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Canada's Small Charities Need Your Help This Summer

05/30/2017 02:08 EDT | Updated 05/30/2017 02:08 EDT
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Hands with hearts. Vector illustration.

I love small charities because I have seen firsthand the difference they make for our families and communities, providing vital hands-on services and support for a wide range of causes and issues, from summer camps to soup kitchens. But while Canada's small charities make up 80 per cent of the country's charitable sector, statistics show that they receive less than a quarter of all annual donations. Even still, more than a third of annual donations through CanadaHelps are received during the December holiday season alone - meaning donations tend to dry up as the weather warms.

This cyclical nature of donations creates a funding shortage for small charities in the summer. Donors may be vacationing with their families, or perhaps they choose to focus their giving during the holiday season, but it's a real struggle for small charities as their work continues year round. And just like small businesses are considered the backbone of the Canadian economy, small charities are the backbone of the charitable sector. They provide many of the on the ground programs and services communities rely on, addressing unmet needs and working to solve social problems.

Even though their small teams are stretched for time and resources, small charities can't accept summer as a down season and neither should you. A program like The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is an awesome incentive to give to your favourite charities during this summer 'off' season and year round. When you take part in The Challenge, you'll give the charity you donate to the chance to win an additional $10,000 prize.

Participating is easy: every donation made to a charity in June through CanadaHelps.org or givingchallenge.ca, automatically enters the charity to win the $10,000 prize. For every $1 a charity receives it automatically grants them one entry for the contest, increasing the charity's chance of winning the randomly drawn grand prize on Canada Day.

Last year, hundreds of charities used The Great Canadian Giving Challenge as an opportunity to reach out to their supporters and encourage giving during the month of June. At the end of the 30-day period, more than 50,000 Canadians donated over $8 million, a 28 per cent increase over last year, to more than 8,500 charities.

Now in its third year, one of the greatest things about the annual challenge is that it provides charities with a platform to reach out to donors who, in most cases, are eager to hear from them and looking for a reason to give more. Small charities with small teams and limited budgets benefit from the umbrella campaign with the pre-built donor messaging, visuals and contest, helping ensure they accomplish their fundraising goals with very little overhead or prep work.

With giving back a key theme of Canada 150, it's the perfect time to consider how you will celebrate with family and friends and contribute to a strong Canada of the future. Supporting a cause or initiative close to you through The Great Canadian Giving Challenge is an excellent way to promote your vision for Canada while also ensuring the small charities making this possible receive the funds needed to provide their vital programs and services throughout the year.

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