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In 2008, Canadian registered charities reported $182 Billion in revenue, which was more than an 80% increase since 2000. Since 2008, charitable donations by Canadians have dropped by nearly 1 billion dollars. Canadians are generous. Canadians want to support charities. Yet, with the recent recession, charities are fighting even harder for Canadian dollars.

With some much competition for the Canadian population’s income that is ready to be allocated to charities – should charities be allowed to refuse some organisations in favour of fundraisers that produce them more funds? When raising funds for a cause, you may hear the neighbourhood kid tell you that every dollar counts – is this really true for all charities?

Lately I have noticed a trend that some charities are following – bigger and better in exchange for local or small initiatives. While this may be earning them larger revenues – it makes the task of raising funds for this charity seem more daunting. It makes it seem like there is too much bureaucracy to fundraise at a grassroots level. This brings for the message of how charities expect to grow, if they seem to far removed from the grassroots fundraisers who want to take risks to fundraise and try new things. Risks mean a chance that they could raise a large profit for a charity, however it could also mean they raise a dollar value that is less than the normal funds the charity raises from a campaign.

This brings about the question – where do charities get to draw the line? If someone wants to try to make a difference or support a cause, but may not necessarily have the same financial impact as a nationwide campaign – does this charity have the right to refuse a request to fundraise for them? Does a charity – whose mandate it is to help people and fight for a cause – have a right to refuse help, even if it is a small amount?

Grassroots movements have changed the world – social ideas, legal ideas and equality has spread through this method of advocacy. However, are they inefficient when it comes to raising funds for these same causes? And can we forget that most large philanthropic ventures are a direct resultant of a grassroots movement? The Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and any large charity – all started as a small idea.

Do small ideas still have a chance with big charities? Do big charities have the right to refuse aid?

Where do we draw the line?