Have a desire to support a cause, but don’t know where to start? Nowadays, many young Canadians are less active in the giving sector. However, donating is not the only way to get involved in giving back to communities. 180 Degrees Consulting Waterloo spoke with CanadaHelps’ Senior Vice President of Charity Engagement, Jacob O’Connor, to discuss the charity’s initiatives, mission, and exactly how anyone can become more engaged in charitable giving. Here are some of the highlights:
What is CanadaHelps?
CanadaHelps is a Canadian social enterprise and registered charity that has two main lines of operations. The first is its website platform that facilitates the donation process, listing and categorizing every charity that is registered with the CRA. On this online portal, individuals can easily find, learn more about, and donate to charities.
CanadaHelps also supports Canadian charities registered with its organization in optimizing their fundraising. Once a charity registers on the CanadaHelps platform, they are provided with a range of fundraising tools, educational resources, and expert advisors to help accelerate their operations. Not only do these resources benefit donors and charities, but also the communities that rely on charity service offerings. CanadaHelps’ mission is to “inform, inspire, and connect donors and charities, to democratize access to effective technology and education in the charitable sector.”
What are some challenges CanadaHelps is currently facing?
As mentioned in CanadaHelps’ latest annual Giving Report, according to the CRA there has been an overall decrease in people claiming donations on their taxes in the last 16 years. Of the people still donating to charities, most belong to the 55+ age group which has created a “giving gap” in Canada. This older generation alone gives at twice the rate when compared to younger Canadians. CanadaHelps projects there has been a 12% decline in total giving from 2019–2021 due to pandemic impacts and inflationary concerns. The decline in giving combined with the effect of inflation has affected the entire charitable sector and consequently the charities CanadaHelps serves. As giving declines, the demand for charitable services is higher than ever before.
Despite this, CanadaHelps has been taking action to ensure that they are supporting both donors and charities. This includes raising awareness, engaging with young Canadians, and supporting charities in amplifying their digital skills to allow them to thrive in an online environment. For example, CanadaHelps has found great success with the younger donors in its social-justice cause funds launched on UniteforChange.com.
Why is it important and what can you do to help?
A lot of people think that they have to donate money to get involved but this is not the case. CanadaHelps recommends that people start with what they are passionate about and begin engaging with charities in the area of their interest, or learn more about the charitable sector as a whole. Did you know 10% of Canada’s workforce is employed in the Canadian charitable sector?
There are various opportunities available for people who are interested in getting involved in the charitable sector like sharing charity stories, volunteering, donating goods, or setting up a personal budget to allow for contributions to a cause you are passionate about. You can find more information about the organization and how you can get involved here.
Thank you again to Jacob O’Connor and Christine Alfred for connecting with us for our campaign!