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Helping Women Shine In The Charity Sector

women shining in the charity sector

While the charitable giving space is often seen as a community open only to the ultra-wealthy or dominated by men, the philanthropic community is constantly evolving.

It is an invitation to women and minorities to embark on charity on their own terms—and of their own accord.

Women Blazing A Trail In Charity

In this modern era, women continue to pave the way as leaders in the philanthropic space. 

Spearheading initiatives within their families and communities, they exemplify devotion and compassion while making their mark as trailblazers within the community.

Guess Who Controls The Pursestrings!?

Yet too often, the ability of women to contribute and make an enduring impression in philanthropic campaigns is both overlooked and underutilized. North American women control 51% of personal wealth. Combining this statistic with the fact that women outlive men by an average of six years, charitable decision making frequently falls on the women of the house. The movement to incite and empower women’s philanthropic involvement is not positioned to exclude men or other groups, but rather to increasingly include women.

Giving, From A Woman’s Perspective

If you’re just starting out on your giving journey, you’ve landed at a great spot! In this guide, Bloom Investment Counsel, Inc. takes you through charitable giving from a woman’s perspective. We’ll take a look at the intricate divergences in the giving patterns and approaches between men and women.

Being A Catalyst For Meaningful Change

We’ll also consider this from an intergenerational perspective. Not only that, but we’ll take you through the ways in which Bloom is here to help you on your path to giving.

Are you ready to help make the world a better place? Grab a coffee, and read more to be well on your way to being a catalyst for meaningful change.

What Is Charitable Giving?

Charitable giving is defined as an act of giving money, time, or other sources of capital to individuals and causes in need.

For an in-depth refresher of the intricate differences between charity, philanthropy, and volunteerism, check out our recent guide, Altruistic Actions: Your Guide to All Things Philanthropy.

Charity Behaviour In Women: Recent Statistics

∙ Women are More Intrinsically Motivated to Give, Studies Suggest

According to recent research, women remain more likely to donate more to charity compared to men. The results of the study show that single women gave nearly nine per cent more than single men and also spent twice as much time on due diligence before making a donation.

∙ Women Control A Larger Piece Of The Financial Pie

In this modern age, women are taking the bull by the horns when it comes to personal finance decisions. Upward of 51% of the personal wealth in North America is controlled by women! With this increasing responsibility combined with the above statistic, charitable giving by women continues to grow across the continent.

∙ Women Approach Charity Work From an Emotional Perspective

Studies find that women desire to establish a relationship with the charities and foundations they give to. The idea of donating time, money or other means of capital is more meaningful for women than a mere business transaction. Not only that, but two-thirds of women state that giving to charitable endeavours is motivated by feelings of empathy. This is in contrast with 60% of men who state they give from a strategic standpoint that takes into account the taxable benefits of giving.

∙ Giving Gets Better with Age

When examining the intergenerational differences in women and giving, it’s evident that women of the Baby Boomer generation are considerably more content with their giving than Millennial women. Boomer women, carrying more life experience, have stated they experience more satisfaction from charitable giving versus their younger counterparts. Despite this variation, studies suggest that women of all ages support similar causes with only trivial differences, suggesting a unified focus on certain issues across the board. 

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How To Know If A Charity Is Legitimate

Charity scams negatively impact nearly everyone involved—the donor who experiences fraud, legitimate charities which do not obtain the funds as intended, and the individuals or entities in need, supported by the charity. These individuals and entities lose out on the services and care they’re in dire need of.  Thus, no matter the cause or foundation you select to give to, it’s vital to conduct in-depth research on the charity at hand prior to committing to donate.

We chatted with Toronto-based Strategic Growth Partner Joanna Bacchus, who specializes in corporate giving strategy. She offered up some of her top tips for ensuring charity legitimacy.

“The best way to know if a charity is legitimate is to volunteer at the charity—it’s so valuable to be on the front lines and get in the mix to see firsthand what they’re all about. Someone can create a great website, but it’s how they are giving back to the community that matters. You want to see what they are doing with your own eyes, to ensure your dollars are not wasted.”

She also offered up a few valuable resources for Canadians looking to complete their due diligence when it comes to charity research.

“Toronto-based charity lawyer Mark Blumberg runs two of the best sites out there when it comes to all things charitable giving. Whether you’re just starting out on your philanthropic journey or you’re a seasoned veteran, Charity Data and Smart Giving are highly valuable resources. Charity Data gives you the chance to discover charities through filtering by cause, keyword, name, program, category, city, and province—allowing you to efficiently narrow down your search. Smart Giving, on the other hand, provides users with a blog-style format that discusses everything from the best ways to donate to charity, to how to avoid charity scams.”

∙ Check Out The Charity’s Website

This is generally a great starting point for determining whether a foundation or charity does what they say they do. A legitimate non-profit organization will typically display their dedicated goals, past endeavours, financial statements, governance structure, fundraising efforts and gifting policies. There should also be able to view their contact information should you wish to speak to them further (remember, that’s always an option!). A valid organization should be easily accessible, so don’t hesitate to phone up or email a representative to further inquire about any of the above aspects.

∙ Are They Receiving Good Press Coverage?

Checking the media coverage for an organization at hand can also be a good determiner for ensuring legitimacy. Newspapers, for example, will occasionally report on charities—whether the perspective is positive or negative. You can also conduct a Google search for recent articles that mention the organization. Look for articles from reputable publications, such as national news networks and other trusted sources. This will allow you to verify the charity’s reputation.

∙ When In Doubt, Check The CRA’s Dedicated Database

Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Charities Directorate database contains each and every registered charity in Canada.  You can use the official CRA charities listing to know whether an organization is a registered charity. Keep in mind that this database is limited to housing the last five years’ worth of information on registered charities. So it’s still important to use the above tip and search for past press if in doubt.

What Questions Should You Ask Before Donating?

∙ Can Your Charity Clearly State Who They Are And What They Do?

If a nonprofit has difficulty conveying its mission and efforts, it will likely have a hard time delivering on those endeavours. Foundations that clearly articulate who they are and what they’re trying to achieve are more likely to possess a focused and purposeful commitment to fostering change.

∙ Can The Charity Communicate Their Short- And Long-Term Objectives? 

Charities that do not possess clear, actionable, and specific goals are less likely to be successful. That’s because without proper planning and quantitative goals, there is less accountability. There would also be fewer opportunities to keep tabs on accomplishments and success rates.

∙ What’s The Progress The Charity Has Made Toward Its Goal? 

This point is also rooted in accountability. While it’s righteous to want to help a cause, it’s important to ensure there is action beyond intention. Inquire with the charity what it has done to make strides in the issue at hand. Do they have proven results? Are they walking the walk?

How to Get Started

Women may be less self-assured when making financial decisions centred around giving compared to men. But as we’ve seen, donating time and capital is a fundamental component of the lives of countless women. Not only that, because women are increasingly in control of the households’ financial choices, these decisions are imperative to ensuring continued philanthropic support for many foundations.

Researching the Process of Giving

How can we address this issue of confidence? The first step for many is education

Once you increase your knowledge around the process of giving, you gain a sense of assurance that you’re making the right decisions for you and your family. This in turn will lead to an increased sense of empowerment. A common lack of understanding for many comes from the numerous tax stipulations that often come along with making a philanthropic donation. While it may seem overwhelming at first, once you grasp the basics, it won’t feel so insurmountable. 

Speak To A Specialist

Another way to combat feelings of uncertainty around the charitable giving space is to speak to someone who specializes in this area. Bloom Investment Counsel is pleased to work with its clients’ advisors and assist clients to ensure that they have sufficient cash flow from their investments to use for their charitable endeavors.

Getting Back To Giving

With a proven track record and nearly four decades of dedicated experience, Bloom can help women interested or involved in philanthropy grow their wealth, allowing them to get back to what matters—cultivating connections and engaging with the causes closest to their hearts.

More On Giving

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic in a simple-to-understand manner, be sure to read The Ultimate Guide To Maximize Your Giving aimed at increasing understanding around taxes when giving to charity in Canada.

This content is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, tax, legal or accounting advice nor does it constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any securities referred to. Individual circumstances and current events are critical to sound investment planning; anyone wishing to act on this content should consult with his or her financial partner or advisor.

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