The results of a recent study conducted by MoneySense on charity spending are shocking, to say the least. The difference in the ways that charities are being run is frightening. I counted 13 very well-known charities that spend less than 50 per cent of the money they raise on programs. Two were less than 40 per cent!
Give 30 is an initiative established in 2012, tapping into Ramadan's lessons on social solidarity, to mobilize everyone -- regardless of faith or background -- to address the challenges of hunger in our society. Hunger in Canada is not an issue of food scarcity. Rather, it is directly related to income sufficiency and security.
Imagine the G20 Leaders (Zuma, Obama, Harper, Pena Nieto, Rousseff, Fernandez de Kirchner, Jinping, Keqiang, Yudhoyono, Abe, Geun-hye, Singh, Putin, Erdogan, Merkel, Hollande, Cameron, Letta, Abdullah and Gillard). Open your eyes. Now imagine 20 girls. What you see are the G(irls)20 Summit delegates.
One of my earliest memories as a child was going to Prince's Island Park in Calgary every June to walk The World Partnership Walk. Back then, I looked forward to it because we made it a family affair. I would head down to the park with my family and it seemed that in exchange for walking a mere 8 kilometers or so, I would receive a delicious chili lunch, have a chance to part in some fun activities, get my face painted and even come away with a few prizes (it was all well worth the stickers).
We've all heard the saying "It's like herding cats." As challenging as that might be, it's not much more difficult than building consensus with a global committee: everyone has a different view, and often a territorial approach to meetings. In fact, while herding cats is tough, creating a brand change in corporations may be even tougher.
Raising awareness is often a good first step, and functions well as a means to an end -- but it cannot be viewed as an end in itself. Activism simply does not end with the sharing of a Facebook post or a retweet; it's great to tell your friends that something is important enough to share with them, but it's virtually meaningless if it doesn't lead to further action.
The memories of my mother are not of a cancer victim, they are not of a shaved head, or intravenous tubes, or a frail body. They are her wonderful spirit, her brave beautiful smile, and a loving acceptance of life that was contagious with everyone she touched. My mother didn't just talk the talk, she walked the walk.
Each week, I give my two children a small allowance. Since I'm trying to teach them about managing money responsibly, their coins are automatically divided among three different jam jars: Spending, saving, charity. This week, Canada's federal government announced the amalgamation of CIDA and DFAIT. What will happen when the two jars become one?
Charities are a big business and this business is becoming more competitive and costly each year. There are over 85,000 organizations on the Canada Revenue Agency's Charities Directorate. They employ a lot of people to chase more than $8.3 billion dollars in donations as reported by Statistics Canada. When you make a donation with your hard earned money, you want it to go to the cause. It is understood that some of the donation will be used for administrative costs and fundraising but one hopes that a large percentage will reach the people you intend to help. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
The Somali Canadian population is "undergoing the growing pains of integration into the larger Canadian mainstream" according to the head of the influential Somali Canadian Congress. Ahmed Hussen, a noted activist and newly minted Ottawa University lawyer, reflects on mentorship, influence and integration for Canada's large Somali population.
Recognizing the power of personal connections, Change Heroes has designed their platform around the concept of "friend-funding." The goal of each change hero is to bring together 33 of their friends, family, and co-workers together to donate $3.33 a day for three months which equates to $10,000 which will fund the building of a school or two libraries.
Last March I had the privilege of co-founding Skate To Great out of a conversation I had with a friend about how every kid should have the opportunity to skate in Canada. I've learnt a lot along the way. The idea, bring industry bodies in hockey and skating together with children's charities and corporate partners so regardless of economic or physical circumstances, any kid who wants the opportunity to skate, gets it.
While "Giving Tuesday" hasn't fully migrated north to Canada, the idea behind it is appealing. With all the ads and other reminders to shop and give at this time of year, I think it's worth stepping back for a moment to consider how and why we give and also the far-reaching results certain gifts can generate.
Now, I give a lot of money and a lot of time to charitable causes. Yet many times I find myself dressed up and wondering "Just who/what am I raising money for tonight?" But if you give without thought, without conviction, without understanding what you can REALLY do to help, what are you really giving?