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Disaster Abroad: How Can You Help?

A hurricane hits Haiti, famine rages in Ethiopia and a drought hits Brazil. And that’s not counting COVID-19, which is wreaking havoc in countries where vaccination is constantly progressing. Thousands of miles away, you want to help communities in need. These are the steps to follow.

Cash donations on everything

At first glance, give preference to cash donations. In this way, humanitarian organizations in countries in difficulty will be able to quickly acquire what they need and promote local purchases.

“Buying local products takes much less time than managing the logistics of air travel from a distant country,” says Global Affairs Canada.

Sending supplies – be it clothing, food or survival gear – complicates the task of humanitarian workers, who must sort through them to see if they meet the needs of those affected. If it is unusable, expired or rejected due to import regulations, it is wasteful and requires some logistical management to dispose of all these goods.

Keep in mind that a cash donation will also allow you to earn tax credits on your next tax return, both at the provincial and federal levels.

A quick donation or a philanthropic strategy?

If you’re ready to unleash the purse strings to help a disaster-stricken community, first review your budget to determine how much you can donate. By doing this exercise, you can decide whether you want to make an emergency donation to support a humanitarian organization called upon to intervene in a crisis situation or to develop a philanthropic strategy.

“When there is a disaster, there is quick charity. Clients are often challenged and want to help quickly. On the other hand, there is philanthropy, which is more of a long-term strategy and derived from our values, ”explains Catherine Laurin, Vice President and Portfolio Manager at BMO Wealth Management.

Various ways of giving

You can make a one-time donation or even make monthly or yearly payments. If this is the avenue you are considering, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) advises you to make a check payable to a charity, not an individual, or to make a check payable to a charity, not an individual. safe environment. Never give your credit card number over the phone.

It is also possible to assign an insurance policy, leave a bequest in your will, and even provide a quoted guarantee. “When you have a taxable portfolio, the gain on a security is taxable. To encourage donations, the government allows people not to pay taxes [s’ils le remettent directement] to a charity, ”says Ms. Laurin.

If you have significant resources, you can also create a vocational fund. It is made up of capital and the proceeds are donated to charities.

In any case, consult with your financial institution, who can advise you, or even a financial planner, a notary or a lawyer.

Choose the community organization

Once you have decided how you will pay for your cash donation, you must choose the humanitarian organization that will benefit from it. “There are obvious needs, but caution is necessary,” cautions Catherine Laurin.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Center cautions you against organizations that request it by email, text message, or phone. Be careful if you are promised a tax receipt for more than your donation or if you are asked to donate on the spot. Do your little research first.

Check if the organization you want to donate to is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). You will be able to learn more about their mission, their budget and their staff.

You can then visit the site of Charity Intelligence Canada, an independent organization that has analyzed the financial records, annual reports, and web portals of some 800 Canadian charities. If the one you are targeting has been evaluated, one of the things you will be able to do is find out how much of every donated dollar is invested in the programs.

Also take the time to visit the website of the organization in question for their latest activity report and list of established donors. Chartered Professional Accountants Canada emphasizes that transparency bodes well and recalls that the CRA suggests that organizations raising more than $ 250,000 in donations publish their audited financial statements.

Despite all these steps, is there any question? Contact the organization and ask to speak with a worker or even meet with one.

>> Also read: Clothing donations: how to do it right?

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