Four tips on achieving big impact with your charitable donations


When you scroll through your news feed or spend some time online, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed at the ever-expanding list of issues that exist in the world today. You want to make a difference, but how do you choose where to give your time and attention? Are there certain things you should be looking for when it comes to picking a charity to support? Who will use your hard-earned money the most effectively and responsibly?

The good news is a little research goes a long way when it comes to making informed giving decisions. Here are four tips to help you choose a charity for big social impact.


​1. Focus on your values

Often, looking to your passions is one of the easiest ways to pick a charity. Do you already have an idea about the kind of change you would like to see? How about where? Are you most interested in improving things in your own community, where programs and services may be directly offered to local people, or do your dreams extend beyond borders? Thinking about what you value will help you narrow down your list of options, and ask deeper, more meaningful questions along the way.


2.  Make sure the cause or charity is authentic

If you have certain recipients in mind, make sure they’re tugging at your heartstrings for the right reasons. Always be diligent, especially when it comes to backing online crowdfunding efforts, and do your research before committing your money. Additionally, if you’re looking to take advantage of the significant tax credits that exist for charitable donations, registered charities will provide a tax receipt.


3. Discover your charity’s positive impact

What tangible difference is made by the charities you’re considering? Check out their annual reports—most of them are proud to showcase their efforts and progress. To get a well-rounded view of performance, you can also look to third-party charity rating tools like Charity Intelligence Canada (which rates charities in categories like donor accountability and financial transparency), or MoneySense (which evaluates charities across the country). If you’re really hungry for more information, you can also search your favourite charities and their financials on Canada Revenue Agency. You can also review Maclean’s list of top 100 charities in Canada.


4. Talk to friends and family

Get curious—ask your friends and family where they give and why. It’s a great way to learn about other charities and gain new perspective on giving. If you have friends who are undecided or have never made a charitable contribution, it’s a perfect opportunity to open up the conversation and share your favourite charities with them.

Do you believe that all people in Calgary and the surrounding area should have the chance to reach their full potential? We do. That’s why United Way works to create social change by digging deep into the underlying causes that hold people back from realizing a bright future. With the generous contributions from our donors and a strong sense of accountability, we help improve the lives of more than 150,000 local people every year. Together, we are building a connected system of community supports so everyone has access to the help they need, when and where they need it most.

Your investment has the power to change a life.