Giving the gift of charity

Grim Reaper Smurf didn't get a lot of air time on the old TV cartoon.

This year my best friend and I have decided to do something a little different for Christmas. We usually go all out and get each other really awesome gifts. My friend is an amazing gift-giver, she always finds really cool and unique gifts (case-in-point: Grim Reaper Smurf), while I’m really good at getting her kick-ass pieces for her wardrobe. This year though, we’re both in our own places and don’t really need much. Sure, there’s always stuff we’ll want, but nothing really we  need or want to ask each to get as a gift. We’ve done gifts of experience before, like spa days, but with our busy schedules and three months of blizzards to look forward to, that kind of gift didn’t seem like it would work. After a chat, we decided that instead of giving each other gifts that we would make donations in each others names instead.

I’m a little ashamed to say this, but I’ve never donated as a gift before. There are so many charities and causes to donate to. Also, I want to make sure that my hard-earned cash actually goes to helping people, without a majority of it going administration costs or into a CEO’s pocket. I have some major beefs with some major charities that don’t actually end up putting much money back into the cause they’re supposed to be raising money for. I decided to do some research on some charities, and try and find out which are the most efficient with their donations.

After throwing ‘Cost effective charities in Canada’ into the google machine, I came across Money Sense’s  2011 Charity 100. Money Sense looked at the efficiency, governance, and reserve fund size of Canada’s top 100 charities, just the big ‘uns, and gave them an overall grade. Charities that got A’s were considered more cost effective with your bucks than ones that got D’s.  You can check out the ratings for yourself at It was a good place to start my charity research. From there, I made  a short-list of charities for my consideration:

  • UNICEF Canada –  You can either donate money or buy a ‘gift’ that goes to a child in need. Gifts range from mosquito nets ($10) to a 4WD vehicle ($33,377). I think it would be cool to donate a water health bundle ($60) and a literacy pack ($30).
  • Doctors without Borders – In a similar fashion to UNICEF, you can donate straight cash or buy items. Again, the gifts vary in price. The anti-malaria drugs ($25) would be good to give, as would the jerry cans for water ($40) and blankets ($60).
  • The local United Way – the United Way supports local initiatives and groups, think Big Brothers and Big Sisters, shelters, etc. Money donated to the local UW stays in the general vicinity, which is cool.
  • The local disaster relief fund – this is the most local charity on my list. Money donated to this charity would go to the residents of the Town I work in who were affected by a disaster this summer. Also, all money donated is matched on a 2:1 basis by the Province, meaning my money will go a little extra ways in helping.

I still haven’t decided which I’m going to donate to. I think I’m going to do a little more research on each before I decide. I don’t think I can go too wrong with any of the charities, but I really want my money and my gift to be meaningful.

Have you ever donated to a charity as a gift? What are your favourite charities?

Have a good ‘un

Country Girl

Categories: Personal, Spending | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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6 thoughts on “Giving the gift of charity

  1. I nominated your for an award on my blog, come check it out 🙂

  2. That’s such a great idea. Good for you and your friend for giving to others less fortunate in this time of consumerism driven holiday.

    PS. I like the new layout!

  3. I think it’s a great idea to donate as a gift, but I find it hard to determine which charities people prefer. Its just so personal, you know?

    I also love the new blog layout!

    • It is really hard deciding on which charity to go with. I think I’ll give my friend the list and ask her to pick one.

      Thanks! I’m glad to hear people like the new look of the place.

  4. TLC

    I’ve not done it as a gift idea, but I do love donating a shoebox of stuff to Operation Christmas Child 🙂

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