Thursday, June 15, 2006

Give and You Will Receive

Last week there was fairly widespread coverage of Statistics Canada's Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating. The Survey found a number of key results among them:

  • Canadians who attend religious services every week are the most generous. This shouldn't be surprising generosity is a natural expression of Christian love.
  • 25% of donors donate 80% of the total dollars. Again, this is to be expected, people will give according to their means.
  • Those who attended religious services are also the most likely to volunteer. Another expression of Christian love.
  • Finally, 50% of Canadians gave less than $119 per year. This is what I want to write about.

If you live in Canada and donate less than $119 per year, I have to ask why? What on earth are you thinking? I understand not everyone has the means, but face it, if you're reading this you most likely either have a decent job, or can afford a computer with internet access. Therefore, financial hardship likely isn't your most valid reason.

Are you just selfish? It's OK. I understand I'm naturally selfish too. Maybe consider joining those Canadians that attend church regularly; hopefully you'll open your heart to the spirit of giving that naturally flows out of understanding how generous God is with us.

Is that too much to ask? Fine, you hyper rational types consider this. If your total donations are greater than $200, you will get a federal income tax deduction of 29% of any amount over $200. Essentially this is approaching self directed taxation. If you're a conservative and you believe that you know how to spend your money better than the government does, giving is a fine way to prove it. (If you're a liberal and you believe in the typical bleeding heart government programs, here's an opportunity to participate.)

Finally, I have to point out that regular giving is a great shock absorber. If you are consistently saving a little and giving a little, then when those unexpected expenses come up, you can hold off giving for a couple weeks until you can afford it again. If you spend all of your money on your lifestyle, you are leaving yourself open for unnecessary stress.

So give, it's good for you in more ways than one.

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