Charity Intelligence Canada (Ci) began out of frustration in 2006. We wanted more information about charities we supported. Not stories but rather facts and figures. We struggled to find high quality evidence-based research to help guide our giving decisions. Nor could we find an independent third party to turn to for advice. And so we began calling charities from across Canada, asking hard questions and seeking excellence and shared our research reports.
Our approach to charitable giving is different. Just as a financial analyst researches potential stocks to find the best investment opportunities, Ci uses similar research methods to find exceptional charities for donors. As a result, donors have the tools they need to be better informed and make donations based on evidence. This means that more of what donors can afford to give makes a bigger difference, it has higher social impact.
Charity Intelligence's analysis goes beyond plain subjectivity or narrow financial analysis to dig deeper to arrive at those charities proven to be the best in their field: not just 'do gooders' but 'good doers', too.
2022 Highlight of Results: A Sensational Year
Budget 2022: $4.8 billion estimated in new funding to charities.
The biggest highlight of the year was the government’s decision to restore the payout rate back to 5% in Budget 2022. We estimate this legislative change will see charities receive an additional $4.8 billion in funding between 2023-2028. To often Canadians are unaware of dull charity regulations or how small tweaks in policy can benefit the sector. For the past two years Charity Intelligence had advocated for a higher payout rate before Parliamentary Committees, in submissions to Finance Canada, and on the airwaves of CBC Radio’s breakfast shows. This work only took a few weeks of our time over the last two years. Yet it has a massive measurable impact on increasing giving.
Our analysis on Canada’s Catholic Church for the Globe and Mail is a finalist for the Mitchener Award, Canada’s highest award for excellence in public journalism. We are immensely proud of how our financial analysis of charities can support social justice.
With the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Canadians turned to Charity Intelligence on how best to donate. Our recommendations were shared by CBC News and created a tsunami in website visits, seven times higher volume than any previous surge. Our website did not crash. Technical errors always get noticed; technical successes should also be cheered.
Website visits for F2022 again set a high-water mark of 624,300, 6% higher than 587,100 in F2021. People (unique website visitors) using Charity Intelligence’s research topped 500,000 for the first time at 502,000. This marks five-fold growth since F2014 when we were thrilled to help 91,500 people. Website page views were flat at 1.761 million compared with 1.767 million in F2021.
For our donors and funders, website visits are the most important metric that contributes to Charity Intelligence’s results and impact. We estimate our research reports informed and influenced $112 million in giving. Charity Intelligence’s website is the “go-to trusted source for information on Canadian charities”.
A huge thank you to the donors who fund our research that made these sensational results possible in F2022.
Financial review: Charity Intelligence is a small charity with $587,830 in revenues in fiscal 2022 (our year-end is June, aligned with other donor service charities like Charity Navigator, CanadaHelps, and New Philanthropy Capital to help benchmarking). 94% of our funding comes from donors and foundations, 3% in funding comes from a $20 subscription fee that opens the paywall to see all the charity ratings. The other 3% is federal government funding under Canada Summer Jobs grants to hire university students. Revenues include $64,623 in flow-through grants donors specify goes to the charity they choose. We exclude this designated flow-through.
Funding for Charity Intelligence’s operations was $523,207, a decline from $802,500 in F2020 and $564,100 in F2021. Funders very generously stocked up Charity Intelligence’s reserves at the outbreak of covid and we received more funding than we could spend effectively.
Charity research and analysis is our largest cost. We spend 91% on charity research, 5% on administration and 3% on fundraising costs. For every dollar donated, 91 cents is spent on charity research and analysis. These ratios exclude flow-through donor grants.
In F2022 we drew on our funding reserves and spent $594,697 primarily on hiring two full-time impact analysts and our first social media advertising campaign, Give Different.
We ended June 2022 with $558,000 in funding reserves which cover our research costs for 1.1 years. After the year end, we received significant funding of $200,000. This gives us a solid base to get more work done in F2023.
Measuring impact is Charity Intelligence’s largest area of spending - $263,600 in F2022 55% of research costs. Charity Intelligence’s website shows 280 impact assessments on Canadian charities. This could be the world’s largest consistent impact tool for donors.
There were no new impact assessments completed in F2022. F2022 was spent evaluating our impact model and we are improving the documentation and referenced evidence reports. This is hard work and, perhaps like home renovations, is taking longer than planned.
In F2022, in response to emails from donors asking deeper questions about how we measure impact on a specific charity, we posted impact reports on four of our Top Impact charities. To date, donors have not shown significant interest (clicks) in these detailed reports on individual charities.
Charity Intelligence’s second team is results and ratings. In F2022 ratings spend was $170,000 which is 35% of research costs. Charity ratings do not take the same deep analysis and are done by bright summer students trained in the Ci Way. We updated 436 charity reports over the summer, compared to 416 charity updates in 2021. This output is a modest 5% increase. With a team of 7 analysts, our output dropped to 62 charity reports per analyst. This is below our goal of 80-90 per analyst. One explanation is higher engagement with charities. Higher engagement takes time but it gives you a better research report. In 2022, 148 charities had follow-up email questions and comments about our update, and we had management discussions with 70 charities. Again, your feedback is consistent, you want more updates to show the most recent charity results. We'll aim to do more charity updates in F2023.
For donors who focus on charity salaries, salaries are Charity Intelligence’s highest cost, 84%. In F2022 we spent $442,753 on salaries. We will continue to hire research analysts. While we leverage technology for maximum productivity, we use highly trained, brilliant Canadians to analyze charities rather than data scrapes. We know this generates better data and higher quality information that you need for your giving.
Subsequent event: In the 2022 Giving Season from October to December 2022 (after the financial year end), we ran a third feedback survey to understand how you are using Charity Intelligence’s website. The results far exceed our wildest dreams and expectations. It is both thrilling and humbling how much you embrace intelligent giving. These survey results are discussed in detail in 2022 Donor Giving Insights.
Learn more about the rise of the social investor and intelligent giving in articles by Harvard Business Review 2003 and The Economist's 2006 Special Report on Giving.
"Seizing the non-profit sectors opportunity to be far more productive may also require the creation of new institutions which would make performance information widely available to donors."
Harvard Business Review 2003, The US Non-profit sectors $100 billion opportunity.
2021 Highlights of Results
Impact analysis on 280 charities. This could be the most, consistent impact information for donors in the world. Looking past overhead ratios, impact measures the difference your giving makes. It’s not how much you give, but how much good your giving does. We calculate that, if you give to High Impact charities, your giving does +7X more good. Please check out the 2021 Top Impact charities – these charities are truly inspiring and many may be charities you haven't heard of. Website visits at an all-time high of 587,100. More Canadians than ever use our research and ratings to give intelligently, a 19% year-over-year increase. For context, approximately 400,000 attended Woodstock in 1969 and 584,000 attended Winnipeg Jets hockey games pre-covid.
Charity Intelligence's website is the “go-to trusted source for information on Canadian charities.” Globally, Charity Intelligence is the world’s fourth most visited charity research and evaluation website. Our first social media campaign, Give Different, is running during the 2021 Giving Season so more people can learn about Charity Intelligence. Please tell your friends and family about Charity Intelligence – nothing is more powerful than word of mouth – and share this email and our posts on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love you to be a Ci super spreader.
We updated 416 charity reports over the summer. This gives you the most recent and relevant information at your fingertips to make your giving decisions. We hope to crank this up in 2022 as both donors and charities want more frequent updates. Our charity research informed an estimated $103 million in Canadian giving by our estimate - 0.6% of total Canadian giving of around $17 billion. There’s lots more work to do!
Charity Intelligence’s total operating costs in 2021 were only $419,000. We are focused and frugal, using digital tools to deliver high impact on your generous support.
Every dollar you gave to Charity Intelligence informed $246 of giving - a 38% improvement over 2020’s $178 – yet below the 5-year average of $290. Still, this is phenomenally high impact on your funding.
Financial Review: Charity Intelligence is a small charity with donations of $572,945 in F2021 (our financial year ends June 30). Total operating costs were $419,000 and $56,764 in donor-designated grants to charities. The single largest cost is research costs - impact measurement analysts cost $244,015 and charity ratings cost $84,876. Salaries are our highest cost - we use trained analysts rather than data scrapes to do charity research. We believe this gives you higher quality research and reports. Ci paid $345,639 in total compensation to three full-time staff, eight summer interns and one part-time staff. Another $21,821 was paid in professional fees to our auditor, financial controller, lawyer, and for insurance. Indirect research costs of $61,026 include the Give Different campaign, website maintenance and hosting, and legal advice. Charity Intelligence's administrative costs were 4.6% of total revenues and fundraising costs were 0.2% of donations. Overhead spending was 4.8% with 95 cents going to the cause.
Charity Intelligence has $579,165 in funding reserves that cover 1.5 years of program spending. For more detailed information, read Charity Intelligence's 2021 audited financial statements and the rating and review of Charity Intelligence.
Thank you for your incredible support of Charity Intelligence. While most people said that doing charity research was pointless, “who cares”, or “who has the time to research a charity”, you believed in intelligent giving for impact. You saw the opportunity for data analytics to improve our giving and make Canada's philanthropic sector stronger and more dynamic. Your support makes charity research, ratings and reports happen – and helps transform Canadian giving.
Our Mission To provide Canadian donors with information that helps them make informed and intelligent giving decisions to have the greatest impact. To this end, we try our best: To undertake the highest-quality, independent research and analysis we are capable of, to provide insights for donors. To listen to donors, to understand each donor's individual hopes and concerns and provide whatever help we can to assist their giving. To always be respectful of Canadian charities, to respect their decisions and recognize the challenges they face. You have to be humble in what we're doing, but you have to be bold...We will get out there and try something. If it doesn't work, we will try something else. And we will keep trying until we find something that works. Melinda Gates, Co-Chair & Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationContact Us Work Opportunities Audited Financial Statements Subscribe to our Newsletter