All You Have to do is Ask!

We’ve all received the emails from friends that contain some heart-tugging sentiment and require you to pass it along to 100 more close personal friends.  It comes with all kinds of threats of bad luck, like your car tires will all be flat one morning.   We know these to be silly notions – hoaxes, or calling it like it really is, spam- from people you know.

While most of these emails are generally quite harmless, some emails masquerade as fact.  They boast truths, saying things like, “Before you donate, think about THIS!” and then they proceed to relay information that may or may not be completely accurate.  These types of email are not harmless and could actually deprive someone of help when they need it most.   I am respectfully asking that before you accept this kind of email as the wholesale truth, please take a moment to consider that this is a form of spam and in Canada, the real facts are published and available to you in many public places.

It's always a good idea when you are considering making a large purchase, hiring a staff member or choosing where to donate your hard-earned money, to ask questions, do some comparison shopping or carry out the reference checks.   

You need to know the truth – the cold hard facts, and all you have to do is ask.   Below you'll find a couple of resource points that will lead you straight to the truth about not-for-profit governance in Canada.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is a source of very reliable, and of course, legal information for anyone wanting to learn more about the charities they support.  It is in your best interest to learn more about your philanthropic choices; confirm if they are a registered charity, and how much of the money raised supports the work they do and how much is allocated for administration and fundraising costs.  You must be completely comfortable with the charities you choose and how they are using your gift.  But you owe it to yourself and your community to get this information first-hand – and truthfully.  This link will lead you right to the area on the CRA site where you can search for your peace of mind.  Canada Revenue Agency - Charities/Not for Profits

As a staff member of United Way, I take pride in our organization – my organization.  And I take pride in the work we do and how efficient we are now, and how we are working toward greater efficiencies in the future.  This matters to me personally because,  just like so many other people in our community, I am a United Way donor. 

United Way is fully accountable to our donors, volunteers and of course, the individuals and families we support.  Each year, our annual Financial Statements are posted on our website, along with our anticipated costs for administration and fundraising. 

But don’t just take my word for it, we have provided the information and all you have to do is click here:  What are Your Costs?, or here 2009 Report to the Community and Financial Statements to learn more about United Way of the Alberta Capital Region. 

When you choose to support your community with your time or financial resources, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the organization and their practices – and that includes learning more about your local United Way.   It’s easy, all you have to do is ask.