Four considerations when giving to international aid charities
In today’s globalized word, we are more aware than ever of the events and challenges that communities in other countries face. From natural disasters, poverty, health care, education and more, donors across Canada are seeking ways to support the charities that are addressing the need for international aid in countries both near and far.
For donors wishing to make a positive impact through their philanthropy, and for advisors assisting their clients in the process, it can be difficult to know where to begin the conversation. To assist these discussions and help donors make an informed decision, we’ve compiled four considerations donors should discuss with their families and their advisors to create a giving plan that can make a difference and meet their philanthropic goals.
Finding the right international aid organization
If a donor has a general area of interest to which they wish to give but don’t yet have a specific charitable organization in mind, getting to know the options is a great place to start. And, donors may not need to look very far. There are many organizations in Canada that provide international relief and aid to countries all over the world. In fact, all registered charities in Canada are listed on the CRA website in a searchable database. This is a great first step to narrowing in on which charities align with a donor’s interests.
Align mission and values
Once the search for the right organization narrows to a few or a single choice, it’s a good idea to learn more about an organization’s mission and values. Donors can begin by visiting their websites, call them for information, request their printed materials or ask for a tour if possible.
During this information-gathering process it’s important to review the organization’s mission and values. Do they align with the donor’s? Is their mission specific to the cause the donor wishes to support? Or, does the organization support a range of areas? Is the aid provided with a focus on a specific event, such as natural disaster relief, or is the organization’s work ongoing? These types of questions can help the donor and their financial advisor determine which charity they wish to support and begin to develop a giving strategy.
Evaluating the strength of an organization
Another important consideration when reviewing an organization is the strength of its financial structure, their administration, and their governing board. Understanding who is behind the decisions that get made can help a donor feel confident that their gift is being appropriately utilized. Donors might also compare the effectiveness of one organization to similar organizations, considering their record of success and potential for future achievements.
Most organizations will make this information readily available, however, it’s not always the biggest with the glossiest presentations that are making the greatest impact. There may be smaller organizations that, while not in the same spotlight, have a focused mandate backed by dedicated individuals. The important thing is to do your homework.
Consider a donor advised fund in your giving plan
Having a clear picture of ‘where’ a donor wishes to make their contributions helps to inform ‘how’ that contribution (or contributions) is made. One option is to establish a Donor Advised Fund (DAF), which can provide several advantages to the donor and the receiving charitable organization.
When a donor works with a reputable charitable organization like Gift Funds Canada, they can set up a Donor Advised Fund and make grants from that fund to any registered charity in Canada they choose. They can contribute to international charitable efforts now and for years to come.
A donor advised fund enables donors to create a low cost, flexible instrument for charitable giving as an alternative to giving directly to a foundation. Donors enjoy administrative convenience, cost savings and tax advantages by conducting their grant making through the fund, and advisors benefit from professional support and expertise every step of the way.