There are a lot of misconceptions about charitable giving and, whether you’re a business or an individual, you may have questions about how, what and why to donate.
Misunderstandings lead to confusion which can ultimately discourage you from making charitable donations. Don’t let worthy organizations miss out on your gifts! If you’re considering giving to charity in any way, read this list.
Misconceptions About Charitable Giving
1. “My gift is too small to matter.”
If you’re considering giving a financial gift to an organization, you may be wondering if there is an appropriate amount to give. It’s true that the larger the gift amount the more potential there is to make an impact on the organization. However, don’t let that stop you from giving! Small donations from many sources give charities credibility and stability. If a larger source pulls their support, charities will depend on their various smaller donations to stay afloat. Not every gift needs to be celebrated with a press release and an oversized cheque. Remember – every dollar counts.
2. “Charities have nothing to offer your business.”
There are many that perceive giving to charity as a one-way street. But that is simply not true. Giving to an organization can have many benefits, including recognition and exposure to people outside of your network. There may also be benefits to your staff. If your company is looking to provide pro-bono work to an organization, employees may be given the opportunity to practice some leadership skills that may not happen within the company. They’re also getting a chance to give back to the community firsthand.
3. “All charities are government funded.”
It is a common misconception that most charities rely heavily on government funding. A 2019 study published by Statistics Canada shows the sources of revenue for the core non-profit sector for government funding at only 30.8%. There have been significant cutbacks since that study was published. The rest of the 70% come from sales of goods and services, membership fees, donations and investment income.
4. “Low overhead is a sign of a great charity.”
Somewhere along the line it became “best practice” to only give to charities with an overhead cost of an estimated 13% or less. Although you want to see organizations being fiscally responsible, charities are businesses too and sometimes they need a bigger operating budget to build up the infrastructure required to carry out their mission. These resources can play a major role in pushing charitable projects forward and helping organizations create sustainable impact. It’s important to look at the operating cost in context with the bigger picture and vision of the organization.
There are an estimated 170,000 non-profits and charities in Canada. Half of these (54%) are run entirely by volunteers.
5. “Charities only want large-cash donations.”
While large monetary donations can help charities fund community-needed projects, many organizations are also in need of supplies and your time. COVID-19 has required the entire world to pivot and adapt to social distancing, including the non-profit sector. Many charities need pro-bono services to help navigate moving their programs online and require supplies to prepare them for reopening their doors. Every little bit helps and no donation is too small!