Charity graphic @Angus Reid

Cameras For Girls Shows You 10 Ways to Support Our Burgeoning Charity

Like other charities worldwide right now, Cameras For Girls are preparing for Giving Tuesday on November 30th and for their year-end appeal fundraising campaigns.

Recently, I attended the Nonprofit Storytelling Conference in San Diego, California. As a newly-formed charity in Canada, I wanted to ensure that we are ready for this campaign season and no other conference prepares you to do so, like this one.  

When speaking to potential donors, many think the only way to support a charity is through monetary means. So, I thought I would write a blog post about the 10 ways to support a burgeoning charity, like Cameras For Girls.

Whether you use this list to support our charity or another, we all win, so please read on and open your hearts and, where possible, your wallets, as your favourite charity seeks your help now.

Charity graphic @Angus Reid

Charity Graphic c/o Angus Reid

#1 – Volunteer Your Time and Skills

Most charities are doing the work they do to support others on a minimal advertising and marketing budget. If you have skills that you can put to use and that a charity can benefit from, I suggest you get in touch with them to offer your time and knowledge.

For instance, Abby came to me after we were seen on CTV National News in March of this year and offered her expertise in marketing. As a marketing professional with over 20-years of experience. Abby helped us put together a comprehensive marketing plan. This plan will help us put all of our marketing in place as we move forward with our goals, including our website, social media, and even communicating with our donors.

Another volunteer, Kelsie, took a year-long sabbatical from her job. She hoped to go to Africa to volunteer with an organization and do hands-on work; however, COVID had other plans. She researched various organizations to volunteer with in Canada to use her expertise as an accountant. She found us and helped us put together an impressive accounting system that will help us track our expenses, our donors and even help us prepare for the daunting annual corporate tax return.

When she came across our posting on Volunteer Canada, Sophie was a student seeking experience in the social media realm. She has helped us put together our posting, researched how to expand our reach and continues to lend her expertise when she is not looking for a full-time job.

Volunteer Sign

#2 – Organize a Charity Fundraiser

Many people think that only charities can organize fundraisers, but individuals can too! It can be as big or as small as you want.

For instance, my friend Tracie May of Parklane Jewelry is hosting an online Facebook Fundraiser for Cameras For Girls.  She put together a private Facebook group, and we both invited our friends to the 7-day live event. Each day she shares about the jewelry and invites people to purchase jewelry. 

50% of the proceeds goes towards our charity, and participants enjoy having or giving new jewelry to themselves or friends.

Similarly, a friend, who is part of a camera club in British Columbia, invited me to speak to the club via Zoom and then went back to the club to ask these photographers to donate cameras to our charity. We appreciate this because not only does it help with our fundraising, but the cameras we cannot use for our training, we give to Brian of Brians Camera Shop in Newmarket to sell for us. In return, he can find and purchase used Canon G1 cameras to use in our training.  

To date, we have received old point and shoots, film cameras, projectors, small and large DSLRs and lots of lenses. Brian is a wiz at selling most if not all of these donations and turning them around to us.  

Parklane Fundraiser c/o Parklane Jewelry

Parklane Fundraiser c/o Parklane Jewelry

#3 – Employer or Company Gift Matching

A great way to fundraise for a charity is to match funds from a business or large company. For instance, if you own or work for a company seeking a way to give back, you can offer the charity to match the funds they can raise. Matching funds helps smaller organizations, such as Cameras For Girls, who do not have a huge donor base to increase fundraising efforts.

Matching funds are also a benefit to a company because the amount you donate or match is deducted from your business profits pre-tax, reducing the tax amount your company pays.

United Way does this by working with numerous companies across Canada, who donate time or money through their employees’ efforts. The company then matches what United Way can raise in funds.

#4 – Monthly Giving

There are benefits to monthly giving both for the donor and the charity they are giving to. Donors give because they love what the charity does and believe in its mission. They also give because they feel empowered from seeing the impact of their donations.  

In our case, one of our donors wrote:

“I never thought that my monthly donation of $50 would go far. But when I read how Cameras For Girls is using the funds to purchase cameras and even support a girl during COVID who had no resources available to her, it makes me happy to know that my money is going to a great cause.” 

For charities, it’s a great source of recurring revenue. On our Canada Helps portal, we have stated various ways for donors to contribute, whether a single donation or a monthly donation. We have also segmented the funds into different pockets so that the donor can choose how we use those funds. It’s our way to be completely transparent.

Canada Helps Fundraiser

We update our donors either through our monthly newsletters, blog, or annual reports about how we spend the funds we have raised.

#5 – Your Life Insurance Policy

Many people invest in Life Insurance but may not have a beneficiary, or in some cases, that beneficiary changes, either through death or divorce.  

Life insurance can be a great way to help your favourite charity achieve its long-term goals.

When you take out a new policy and name the charity as your beneficiary, you can now receive a charitable tax receipt for the cash value and for any premiums you pay, which can reduce your personal taxes.

If you have an existing policy and don’t have a beneficiary or your family does not require the proceeds for financial stability, then naming the charity as the beneficiary provides two benefits. First, your estate will receive tax benefits at the time of your death, which can be hefty. Second, the charity will receive the policy proceeds. To give you added comfort, in your Last Will and Testament, you can direct how the charity should use the proceeds of your insurance policy, giving you the added assurance of the expenditure of those funds.

#6 – Securities

Like Life Insurance, if you have any securities, including mutual funds, stock certificates, segregated funds, or even Bitcoin, you can consider naming the charity your beneficiary.  

Our recommendation is to work with a licensed financial advisor, who you trust and who you trust to do this properly on your behalf. This ensures that you and the charity don’t lose out on the interest, principal, or tax benefits.

The list of securities is long, so check the rules around donating before going down this road.

Giving @Google Images

Giving @Google Images

#7 – Legacy Gifts

Legacy Gifts are gifts that people leave to charities and funds designated in a person’s Last Will and Testament. Similar to leaving a life insurance policy or security, there are tax benefits to the donor.

Moreover, Legacy Gifts enable people to leave a powerful philanthropic legacy because it directly impacts the causes important to them.

It’s essential to work with a lawyer who understands the intricacies of the donor’s wishes to create a Legacy Gift. In some cases, the donor can set it up as an annuity to also benefit from leaving the gift. Upon the donor’s passing, the interest can go to their family, while the principal can go to the charity.

Look at all of your legal requirements if you consider this and have children or other beneficiaries. By having that discussion before your death, you avoid hard feelings for all parties concerned.

Recently, I heard of a case where a wealthy woman was interested in leaving a philanthropic legacy and thought that her children, who were well established, would not give it a second thought. Upon her passing, her children learned that she had left 90% of her wealth to a specific charity in the US. Unfortunately for both her heirs and the charity, the case is held up in court because her children are contesting the will.

#8 – Donate Your Tax Refund

For many people, a tax refund is a windfall. People use it to either reinvest into their RRSP or TFSA but in many cases, people use it to pay down debt or pay back the loan they took out to pay into their registered savings account.

However, in some cases, people use it to splurge or go on a vacation.

There’s another way – you can use this money to support a charity. Donating your tax refund has the added benefit of providing you with a tax benefit for the following year. Especially if you know, you will have to pay taxes or incur capital gains from a sale.

Tax return graphic

#9 – Celebrate Your Birthday By Supporting Your Favorite Charity

Everyone loves when their birthday comes around – or at least you do when you are young, and you have more than half your life ahead of you. However, when you are older (like me), and it’s not such a great thing to look forward to as it just reminds you of how short life is, you can use it for good.

Nowadays, many people do a Facebook fundraiser by supporting a charity or asking their friends to support a charity instead of gifts.

If this is your preferred way, you can find our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/camerasforgirls.  

#10 – Donate Those Points

Almost every credit card, store or airline has the opportunity to earn points. I can’t count the number of cards I have in my wallet with that potential. However, it’s another matter when trying to redeem those points. Am I right? Frustrating right?

Unfortunately, it costs me to use those points in many cases, so I just let them lag, or I do what I am suggesting, I pick a charity to donate them to. 

Airmiles is one of my favourite cards to pull out and swipe for points. That little blue card comes with a lot of potentials. The year before last, I amassed thousands of points that I did not care to spend on merchandise I did not need. Instead, I searched the database of Canadian charities and donated all my points. I was able to donate the equivalent of $500 to Children’s Hospital in Toronto, and they were able to use those points to purchase much-needed supplies. 

courtesy of Canva

There are numerous ways to support a charity, whether monetarily or via the other ways I mentioned in this blog post. As a burgeoning charity, Cameras For Girls is always happy to receive the support of our donors. If you have a way you would like to support us, we would love to hear from you. You can email us at [email protected]

There are numerous ways to support a charity, whether monetarily or via the other ways I mentioned in this blog post. As a burgeoning charity, Cameras For Girls is always happy to receive the support of our donors. If you have a way you would like to support us, we would love to hear from you. You can email us at [email protected]

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