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Payroll Donations at Work

As an employee of the government every year the GCWCC canvasses employees to set up payroll donations for the charities of their choice. The past few years those donations have been lower due to the Phoenix Pay system issues.

I have participated in this program for many years, but I suspect this year will be my last for a few reasons.

The primary reason is the overhead charged by the United Way to administer this program for the Government. The program has negotiated a lowering of the normal fees the United Way takes 26% or higher of money donated.

Payroll Donations

Currently the Government program claims to only be losing 15% (up to a maximum of $750 per year) to United Way management fees.

The 15% fee is not exactly what you think either. My Church did a bit of research and in fact, because I want to donate using a “payroll donation”, there is an “additional 5% adjustment due to “pledge loss”. This means 20% of the money I  give will get scraped off for admin fees.

My Payroll Donations Plans for Next Year

I realize that charities have overhead costs, but this fee schedule is too much. To scrape over 20% from a donation, is a non-starter for me. Next year I will simply give directly and figure out a way to do pay roll donations in a more roundabout way (i.e. putting money in a separate account, and make donations quarterly to specific charities).

The business of charity always upsets me. I have learned enough about it that I keep wondering why does it cost so much to try to help people ?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I am not giving any monthly donations to one specific charity. I just give one lumpsum to disaster relief efforts, mainly in Canada.

    1. @Chris;
      Interesting site but I do wonder why their listing is 1) so short and 2) no domestic charities are listed. Are none worthy of our spare dollars?
      I wonder at how mankind can “cure” all the various illnesses as billions or even trillions are spent on eliminating people (war) rather than eliminating sickness.
      Still, I prefer to keep my dollars close to home where hopefully I can see some of the impact. The War Amps is another favorite of mine. They help not only those wounded by various conflicts but their main focus are children who have sustained domestic injuries. Another to look at is the Shriners Hospitals. And do not hesitate to look at the listing for a local hospital. The Canadian government lists all registered charities and administration costs.


  2. The problem I have with charities is the amount of mail I get back.
    I am left wondering how much of my donation was used to send me letters asking for more.

    1. I concur that the machine of some of the larger charities does seem to grind towards give us more but I also know from working around some charities this is an essential part of their survival as well. It is very hard to find that line between, asking for help and annoying the customer.

  3. The internet is awash with charity administration information. I have included two reference sites below.
    I agree with you that I like to see my charitable donations being used to help those that I wish to contribute to. Among others, I used to give to MS but stopped due to the high administration costs and also because they seem to be never ending in their requests for a donation. I now have enough address labels for a lifetime, if I do not move. However, if I had MS maybe I would overlook that and contribute anyways. Different circumstances will obviously influence our outlook. I have refocused my objectives to more local, smaller organizations with much lower costs. And they may actually benefit me in the long run as I age (local hospital fund).
    I think that “fund raising” has become big business in some cases, hiring professional fund raising companies to increase funds but at higher administration costs.
    A bit of a quandary to see that your donations are being used for what you consider appropriate causes.
    Take care. Don’t stop giving back or paying forward if you have the means. Those of us who are lucky enough to be able to do this should not hesitate. Do some research so you are comfortable with the organization you donate to.


    1. I am simply looking for the most bang for my buck when I donate. I tried to set up my Church as my charitable donation on my pay cheque, and if I set them up for a $20 donation, they end up only getting $16 ?

      I think charity and paying it forward is an essential spiritual thing (I mean that in the sense of your inner not necessarily religious).

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