This post was sponsored by Vancity.
Giving back to your community and to those in need can be an important part of keeping a balanced financial lifestyle, but finding room in your budget to give to charity can be a stretch. However, there’s an easier way.
Between mortgage payments, debt payments and saving for the future, many Canadians don’t have much left over. In 2011, just 23% of Canadian taxpayers claimed charitable donations on their tax returns. If you’re looking for a way that will allow you to give without feeling the pinch, consider using your credit card reward points.
Charitable donations with the Vancity enviro Visa
Now you can use your credit card rewards points to donate to the charity of your choice. You can use your points from the enviro Classic Visa or the enviro Gold Visa to make a donation to any registered Canadian charity, and you’ll get a tax receipt. Let’s look at how much you could donate with each credit card in a given year.
enviro Classic Visa
The enviro Classic Visa has no annual fee and an interest rate of 19.50%. When you use this credit card, you earn 0.5 points per dollar you spend1. If you spend $3,000 per month with this credit card, you’ll earn 1,500 points per month or 18,000 points per year. You’ll also earn a one-time bonus of 2,000 points when you enroll at myvisarewardsplus.com, which means you’ll be able to donate 20,000 points or $200 to the charity of your choice in the first year and $180 per year after that.
enviro Gold Visa
You can donate even more if you choose the enviro Gold Visa with the accelerator rewards points option. This credit card does have an annual fee of $147 with an interest rate of 19.50%, and you’ll earn more rewards.
With this credit card, you earn 1.5 points per dollar you spend¹. You’ll also earn 2,500 points with your first purchase, 2,000 points when you enroll at myvisarewardsplus.com, and 3,500 points on each credit card anniversary. Plus you could be eligible for an additional $200 when you sign up and become a Vancity member with a payroll as your direct deposit.
If you spend $3,000 per month ($36,000 per year) with this credit card and receive 1.5 points per dollar, you’ll earn 54,000 points in the first year! And here’s how many points you’ll earn in the first year overall:
54,000 annual spend + 2,500 first purchase bonus + 2,000 enrollment bonus = 58,500
If redeemed for financial rewards (including charity), the total dollar value of those rewards in the first year is $585. If you subtract the $147 annual fee and include the $200 sign up Bonus Card, you’re left with $638.
In subsequent years, the math is the same, plus the anniversary bonus minus the sign-up bonuses, and your annual rewards are $575. That’s $428 after you subtract the annual fee.
If you wanted to use these rewards to donate to the charity of your choice, you’ll have to round down to the nearest $10, meaning you could donate $630 in the first year and $420 every year after that.
Charitable donations with the Vancity enviroFund Program
There’s another way to donate to charity just by using your card, and that’s through the enviroFund.
Every time you use an enviro Visa card, you’re contributing to this fund. Every year, Vancity donates 5% of its Visa card profits to this fund, and it uses the fund to donate to local charities and community initiatives, with a special focus on the environment and sustainable agriculture.
The enviroFund has been in place since 1990, and Vancity has shown great results. In the 15 years it’s been in operation, Vancity has contributed more than $6.2 million to the fund. Since 2007, more than $990,000 has been used to help farmers markets across Metro Vancouver, Squamish, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island with facility improvements, manager training, volunteer program expansion, and more.
Some, like the Artisan Farmers Market Society, are able to used the grant to expand their impact on local communities through an expanded vendor base and partnerships with organizations like the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation.
Flickr: Ian Muttoo