Drifting back to the monetary piece, I quickly searched how many Lethbridge charities were registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. I was somewhat surprised to learn the number was only 389. In order to reach its annual reported giving level of $52,390,000 people are obviously giving generously in other ways. Rather than satisfy my curiosity, this raised more questions.
What is prompting the good folks in Lethbridge to donate more than half a million hours and 52 million dollars? A call to the southern Alberta chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) provided me with some insight. AFP members Brandie Lea and Joyanne Mitchell believe Lethbridge has a culture of giving, be that of their time, treasure, or talent. Technology has changed the face of fundraising from the traditional door-to-door canvasser by introducing tools such as text-to-give, Go-Fund Me pages, and online donation clearing houses like ImagineCanada.ca and CanadaHelps.org. The fundamental that remains, however, it is the relationship between the organization and the donor that matters most. In some cases this is a deliberate approach to giving and in others it is an emotional response to a heartfelt appeal.
"It is the relationship
between the organization
and the donor that matters most."
The flip side of giving is receiving and don’t we all receive a bit of pleasure when we give? Lethbridge has clearly demonstrated a willingness to help their neighbour and a permanent reminder of our kindness and generosity is now emblazoned in blue and gold on the 3 Avenue South and Scenic Drive crosswalk. Canada was the first country to formally recognize those who give and celebrates National Philanthropy Day on November 15. A city-wide message of thanks takes place from November 12-17 with activities that include a community foundation luncheon and events to recognize donors, volunteers, leaders, corporations and others engaged in philanthropy. These are feel-good events for both givers and receivers and I hope you get to participate in some way, even if it’s just walking the crosswalk and reflecting on how fortunate we are to live in a generous and caring city like Lethbridge.