Christiana Mbazigwe, Duric Business Solutions, Toronto, ON, CYBF Mentor

Non-profits are a type of business organization without profit motivation, unlike the traditional business organizations that are profit oriented. Non-profit organizations include charities, foundations, and other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) which are established to provide humanitarian services, programs and other forms of support to people and organizations without any profit-sharing by their stakeholders. They all operate in the philanthropy sector which is now a very large and growing business in the contemporary world. Each has a cause to pursue with a mission and vision to fulfill through their activities.

Charities and non-profits depend on donations as their primary source of funds to carry out their activities, and at times they may secure public or private sector funding or sponsorship to finance special programs and projects. Charitable giving or donations are commonly in the form of cash which may have tax implications, but can also take the form of alternative giving such as real estate, motor vehicles, appreciated securities, investments, clothing and other assets or services. Also, alternative charitable donations can be information, ideas, materials, or words of encouragement. One can also donate his or her will, time, skills, talents, and other tangible or intangible items to support a charity or non-profit of choice.

As corporate social responsibility is receiving more attention than ever before, companies are now adding charitable giving in their plans and budgets. Some give by involving their staff either as volunteers or by making monetary donations to the charity or non-profit they like. You can give advice or suggestions to help improve the services or programs of non-profits, or donate a poem, inspirational song or artwork. Other ways of giving include helping in their fundraising events, promoting or marketing their programs and services, writing a letter of appreciation or commendation for the great job they’re doing (or a letter of support when they need one), or connecting them to opportunities they never knew existed. If you are skilled at writing a proposal, business plan or strategic plan, you can be of great service by assisting with writing a grant proposal which is crucial in their efforts to secure government or corporate funding.

The face of philanthropy has been changing in modern times with lots of innovative and creative ideas being put forward to help charities sustain their work. As a vital part of our communities, they largely depend on society (organizations, governments and individuals) to succeed in their charitable work. Some may wish to form partnerships or collaborations with other organizations and institutions in sharing resources to strengthen their capacity.

Charitable giving requires you to choose causes that appeal to you. If an individual or owner of a small business is unable to support the community monetarily, these are just some of the ways to give back.

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