Three ideas for charitable giving in your lifetime

By Tanis Jalbert, LL.B. 8 September 2023 3 min read

In a recent article on charitable giving, we talked about important decisions you’ll need to make around this subject, starting with the choice to give during your lifetime, on death or both. This article, we explore a few ideas for how to support a charity or cause in your lifetime.

Donate money or an item

Are you donating a fixed-dollar amount, or a percentage of your income? Are you gifting cash, capital property, cultural property or a collectible? Will this be a one-time or ongoing donation?

Charitable contributions can be made by individuals or corporations. The decision of whether to give personally or through a corporation, may be tax driven particularly if there is a tax event you are looking to offset. If this is a consideration, it is important to seek legal and tax advice. The maximum donation an individual can claim on their tax return each year is 75% of their net income with limited exceptions. Donations that cannot be claimed in the year can be carried forward for up to five years.

The rules are essentially the same for corporations. Generally, a corporation can claim a deduction for charitable donations up to 75% of the corporation’s net income for the year. If a corporation is reporting no net income or a loss for the year, it cannot claim donations to create or increase a loss. Corporate donations that cannot be claimed in the year can be carried forward for up to five years.

Contribute knowledge and time

Do you want to have involvement in the long-term strategic decisions of a charitable organization or be on the board of directors? How much time in a month do you have to volunteer? What can you contribute in terms of expertise?

The possibility of donating your time is an option available to everyone regardless of financial means. This option is also extremely flexible and can be adapted to anyone’s situation. It’s really up to you what this might look like. Finally, in addition to the personal satisfaction that comes from volunteering with a charity, it is a great way to involve family members and loved ones as well as set an example for future generations.


What opportunities are available to you to fundraise to support a charitable cause you are passionate about? How can you involve family and friends? What is your target donation goal?

These opportunities often arise in the context of an organization, school or extracurricular activities. Sometimes it is fundraising for a cause; other times proceeds raised may be split between a charity and team or school. Additionally, many organizations provide opportunities for employees to get involved to support various charitable causes, with donations matched by the organization. These opportunities are available to many of us and given the breadth of these examples of fundraising, a little can go a long way.

These are just a few ideas of how you can support a charitable cause today. You might even be doing one or more of the above without thinking about it.

If you are interested in exploring one or more of these giving opportunities, the next step is to consider what charity or cause you would like to support. You can learn more about charities that support various causes at If you are looking to donate money, you can do so through this site or by contacting the charity directly. Subject to the nature and amount of your donation, it is recommended you seek legal and tax advice as there may be additional considerations to maximize the effectiveness of your contribution.

Alternatively, if you are interested in giving your knowledge and or time or fundraising opportunities, the next step is to reach out to the charitable organization to learn more. Many charities have a page dedicated to volunteers and ways to get involved on their website.

Supporting and donating to charities in your lifetime not only allows you to see the benefit of your contribution but also sets an example for the next generation. Taking action today can create a legacy for the future. If you are looking for more information on charitable giving, please refer to ATB Wealth’s Planned Philanthropic Giving Guide.

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