potential donor. What do you want??
Actually, I have made one deal with someone – basically, I agreed to do something that someone has been bugging me to do for *ages* in exchange for a donation…. (Nothing like *that*! Get your mind of the gutter!) And it gave me the idea that if I could bribe one person, why not many?
So make me an offer, blog reader. Comment, email me, Facebook me, tweet @ me, text me, or send me snail mail or a messenger pigeon to let me know what you want me to do in exchange for a donation. No reasonable offer will be refused!
I went to a player meeting for the 10 day long hockey game on Friday. I’ll write more about the meeting soon, but first and foremost I want to put out a plea for RVs!
As you know, during the 10 day long hockey game, the 40 women who will be playing are not allowed to leave the facility. But we will have small chunks of time during which we can catch a few zzz’s. Which raises the question: where do we sleep?
Well, we are hoping to get some RVs that we can keep out back in the arena’s parking lot. Unfortunately, since the event goes over the Labour Day long weekend, no RV rental companies are able to donate them to us, as it’s their busiest weekend of the year! We’d prefer not to pay to rent them, as we want all our money to go to Cystic Fibrosis Canada, the charitable organization that we are raising money for.
This is where you come in, gentle readers. Do you – or anyone you know – have an RV that you can lend to us between August 26 and September 5, 2011? We will have access to the bathrooms in the arena and all our food is being cooked and brought in for us, so we won’t need to use your RV’s kitchen or bathroom facilities. We just need a place to sleep. Hockey players gotta sleep, y’all!
If you have an RV that you could lend, or have any other ideas of people we might approach, please let me know (either via email or in the comments section)!