John Hallward ’78 has made a career of studying philanthropy, what motivates it and how to do it well. He returned to Selwyn House on Nov. 13 to teach Senior School students how a person can make the most of his charitable donations.
The students are preparing to take part in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative (YPI), a program that gets young people involved in charitable activities, especially at a local level. Students select a local charity and make a pitch to a jury of judges on why they feel their charity is deserving of funds. The team of students with the winning proposal win a $5000 donation for their chosen charity.
John outlined his methods of evaluating various charities to assess their cost-effectiveness. There are approximately 85,000 registered charities in Canada, plus an equal number of unregistered not-for-profit organizations that accept donations. Legitimate registered charities are listed with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). On the agency’s website one can find a wealth of information, including revenue and expense charts, and the range of salaries paid to the top 10 highest-paid employees.
Before choosing a charity, John recommended using this website to assess the efficiency and impact of a particular charity. A deserving charity should be trustworthy and transparent, and at least 70 cents out of every dollar donated should reach the intended target.
Once those criteria have been met, it is also important to follow one’s heart and choose a charity that you feel strongly about, John stressed.
Courtney Prieur, Director of Student Life at Selwyn House, echoed John’s advice. “Make sure that it’s a program that you’re passionate about,” she told the Senior students.
Students taking part in the YPI competition make visits to prospective charities to ask questions. Once they have made an educated choice, they make their pitch to the panel of judges at Selwyn House.