At Big Brothers Big Sisters, we believe every child should have the opportunity to reach his or her full potential – both as individuals and citizens. We believe that by changing the course of young lives we can in turn be changing the course of a community’s future.
Start Talking is a place where we want to raise awareness of key issues that face today’s youth. We will sometimes advocate, sometimes educate, sometimes inform, sometimes ask questions and always invite discussion about the pressing concerns that involve the younger generations of today.

Monday, November 25, 2013

It's okay to say no

With over 85,000 registered charities in the country each of us as Canadians are bound to be approached for donations multiple times throughout the year. Most of us have come to accept this fact, yet for many of us the idea of being asked for money is unpleasant to say the least. It can carry feelings of guilt and pressure to “do the right thing”. Having been in the business of fundraising for over 10 years I can tell you that this is not how effective fundraising is done and you should not be made to feel this way.

I can also tell you that it is okay to say no. While guilt may work temporarily, it is not a sustainable or long-term fundraising technique. It does not build relationships, and it does not inspire people. Giving is your choice, and above all else, it should make you feel good.

For some of us, it is hard to say no. We are asked around every corner. We are asked by those closest to us, we are asked where we shop, where we eat, and in our homes. I suppose many of us could probably afford to give a few cents or even a nickel to every charity in the country, but would this really be an effective way of making a meaningful contribution to society?

And don’t forget that every donation carries with it a cost of administration. Like any other business, charities need to effectively manage their money, manage their staff, market their brand, and of course bring valuable service to the community, all under the intense scrutiny of both the government and the general public.

I am not suggesting that you stop donating. Most of the 85,000 charities across the country not only deserve your support, but depend on it to exist and to continue to strive to enrich the lives of Canadians. Big Brothers Big Sisters is no exception. With less than 20% of our funding across the country coming from various governments, we will always depend on financial contributions from individuals simply to exist.

I am suggesting that you be thoughtful about your donations for the year. Be strategic and research your options. Look for impact in the community and for real results. And yes, push yourself to give more. It will feel good. You are making an investment in the community, in the life of a child, in the well-being and the future prosperity of the planet. I really believe there is no investment more important.

Garner Beckett
Director of Development
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada


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