We have the best donors ever. No really, it’s true! According to Statistics Canada, Albertans donate more annually than any other province. Albertans also give more frequently and in larger amounts. See? We weren’t just saying it. You really are the best!
Now, what if we told you that you could make your donation go even further? Not by giving more, but by giving smarter.
Most donors don’t realize that with a few small changes they can make a bigger impact with the same amount of money. And that these changes are so simple, anyone can make them. Here’s how:
1. Donation matching. The easiest way to make your donation go further is to give more money. Instead of giving more of your own, why not find a resource that will top up the amount you give? This concept is called donation matching and is more popular than many donors realize. At RMHC Southern & Central Alberta, we are fortunate enough to be the benefactors of many initiatives like this, including the ones below:
i) From July 10 -14, if you make a donation to Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta at any Scotiabank Branch in Red Deer or Sylvan Lake, Scotiabank will match up to total of $5000!
ii) At this year’s Charity Golf Classic in Canmore, we are partnering with Birdies for Kids presented by AltaLink. This amazing initiative that has raised over $8.5 million for charities across Alberta since 2013. For every Golf Bundle purchased, they will match up to 50 per cent. This means that participants will donate $75 by spending just $50 of their own.
iii) We love young fundraisers and so do our friends at Shaw! From January through August 2017, Shaw is matching every dollar raised by youth ages four to 17, up to $20,000. This means that when you raise $50, Ronald McDonald House will get $100! Learn more about the Shaw Giving Team.
2. Donate during slow seasons. Have you heard of a phenomenon referred to as the summer drought? It’s a term experts use to explain the dry spell in donations that usually occurs during the summer months. For example, at our Houses, there are far less Home for Dinners during the summer than the rest of the year. Whether this is because financial priorities shift from giving to family trips and evenings out or because of the abundance of giving during months prior, the result is the same: funds are tight during the summer and it results in donations slowing down dramatically. Dispersing your donations throughout the year can have a huge impact on charities that find themselves struggling during the summer.
Some simple ways to do this include giving monthly or pairing fundraising initiatives with traditional summer activities like lemonade stands.
3. Donate what’s needed most. In addition to monetary donations, many charities receive donated goods. Here at the House, we receive everything from hand-knitted slippers to the baking powder for homemade snacks. Unfortunately, sometimes when items are donated, a charity doesn’t have a need for them. This results in some well-intended donations not having the expected result because they can’t actually be used. If you want your donation to be as helpful as possible, do your research to find out what a charity needs. At RMHC Southern & Central Alberta, we have an online Wish List that highlights the items we need at any given time. Donors can review the list and purchase items with confidence, knowing what will be most useful to our families.
4. Make a donation portfolio. Taking your donations as seriously as you do your investments is important if you want to get the most out of your money. By creating a portfolio, you can diversify the recipients of your donations, helping a greater variety of causes. A portfolio helps you to carefully track the amount you donate, which means you give in quantities you are more comfortable with so that you can feel better about donating and give more regularly. It also helps maximize tax benefits to ensure you are benefiting from your generosity, too!
We could not operate without the support and generosity of people like you. Regardless of how you give, your donation makes a world of difference to the hundreds of families with sick children that come through our doors each year. Next time you donate, keep these tips in mind and see how far your money can go.