As millions of children count down the days until Santa's arrival, thousands of charities across the country eagerly await contributions that will allow them to continue making a difference in the world.
Whether inspired by the joyousness of the season or any number of classic holiday movies, over the past decade Canadians have always given a little more during the holiday season -- in fact, at CanadaHelps we collect more than a third (34.4 per cent) of our annual donations in December.
Yes, the holidays are truly a time of giving in Canada. And this year thousands of businesses, communities and individuals from coast to coast will join together on GivingTuesday (December 1st) for the official opening of the holiday giving season.
If you're unfamiliar with the big day, GivingTuesday first started in Canada three years ago to encourage people to give back in any way they can. Providing a jumpstart to the holiday giving season, the day has proven wildly successful to date, boosting charitable donations by 75 per cent last year, on top of the 169 per cent increase on the first GivingTuesday in 2013.
Charities are hopeful this trend towards greater giving will continue this year, and we're certainly on the right track. So far in 2015, CanadaHelps has seen a 17 per cent increase in donations and we're eager to see if this generosity extends into December.
If you're looking to become more involved this holiday season, here are three ideas to help you give back:
Find a charity you're passionate about
Give the gift of water to Cambodian children. Help Syrian refugees. Improve wheelchair accessibility at a local school. There aren't many areas of life where there are no incorrect answers or wrong turns, but this is certainly one of them. If you don't already donate to a charity, or if you're interested in adding to your giving portfolio, you can browse through hundreds of charitable causes and campaigns in all kinds of different categories (Animals, the Environment, Education, etc.) on the CanadaHelps website.
Make it monthly
In addition to the holiday spirit, most Canadians make donations in December because of the year-end charitable tax receipt deadline. However, rather than scrambling to pick a charity when you're strapped for cash during the holidays, think about setting up a monthly donation to a charity you believe in. While you don't actually have to increase the amount of money you're contributing, making monthly donations help provide small and medium-sized charities with a steady and predictable source of funding that allow them to remain focused on their mission without worrying about how they're going to pay the bills.
Let others know you're helping
If you think giving back matters, voice your opinion to friends and family. Just as letting people know you're voting helps encourage others to cast their ballots on election day, getting conspicuous in your giving inspires others to give as much as they can. If there's a cause you care about or a charity that has helped you, your family or your community, spread the word this December using the #GivingTuesdayCA hashtag.
Remember, whether the charity you support is big or small, when you give your best and spur others in your community to do the same, you can truly make a world of difference.
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