In F2012, Charity Intelligence’s Research Department analyzed 179 charities, including 117 updates of previously-analyzed charities. This compares with 214 charities analyzed in F2011 (including 79 updates) when we did the majority of our work on the Major 100 Charities, and 142 charities analyzed in F2010 (including 57 updates).
In November, 2011 we launched our online searchable database along with the capability for donors to request the analysis of specific charities. As of Feb. 2013, we have 246 charities listed in our database, compared to 145 at the end of F2012. Our goal is to reach 1,000 charities in our database by the end of 2014. By the end of F2012, we had received requests for 695 different charity analyses from 1,144 unique donors.
Our research team also released 2 major reports in F2012, our Top Picks 2011, highlighting 33 top-performing charities from our annual analysis, and our Major 100 Charities, providing overview information on the 100 Canadian charities receiving the most in donations from Canadians. Plans for F2013 include reports on Social Results Reporting, Environmental Charities, and Charity Lotteries.
Website visitors to our site nearly doubled in F2012 to 65,224, up from 33,100 in F2011 and 21,033 in F2010. As well, visitors stayed on our site longer, viewing an average of 4.7 pages per visit in F2012, up from 3.0 in F2011 and 3.3 in F2010. Overall, this amounts to over 300k pageviews in F2012, up more than 3 times from just under 100k in F2011.
Public Education was achieved through significant media exposure throughout the year. Ci staff and volunteers appeared on 8 major CBC radio and TV shows, in 2 prominent Globe & Mail articles, a series of Toronto Star articles, and a prominent Calgary Herald story, a Canada AM television interview, as well as interviews on 680 News, News Talk 1010, Zoomer Radio, and BNN.
While it is very difficult to assess the on-going impact of our work at Charity Intelligence, we started to measure a couple of new metrics in F2012. One important impact of Ci’s work can be seen in transparency. Since the release of our Major 100 Charities, we have seen a dramatic improvement in the financial transparency of charities in Canada. When Charity Intelligence began scoring Canada’s major charities on financial transparency, 30% initially did not provide financial information to the public. In privately sharing these scores with each charity, 18 charities changed their disclosure practice within a matter of weeks. One charity responded, “All we have to do is put our financial statements on our website and we go from a one to a three?” Today, 82% of Canada’s major charities publicly disclose audited financial statements. With a simple score on transparency, Charity Intelligence helped change sector practices.
A second impact can be seen in donations to high-performing charities. In the fall of 2012 we surveyed the charities that we picked as Top Pick Charities in 2011 and asked them what impact the Top Picks designation had had on their charity. We received responses from 82% of charities and 62% provided data on donations known to have come as a result of Ci’s Top Pick designation. Charities reported, on average, that donations directly caused by their Top Pick status amounted to 2.3% of total donations. This represents over $1.1m in donations influenced by Charity Intelligence.
Apart from attracting new donations, charities mentioned numerous benefits to being chosen as a Top Pick Charity. From an open-ended question about the benefits, 67% of respondents mentioned an increased awareness and credibility in their community. The second most significant benefit was donor retention, specifically mentioned by 33% of respondents. Other benefits mentioned numerous times were the learning experience for their organization from participating in Ci’s Top Picks process, as well as volunteer acquisition and retention.
On the negative side, a couple of charities mentioned that they were disappointed that the designation did not attract more donations to their charity and one charity mentioned that some of their supporters questioned Ci’s metrics and what the designation actually means. Ci has followed up with these charities to help us better understand how we can improve our process and impact.