Do you give charitably according to your own personal values or do you give more often because you are asked?

Here is a possibly familiar scenario: you’re in the grocery store check-out line and the cashier asks if you’d like to donate a dollar or two. You feel guilty saying no, so you add a few dollars to your receipt—even though you don’t feel a personal connection to the cause. 

Why is it important to understand why you give? Because when you give in a more aligned way with your personal core values, it can feel more meaningful. Aligning your generosity with your core life values can also help to achieve other life goals. Acting in accordance with what we care about can create contentment and joy.  

Defining what drives you as a person can help you connect with causes and charities. When you find organizations that support your goals for yourself, your family, and the world, giving can feel more significant.

You can give to any number of causes and charities. There are over 86,000 registered charities to choose from in Canada, and you can give to them all from one place on platforms like Charitable Impact. That’s a big number to choose from. To help you along, we have five steps you can follow to create a more proactive, personalized giving plan. 

Define your core personal values

There are resources to help you define your own personal core values. The organization behind the awareness-building World Values Day on October 21st has downloadable guide to help you determine the guiding principles in your life. 

According to their guide: “Values help us make better choices, develop healthy patterns of behaviour, and maintain meaningful personal relationships. They are the glue connecting us with others and our communities. Harnessing our values strengthens our sense of knowing where we are going and take responsibility for our actions.”

You can start with their curated lists values, narrow it down to your own list of five, and then go from there. Next step? Creating your own personal mission statement (see below).  

Write down a personal vision and mission

Think about what your vision of a brighter future is and write it down. What steps can you take to achieve your own personal mission? Knowing what you are aiming for is key to feeling fulfilled. According to Leadership and Life Coach Louise Lee: “It’s difficult to excel when you don’t know what excellence looks like for you.”

Building a step-by-step plan can help you to start small while aiming high. If you want to make a bigger difference for a charity you care about, consider giving as a monthly donor. 

Consider being a monthly donor to a cause you care about

Being a monthly donor helps charities better plan for their upcoming programming by relying on a more steady and predictable budget. Monthly donors create a stronger charitable sector. A straightforward approach is to take the amount of money you would like to give annually and divide it by 12 to give over the year.

Bonus: Research has shown that those who give each month tend to give more than donors who make larger one-time donations. 

Define and measure your own generosity

Based on what you have learned about yourself, you can search for causes and charities that reflect your values. Having a guiding vision of what you want to support can help your giving feel more meaningful and can avoid donor’s remorse, a close cousin to buyer’s remorse. 

When you track your giving over time, you can determine when you felt joyful (or not) and readjust your priorities.

Feel like a philanthropist

Once you have a vision in mind, you can continue giving strategically and defining philanthropy according to your own perspectives and experiences. We all have the capacity to give, and in giving we can get something in return. Science shows giving is good for us. Beyond more quantitative benefits, giving can build stronger connections and bonds. 

When you give according to a vision, creating a more sustainable long-term plan for your generosity. You can see its benefits carry forward and that feels really good. 


Caroline Dobuzinskis is the Senior Manager, Digital Marketing Content, at Charitable Impact. Charitable Impact is one place for all your giving. With a free Impact Account, donors can give to any of Canada’s more than 86,000 registered charities.