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McGill-Leaks: How Safe is Your Private Information When You Give to a Charity?

Posted by 7 Mar, 2012

The recent posting of confidential information on donors from McGill’s Development and Alumni Department is very unfortunate. http://bit.ly/yI8QtZ Ardent supporters of McGill will know the University would never willingly release such information so it should not affect their future gifts to the University but it does cause one to think about the privacy of such […]

The recent posting of confidential information on donors from McGill’s Development and Alumni Department is very unfortunate. http://bit.ly/yI8QtZ
Ardent supporters of McGill will know the University would never willingly release such information so it should not affect their future gifts to the University but it does cause one to think about the privacy of such information.
As a donor, how can you ensure your information is being managed in the most confidential manner?
Most large charitable institutions will use sophisticated database systems to manage their charitable gifts and donor information that are usually well protected. Smaller charities however, may not have such controls and may simply keep their donors’ information on a spread sheet or in a simple database. With the advent of Wiki Leaks, obviously even the most secure systems can be hacked into.
.If you are concerned about privacy of your information, you may wish to ask the charity you are donating to explain their process of managing your private information-what information do they keep about you on their system, is it protected and who has access? You should be comfortable that the charity is taking measures to keep your information confidential.
You can give anonymously, which will protect you on public listings of donors but ultimately your name and information will occur somewhere in the charity’s systems for record keeping and tax receipting purposes so even anonymous giving does not totally guarantee your privacy.
You can give via a donor advised fund or through your local community foundation. This way, the recipient charity never even receives your information. However, be aware that donor advised funds and community foundations will keep your information so it is just as important to know how they will handle your private information as they will be just as vulnerable as McGill depending on the security of their systems.
You can be very selective in the personal information you provide to charities. You may have a business address/phone/email you can use instead of your own personal information. You may be able to use a staff contact instead of your own family name or you may have a foundation associated with your giving and that could be used as the principal contact information.
If none of the above work for you, you might ask the charity to keep your information separate from their computerized lists with secure controls and with very limited access. What an old fashioned idea! While this may be more work for the charity, if they are keen to accept your donation, they may well accommodate your privacy needs in such a manner.
Giving seems to be getting more complicated than ever but it is very important to protect your privacy and make sure those receiving your gifts follow suit.
Need some help with your philanthropic giving? Contact us at: info@philanthropic.ca

Comments Off Categories : Corporations, Cost-Effective Management, Monitor & Evaluate, Research & Due Diligence, Terry Smith, Wealth Advisors

It’s Tax Time- Remember to Claim Your Charitable Donations!

Posted by 22 Feb, 2012

It is that time to start collecting all those pieces of paper you need to properly file your income tax. Remember to collect all your charitable receipts to ensure you get the most tax benefit from your charitable giving.  These days you will often receive your charitable receipts via email so make sure you have […]

It is that time to start collecting all those pieces of paper you need to properly file your income tax. Remember to collect all your charitable receipts to ensure you get the most tax benefit from your charitable giving.  These days you will often receive your charitable receipts via email so make sure you have saved those emails or printed off the receipts, in addition to those you may have received via traditional mail.  Every year I create an envelope for my tax receipts. When I receive a charitable receipt, via email or Canada Post, I put a copy in the envelope so when it comes to preparing my income tax, I have all my charitable receipts in one place.  Can’t find a receipt?  Sometimes in our hurry to clean out our emails, you may have erased a receipt or two from the charities you support- not to worry, you can ask the charity to send you a copy so don’t hesitate to contact them- every donation counts!

Comments Off Categories : Corporations, Cost-Effective Management, Monitor & Evaluate, Research & Due Diligence, Terry Smith, Wealth Advisors

Is Your Charitable Giving a “Gift” or an “Investment”?

Posted by 15 Oct, 2011

Recently I was speaking with some donors who said they had dropped the word “gift” when referring to the money they give to charities and now only speak about their philanthropy as “investments”.   This made me question:  “Is all charitable giving really an investment?” With an investment, you expect a return, and you usually […]

Recently I was speaking with some donors who said they had dropped the word “gift” when referring to the money they give to charities and now only speak about their philanthropy as “investments”.   This made me question:  “Is all charitable giving really an investment?”

With an investment, you expect a return, and you usually expect that return to be better than what you initially invested.  Sometimes the investment does not deliver as well as you expected.  When that happens, we sometimes withdraw from that particular investment or we stay the course and hope it corrects itself over time.  We watch our investments, we take corrective action, and hopefully we also reap positive returns.

A gift is something you give someone that you do not expect any return on.  You do it out of the sheer joy of giving something to someone else to make them happy, to wish them well, to congratulate them.  We do not worry about a gift. Once you have given the gift, you do not watch what happens with it, you do not take any corrective action and you certainly do not expect to see it again. Read More >>

Comments Off Categories : Terry Smith