What is the value of a charitable donation?

Greg Thomson is director of research with Charity Intelligence, an organization that analyzes charitable investments and provides donors with information about their return. According to him, the issues concerning most donors surrounds where their money is going. What is that dollar being used for? While these are important questions, Charity Intelligence is urging donors to start thinking about charitable donations in a new way: specifically in terms of something called “social return”. 

“Social return on investments instead asks: for every dollar we give, how many dollars worth of social value are being created for the clients of the charity as well as society in general,” explained Thomson on CBC Manitoba on Nov. 4.

The average charity produces two dollars worth of social value for every dollar donation. But, what if we could make more of an impact? That is the idea that Thomson and Charity Intelligence is trying maximize through the Canadian Charity Impact Fund (CCIF). This mutual fund will pool donations together and deliver them to 10 high-impact charities.

“The 10 charities we’ve put together in the Canadian Charity Impact Fund, we believe will generate at least 9 dollars worth of social value for every dollar donated. This is a significant difference,” said Thomson.

To listen to Greg Thomson speak with CBC Manitoba, click on the soundcloud recording below. This is not an original interview and the full CBC newscast can be found here.

North American society is a little obsessed with how their money is spent. We want to physically see the results of our charitable donations—we want to make sure our money is being used “right.” However, this idea of a social return is much more important. It’s great if the five dollars you donate goes directly to the cause, but if it can create even more change, if the impact of your donation is higher, than it is more worth doing.

Let’s hope we don’t shy away from this way of thinking just because we aren’t used to it.


The 10 high-impact CCIF charities

Boundless School
Calgary Food Bank
East York Learning Experience
Eva’s Initiatives
Fort York Food Bank
Fresh Start Recovery Centre
Inn From The Cold Society
Second Harvest
Youth Fusion
Youth Without Shelter

Katherine DeClerq is a contributor to Women's Post. Her previous writing experience includes the Toronto Star, Maclean's Magazine, CTVNews, and BlogTO. She can often be found at a coffee shop with her MacBook computer. Despite what CP says, she is a fan of the Oxford comma.

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