This Giving Tuesday I, like many of you, am thinking of the needs of my community as we remain under the weight of COVID-19. The pandemic has been a long, acute global crisis playing out at a local scale in all regions of Canada and around the world, which will have an even longer tail of recovery. It has also shown us the best of our communities, as individual donors, governments and corporations have rallied in response.
We have all experienced the pandemic, but we have not all been equally affected by the crisis it created. It has made even clearer the fault lines of inequity, poverty, privilege, precarious work and racism present in our society. Those patterns continue to emerge as we enter the long recovery period, when community organizations like United Way Centraides and the community-based organizations we support, begin to rebuild a more equitable and inclusive recovery.
Stories of individual and collective action have inspired us this year. For example, Harvest Algoma, a food resource centre operated by United Way Sault Ste. Marie & Algoma District, acted as a hub to receive and mobilize over 220,000 meals during the pandemic. Across the country, Canada’s essential community services have mobilized resources, volunteers and services to address the needs of seniors, families with children adapting to virtual learning, community mental health support, hunger, and many other needs. These services are enabled by organizations that are deeply rooted in their communities with long-term relationships, knowledge and experience to meet ever-evolving needs, today and into the future. The pandemic has demonstrated that we cannot take these services for granted.
As you consider donating on Giving Tuesday and during the holiday season, I invite you to look deeper into these stories. What does it take to ensure our communities are supported? Canada’s essential community service organizations need flexible and sustained funding over the long term, founded in trust-based relationships with funders, donors and corporate partners. Put simply, we need to look at our giving though the lens of long-term relationships.
Trust-based philanthropy is a term that is receiving increasing attention in the world of giving. It refers to the practice of investing in an organization whose mission you deeply believe in, enough to form a long-term relationship where you contribute your donations, time and talent. It is relational, rather than transactional, and sustained, rather than a one-time thing. These kinds of relationships have always been at the core of what United Ways and Centraides invite our volunteers, donors and partners to do. And in 2022, they will become even more impactful in enabling community service organizations to adapt, modernize and be renewed for the challenging days ahead.
This Giving Tuesday, I invite you to think about three core principles that could guide you to a more fulfilling, long-term giving relationship with organizations in your community:
- Passion – What do I care about, personally and in my community?
- Purpose – What do I hope I, my family and/or my organization can help achieve?
- Commitment – What trusted, purpose driven, and value-aligned community organizations can I commit to for the long haul?
With these questions answered, look around you for organizations doing the work that you feel inspired to support, and use your donation as the opportunity to become invested in the future of your community for the long-term.