Ellis Orlan, BA, CPA (IL), CGMA, SF Partnership LLP, Toronto, ON, CYBF Mentor, eorlan@sfgroup.ca

What is it about giving of time or money to charity that appeals to some and not to others? Why are some people so over the top in terms of their charitable endeavors while others are like Ebenezer Scrooge?

Well, in my opinion it likely starts early on in life with good parents who instill the core value in their children that we give from the abundance of what we have to those who are less fortunate. These parents model this behavior and demonstrate to their children that giving of time and money is not only a good thing but it is a minimum acceptable standard for living.

We know that there are tax incentives for the wealthy that make giving of money easier and more palatable and we know there are fringe benefits for “networkers” who find opportunities to give of their time because of people that they meet and opportunities that arise from same.

We also know that many people give to a certain charity because of an experience with the cause. I have a friend who is very active at the ALS Society of Canada because they lost someone very close to them to that horrible disease. Still others get involved financially and personally with a specific charity for absolutely no specific reason at all; they just knew they wanted to be involved in charitable giving and when something came to them that made sense, they participated.

Finally to circle back to what I was saying earlier, about the main reason why I believe some people are involved and so generous with their time and money while others sit on the side lines, is because they have good parents and role models. I know of many families that make the holiday season their time for giving back as a family unit. From taking part in the funding, preparing and delivering of holiday gift baskets for the poor, to serving a holiday meal; giving remains the reason for the season and I for one am thankful for parents who taught me this principle at an early age.