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Talking to your advisor can reveal the best ways to donate.

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On a per capita basis, Albertans give more to charity than any other province – $1.6 billion in 2018 according to Statistics Canada. Beyond that, Albertans help to fund causes by buying lottery tickets or merchandise from charities, attending charitable events, raising money themselves, and volunteering their time and expertise.

Why do people give? Usually not just to get a charitable donation tax receipt. They give because they believe in a cause, have had a personal experience (such as receiving treatment at a hospital), or wish to create a lasting legacy.

There are many ways to give. For some individual and corporate donors, it’s an annual ritual, and the value of the gift doesn’t change much year over year. Others choose to make a more generous donation because of a particular event in their life, or when funds free up, upon selling a business for example.

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Planned charitable giving is often a way to make meaningful contributions to causes, as part of an individual’s personal and financial goals.

Another option is to leave a gift in a will. That enables the donor to make a future gift to the charity without concern that it will affect their current lifestyle or quality of life. The most common ways are to leave either a lump sum value in a will, or part of the residue of the estate (e.g. a percentage of the value).

Gifting outright to a charity to finance a present need or a capital project is common, However, there are a number of ways to leave a lasting gift: foundations, trusts, bursaries or scholarships in the family name, and contributions to donor-advised funds.

What are some questions to answer before you give? ATB Wealth suggests you consider these four areas.

  1. Amount. Are you donating a fixed dollar amount or a percentage of your income? Are you gifting cash, capital property or cultural property?
  2. Timing. Is the gift being made during your lifetime or as a part of your estate plan? Are you planning a one-time donation or a series of gifts?
  3. Ongoing commitment. Do you want to make contributions on a regular and recurring basis? Do you want to have involvement in the long-term strategic decisions of an organization, or direct control over how your contributions are used?
  4. Intended outcome. Are you supporting an immediate financial need in your community or the world. Do you want to address underlying causes of societal problems?

With your charitable intentions in mind, the next step is to talk to your accountant, lawyer and financial advisor. Determine the most tax-efficient way and the most effective gifting structure to achieve your charitable wishes.

For guidance, the ATB Wealth planned philanthropic giving guide offers comprehensive and strategic information.


Advertising feature produced by ATB Wealth. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.

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