A reading list to help you unwind – and inspire you – this holiday season

What a year! There are many reasons we may look back on 2016 as a period that saw encouraging social change in Canada and around the world, including in Canada’s philanthropic sector. Yet we will also surely remember it as a year of immense political upheaval that will doubtless affect the social sector (and social order) for many years to come. Regardless of how you feel as this capricious year nears its end, we expect many of you will look to the holiday season as an opportunity to decompress and unplug.

We hope the 12 articles in our annual holiday reading list will serve as a reassuring companion as you disentangle from 2016 and slowly begin preparations for the year ahead. Our list includes a number of our favourite pieces from The Philanthropist, most circulated during the second half of 2016, as well as a “jealousy list” of articles we wish we’d have published. We have also included some thoughts from our friends to the south; hoping these pieces offer advice and lessons that we can apply here at home.

Finally, in the spirit of encouraging some holiday rest and relaxation, we end our list with a piece by Elizabeth Renzetti about the importance of setting aside our devices and simply enjoying the moment. We’ll be doing just that for the next couple weeks, taking Renzetti’s “post-nothing” advice until early January.

So happy holidays and happy new year from all of us at The Philanthropist. Thank you for your loyalty, engagement, and insights in 2016.

Susan, Malcolm, Gordon, Leslie, Jillian & Danny

Donation Incentives: The Canadian Advantage

Malcolm Burrows

An essential reminder during the holiday giving season, this piece notes that Canada has the most generous tax incentives for charitable giving in the world, even if their nature and extent are largely unknown to Canadians.

Drops in the Soil, Not in the Bucket: The Case for Borderless Indigenous Philanthropy

Evelyn Arce and James Stauch

The 11th article in our series on Indigenous Communities and Philanthropy, guest edited by The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, looks at how philanthropy can address global environmental and cultural changes.

From “Please” to “Thank You;” From “Thank You” to “Please”: Cultivating Major Donors – A Long-Term Partnership

David Baker

This piece from our archives about the “Ten Commandments of Fundraising” provides another essential reminder during the holiday giving season, this time about the crucial need to understand donor motivations and the importance of good stewardship.

Foreign Activities by Canadian Registered Charities: Challenges and Options for Reform

Andrew Valentine

The final piece in our series on “Canadian Charities Working Internationally,” outlines the challenges with the current “direction and control” rules that apply to Canadian charities working abroad.

Advancing Health Equity through Benefits Screening

Lilian Knorr

The sixth piece in our series on Poverty and Human Rights in Canada assesses advancements in benefits screening – a system of auditing patients to identify those living in poverty and the benefits they may be eligible for – and highlights some examples that are incorporating human rights principles to advance health care equity and improve health outcomes.

Reflections on the Role of Non-profit Associations in a Representative Democracy

Barbara K. Bucholtz

In a year that saw plenty of political disruption, this article from the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy unpacks the vital role that charities and non-profits play in strengthening democracy.

The Future of Philanthropy

Is a new gospel of giving on the rise? Eight philanthropic thinkers weigh in as part of this special feature in The Nation.

Philanthropy and the Social Economy: Blueprint 2017

Lucy Bernholz

This annual industry forecast is an assessment of the ways we use private resources for public benefit. It provides an overview of the current landscape, points to major trends, and directs our attention to possible breakthroughs in the coming year.

The Sector in Action: Charities’ Role in Settling Refugees

Emily Cordeaux

Following the expedited resettlement of 25,000 Syrian refugees at the beginning of 2016, Imagine Canada spoke with four sector leaders about their involvement in supporting Syrian refugees.

Darren Walker: Using privilege to fight privilege

Jonathan Capehart

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker is pushing his colleagues – and the sector – to consider how philanthropy reinforces inequality. This piece also includes a podcast interview with Walker.

Let’s Smash the Overhead Myth

Victoria Pilger

This article argues that those working in the non-profit sector need to improve how we communicate to funders, especially when it comes to the “true costs of achieving impact.”

See it. Shoot it. Post it. Share it. Why not just enjoy the moment?

Elizabeth Renzetti

The Globe and Mail columnist asks what an undocumented day would look like, in a world where countless moments are shared daily on Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter.

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Danny Glenwright is the Managing Editor of The Philanthropist.