Start the New Year by resolving to give


Many charitable organizations are forgotten once the holiday season is over

A new year typically signals a fresh start; a time to reassess and reflect on the year that was and what we hope will come in the year ahead. It’s also a time when our generosity is reflected in the bills that rush in as fast as the wintery weather. For charitable organizations, who often see an influx of donations during the season of giving, January and February bring with it a slowdown in donation activity.

FoodShareTO, a registered Canadian charity and Canada’s largest food justice organization leader in food security locally and globally, experiences this slowdown in donation activity. To address this lag in donations, they switch gears to promote their annual fundraiser, which will be a virtual event in February, Recipe for Change, on their social media channels and in email blasts to donors. They also continue their outreach and advocacy to educate the public on the issues underpinning hunger and that it's not a "once a year" kind of problem, especially after a year that saw the pandemic hit those facing food insecurity hard. 

Read more: Food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic: how you can help

While many charitable foundations look to creative ways to reach their donor base to raise funds for those who are vulnerable during this time of year, here are five ways you can keep the gift of giving going after the holiday season is over:

  1. Become a monthly donor. Sign up on your favourite charity’s website to become a monthly donor so it’s automatically charged to your credit card. This will provide stable funding for year-round campaigning and help you budget your donations for the year.
  2. Organize a neighbourhood food drive. The pandemic has inspired many of us to get out and meet our neighbours – at a safe distance. Make your charitable initiative a community event by organizing a food drive. You can spread the word by masking up and going door-to-door to share the details or create flyers and leave them in mailboxes. Take advantage of online hubs that connect neighbourhoods to share information about your drive. Don’t forget to specify the types of items you’re looking for and the deadline to submit donations.
  3. Donate items to an animal shelter. It takes a lot to provide for all the animals in a shelter’s care and, as you can imagine, shelters go through supplies quickly. Help them care for those in their care with items by donating foods and treats, leashes, collars, and harnesses, toys, sheets, blankets, or towels, cleaning supplies, new or gently used metal crates or carriers and furniture items like old armchairs, cots, or smaller furniture items that dogs can use as beds.
  4. Put your hobbies and time to good use. Do you have a knack for knitting? You can offer your creations to your local women’s shelter or hospital. Do you have access to a vehicle? Consider volunteering to deliver meals to seniors who rely on them. Do you have it in you to give? Search for a Canadian Blood Services location near you and book an appointment to donate blood to save a life.
  5. Host a virtual fundraising event. Make the most of your social media accounts by challenging your friends to help you raise donations for your favourite charity. Set up a fundraising page through one of the many popular crowdfunding websites and invite friends and family to participate. Host a book club, a virtual walk or dinner party and ask participants to donate a reasonable amount to the charity of choice.

Read more: Kindness: The gift that gives back

While you might not think you can make an impact, especially with restrictions enforced during these difficult times, now more than ever charitable foundations rely on the kindness of strangers. If you’re unable to make a financial donation, reach out and ask your local charity what kind of help they could use. Every little bit helps – and can make all the difference to those who need it most.