With winter-like weather upon us, it’s time to prepare for the final few months of the year. Much is happening in and around Edmonton between now and the New Year and with the excitement of things like the opening of the new Royal Alberta Museum and the highly anticipated Grey Cup Festival right around the corner it’s also a good time to remind you to think about the charities and causes that mean the most to you.
As December 31st is technically the final day for you to make a charitable gift to claim on your 2018 personal tax return, many charities will start to see an increase in contributions and support as the year winds down and the holiday season approaches.
If you are considering making a contribution to your favourite cause(s), you may want to think about making that gift sooner than later. As the next few months fly by, many organizations may see an increase in the services they provide which could make things a little trickier when it comes to making your donation before the year closes.
We highly recommend that you start thinking about what gifts you may be considering and having those conversations with your charities of choice just to ensure you don’t have a situation arise that has you sweating the countdown to 2019. Even straightforward gifts of cash or cheque have the potential to create issues as some organizations will close for the holiday season.
If time is starting to run out on 2018, online gifts or gifts mailed with a Canada Post date stamp of 2018 on the envelope can ensure you receive a 2018 donation receipt. If you are mailing, it is worth the time to go into a postal outlet and have them manually hand stamp the envelope. Otherwise the automated Canada Post date stamp may be in January even if the donation was put in the box before the end of the year.
One of the more common donations some charities receive at this time of the year are in-kind gifts of publicly traded securities (shares or mutual funds). There are many benefits for donating securities including not having to pay tax on capital gains on the securities you donate, but the process is not always as easy as writing a cheque or donating cash.
If you are considering this type of gift, you should understand the transfer process will take at least a few days to complete and unforeseen delays, though not common, could make an in-kind transfer stretch even longer than anticipated. Gifts of mutual funds generally take longer than gifts of shares. It’s highly recommended that you not only speak to your financial advisor about this type of gift, but also plan to initiate your donation before the beginning of December to ensure your gift will take place well in advance of the New Year even if there are unexpected hiccups.
Your charity of choice would be delighted to have this conversation with you and we recommend you reaching out to the organizations you’re planning to support to talk to them about what gifts they are equipped to accept to avoid any surprises along the way. Having this discussion will allow the organization to find the best way to ensure your generosity will make a difference to the work you wish to support.
If there is any way Edmonton Community Foundation can assist you during this time of the year, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your thoughts and ideas.
About the author: Matt Mandrusiak is a Donor Advisor at ECF. He joined ECF in 2015 after seven years of working with organizations focused on providing support to individuals with disabilities throughout Alberta. Having witnessed first-hand the passion and generosity of Edmontonians to support local causes, Matt is excited to work with donors and charities to enhance our already amazing community. Away from the office, he spends most of his time with his wife and two young daughters, but you can often find him on the golf course or intently keeping tabs on the latest football scores and standings. An avid traveller, Matt can also act as an unofficial Disney Parks vacation planner…Mickey ears included.