Would you like to donate a dollar to the United Way?

No. Thank You.

I went to Swiss Chalet last night for dinner. After dinner the waitress asked if I would like to make a donation of one dollar to the United Way. I said "no". I said no not because I did not want to give one dollar to the United Way. I said no because I did not want Swiss Chalet to benefit from my donation.

Swiss Chalet will donate my dollar to the United Way and get a tax credit.

I don't think that a corporation should benefit from my donation. When I donate I will do so myself and the government will give me a tax credit for my donation. Swiss Chalet might say that they are spending money having their employees collect the donations. I don't think that employees are paid more for collecting donations. I don't think employees have a choice whether to collect for the United Way or not. They might actually feel pressured to collect.

Donate your time to charities first. A couple hours of your time at a local food bank, or homeless shelter is worth more than the money you would donate. This shows that you care enough to get involved.

Donate money if you feel that you can't donate your time. If in that case follow these rules so that you get a tax credit for your donations.

  • Get a receipt for every donation. Most charities will only issue receipts for donations greater than $20. So that should be your minimum donation.
  • You get a 15.25% federal tax credit for your first $200 and 6.05% Ontario tax credit. You get back $44.
  • Once you pass the $200 limit you get a 29% federal tax credit and 11%-18% Ontario tax credit. You would get a minimum 40% tax credit.
  • Donations you made in 2006 can be claimed any year up to 2011. Claim your charitable donations every 5 years.
  • Claim you donations under one person. Either you or your spouse.

I am always very cautious of which charities I donate to. I will not donate to charities that have high administrative costs. The money does not get to those in need.