How much should I give?
According to Owen Charters, chief executive officer of CanadaHelps, an online portal to thousands of registered Canadian charities, the rule of thumb is 1 to 3 per cent of your income. However, the median donation for Canadians is about $250. Many financial advisers are willing to help you figure out what you can afford to give and set up a financial plan.
How should I make donations?
Giving smaller amounts on a regular basis, rather than a lump sum at the end of the year, can be more affordable at holiday time and is also more sustainable for charities. Some employers allow you to deduct charitable donations off each paycheque, and will provide a year-end tax receipt. Another option is to ask the charity how to set up regular donations. Also set aside a certain amount for spontaneous giving: Girl Guide cookies, a co-worker's charity run, a school fundraiser.
Which charity should I choose?
Narrow down the choices by thinking about the causes that matter most to you. Then do some research on organizations that support your cause. Ask for annual reports and financial statements. Find out how their work helps the cause and how your donation will be used.