Charitable donations on the rise in Saskatchewan

SASKATOON – A national agency is reporting that charitable donations in Saskatchewan rose 54 per cent over a recent 10-year period. In 2004, residents donated $329 million, compared to $506 million in 2014.

“The one thing I know with Saskatoon is no matter what type of situation they’re in, people always seem to give back,” said Heather Hedstrom, the Saskatoon Salvation Army community and donor relations advisor.

Hedstrom and others associated with charitable associations in Saskatoon say the bulk of donations occur at the end of the year, making the holiday season critical for groups serving the less fortunate.

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“What we collect during the Christmas season, we spread it out year-round,” said Hedstrom.

“Whether it’s through our toy campaign … or if it’s a feeding program, or if it’s an Easter break camp,” she said.

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Donations come to the shelter from a number of places, including Brevoort Park School. Some of the clothing and books recently donated by students there will be given to the Salvation Army.

“We collect boots, snow pants, hats, mitts,” said Anne Kimpton, 9, who helped organize the drive.

“It’s really cold around Christmas time and its Christmas so everyone should be happy on Christmas.”

For those of working age, charitable donations can serve as a tax incentive. The amount provincial residents donate this year will likely stay unchanged, even with the recent economic slowdown, according to financial advisor Susan Milburn.

“The tax credits are worth a lot to a person, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t continue to give if it doesn’t impact your financial situation significantly,” said Milburn, a branch manager for the investment company Raymond James.

“Quite honestly most people don’t give so much that it really impacts their overall financial situation,” she added.

Residents of Saskatoon have a number of groups to choose from when looking to donate their money. The YWCA, for example, also receives a bulk of their financial support toward the end of the year and always works to appeal to new donors, according to its executive director.

“There is a charity that is a fit for every donor and so our challenge is finding the donors who are a fit for the YWCA,” said Barb Macpherson, executive director of the Saskatoon YWCA.

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“Without the generosity of Saskatoon, we would be much smaller and not having the impact that we do have in the city.”

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