We are presented opportunities everyday to make a difference in the lives of those around us, near or far, through our actions, time, or money. Whether we embrace that opportunity is up to us and, evidently, even the smallest of gestures or actions can veritably snowball into lasting results.
Though Canada is far from immune to the forces of intolerance, we generally still self-identify as generous, socially conscious citizens. In this moment of unease and unrest, it's heartening that we see ourselves as the world's helpful, conscientious neighbor. Well Canada, this week we have the chance to put our money where our identity is.
Amendments to the Income Tax Act have been made that incentivize planned charitable giving. Prior to 2016, gifts to registered charitable organizations made by will received tax credits that could only be used in the year of the testator's death or carried back to the preceding year.
Every year, charities reap the benefits of Canadians' generous holiday spirit, seeing a significant bump in December donations. In fact, more than a third of CanadaHelps' annual donations are achieved in this one month alone. While that seasonal generosity is important for charities, there is an unfortunate downside -- as the seasons change and the weather gets warmer, donations tend to dry up, leaving gaps for many organizations. I call this the "summer drought."
Canadian charities have long relied on P2P campaigns to engage their most passionate supporters in attracting donations. But Canada's economic uncertainty and increased competition in the charitable space have dampened results for many of the country's largest and most established P2P programs.
Considering we now live in an age where virtually any piece of information is at our fingertips, it should come as no surprise that Canadians have become increasingly interested in seeing how their charitable dollars are being spent. People now want visibility into the impact their chosen charities are making in the world, and it is a charity's ability to drive results which will inspire donors to give more.
There is much commonality between religions in urging us to overcome our attachments to money, property and the material, to give generously of ourselves in as many ways as possible, and to realize that nothing is ours. In many ways, it's a call to overcome our selfish nature and to realize our deep interconnectedness with each other and all of creation.
The calendar is jammed with events and parties. There are all those presents to buy. While this sounds like fun to the busy-bodies among us, it can be a bit of a nightmare for those who default to lazy-mode. By following my couch potato's guide to surviving the holidays, you can do what I did last year, and binge on Netflix.
For every tragic incident in the world today, there are countless more women and men humanitarians -- changemakers -- making the world a better place in their own respective capacities. Light is more potent and powerful in effacing darkness; let's each of us resolve to spread more light around us, in our communities, and throughout our world.
Like me, you may be struggling this holiday season to show someone very dear to you that you love them -- from thousands of miles away. It's not like you can decorate together, or fill their home with the smells of good things to eat. It's not like you can sit by the fire together, and raise a class of cheer. Or can you?