Eliminating hunger and poverty. Curing diseases. Building a just society. These are just some of the big, audacious goals that charities are trying to tackle within Canada and around the world.

But much like gazing up from the base of a mountain and imagining the climb to its peak, achieving these goals can seem like impossible tasks. And indeed, they can be if we focus only on our own capabilities or push ahead without a strategy.

However, when we work together with a clear, well-informed plan, we can not only scale mountains, we can push them aside and achieve a positive impact that shapes the world for the better.

Driving change with intentional giving

As an individual, you may wonder how giving $100 or $200 to a charity can possibly make a difference. But imagine what we can achieve across Canada by working together as a team.

According to Statistics Canada, approximately 19 million people had a job in Canada in September 2019. If we all donated a few hundred dollars per year on average – perhaps 1% of our annual income – that’s billions of dollars to put toward solving important social challenges and achieving real impact.

What’s needed to make this happen? Intentionality.

Canadians are happy to donate here and there when someone comes knocking on behalf of a charity, but often not much thought or planning goes into our giving. As a result, our dollars can end up having less impact than we’d hope, or we end up giving less than we can.

Fortunately, we can overcome this by adopting a more intentional approach to giving and working together as Canadians to more effectively drive change.

Overcoming barriers to giving

Of course, the reality is that Canadians already contribute generously to charitable causes. However, together we have the potential to do even more to build up our social infrastructure and achieve those big, audacious goals. Two things that can help us boost our collective impact are clarity and confidence.

  • In the Thirty Years of Giving in Canada report, 69% of donors said they did not give more because they could not afford to do so. While it is undoubtedly true that many Canadians already give as much as they can, there are also many for whom uncertainty about their finances is the true barrier.

If you feel uncertain about your ability to give more, a trusted advisor can help you gain a clearer picture by assessing your current financial situation and helping you map out a financial roadmap. With more clarity on what you can afford to give, you’ll be in a better position to achieve significant impact.

  • The Thirty Years of Giving in Canada report found that 29% of donors cite concerns about inefficient or ineffective use of money as a barrier preventing them from giving more. A degree of scepticism is certainly warranted: some charitable organizations are less professional than others, and sadly charity scams can sometimes cast a shadow over the entire sector.

 Rather than limiting your giving due to pessimism, however, you can also seek out options for giving with greater confidence. For example, accreditation initiatives such as Imagine Canada’s Standards Program can highlight organizations that are committed to high standards of governance and accountability. When you are more confident that your money will be put to good use, you’re more likely to give more.

Joining forces to shape the world

Achieving transformative social change requires us to dream big and join forces. None of us can eliminate hunger and poverty, cure diseases, and build a just society on our own. But working together with a clear, intentional plan, we can move mountains and create a better Canada for the benefit of everyone.

Elke Rubach is President of Rubach Wealth, a Toronto-based firm that helps established professionals and business owners support the people and causes they care about through comprehensive wealth and retirement planning. Contact Elke at 647.349.7070 or by email at elke@rubachwealth.com.

Bruce MacDonald is President & CEO of Imagine Canada, a national non-profit organization that creates programs and resources to strengthen charities, promote corporate giving, and support the charitable sector. Contact Bruce at bmacdonald@imaginecanada.ca