’Tis the season of giving, but like anything to do with money, having a plan really improves both the experience and the outcome.

First of all, make sure the charity of your choice is registered with the federal government.
The Canada Revenue Agency has been eyeing charities more carefully lately and there has been an increase in revoked registrations.

Secondly, it is almost always more beneficial to give directly to a charity rather than via a telephone or mail solicitation.


Some charities do their own mail blitzes but many hire fundraisers that take a piece of the pie.

Thirdly, don’t spray your money all over the place. You will feel more connected to a couple of charities if you focus your giving than if you give little bits here and there to a dozen of them.

Choosing a charity can be overwhelming. There are so many good ones and so much need. One great place to start is with your, or your family’s, heart.

My late father-in-law, Jack Cruise, was an ophthalmologist, and in his 70s he travelled to India and Pakistan with Operation Eyesight Universal to perform cataract surgery in mobile clinics.
By giving to that organization, my children felt connected to their grandfather.

In my single years, wild animals were at the top of my love list and I gave to the World Wildlife Fund every year.

A neighbour has soccer- loving boys so they give to a charity that provides balls, nets and uniforms to kids in places like Haiti.

I also find that children love causes where they get something back such as a letter, a photo or some tangible recognition that their efforts have made a difference.

And if you do have children, by all means encourage them to save part of their allowance every year in a jar, envelope or bank account to give to a charity of their choice.

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