The Seven Deadly Sins of Charitable Giving

Submitted by EKFH on 09-03-2010

With thanks to


  • it estimated that a third of donors who set out to make a charitable gift do not complete the task
  • Is it the fault of the charity or the donor, or simply a breakdown in communication?
  • Make your gift happen and make it count

Deadly Sin #1 – Not Understanding Your Philanthropic Interests

  • Begin to create your philanthropic footprint by analyzing your past giving and determine where your core areas of interest have been
  • Where have you committed time, interest and money?
  • Look for common trends and themes

Deadly Sin #2 – Lack of Direction and Theme

  • If you really want to achieve the greatest impact with your future charitable giving choose one or two sectors and stick with them
  • Take clues for your past and choose from the broad sectors including Health Care
  • Next step is to choose the specific charity or charities to support

Deadly Sin #3 – Fear of the Bigger Dream

  • What if you stop for a inute and Dream Big?
  • Imagine what you could achieve if you focus your efforts and consider your giving potential
  • Could your gift e part of a larger, family-giving plan?
  • Discuss you plans with your family in any event to prevent misunderstandings

Deadly Sin #4 – Not Doing Your Homework

  • Is the charity worthy?
  • Find out about the charity before you give – approach it like you would an investment
    • review their annual report
    • learn about their leadership
    • are they in good standing with CRA?
    • are they achieving their stated goals?
    • do they have policies and procedures in place?

Deadly Sin #5 – Not Looking at Giving Options

  • Choose a giving option that fits our financial and estate plan
  • Consider an option other than cash
    • a gift through your will
    • publicly traded securities
    • donor advised funds
    • life insurance
    • charitable remainder trusts and other trusts
    • residual interests
    • RRSP’s and RRIF’s
    • Real Estate
    • Annuities
    • Private company shares

Deadly Sin #6 – Not Demanding Professionalism

  • Don’t make the mistake of expecting less froma charity than you would from a for-profit company
  • Charities should have staff with gift planning skills and expertise to help with the process
  • Privacy protection and Donor Recognition policies are a must

Deadly Sin #7 – Repeating a Bad Experience

  • Once you have completed the gift – sit back and take stock
  • Was the experience satisfying?
  • Did the charity provide sufficient support and communication?
  • If not – don’t be afriad to tell the charity