How can a donor know which charity is good and which is bad?

 I really believe we need an independent watchdog, or much more power to the Charities Directorate. Good charities have an interest in this, because bad charities decrease the trust donors have in the charitable sector."
 Frances Lankin, former President of United Way Greater Toronto, 2007

At Charity Intelligence, our motto is: Be informed. Give intelligently. Have impact. We see these as the basic building blocks for donors to be able to strengthen the charitable sector and produce a better Canadian society.

In order to have the most impact with their giving, donors must give intelligently. In order to give intelligently, donors must be informed. So the question that we continually wrestle with is: what information do donors need to be informed?

In 2006, Charity Intelligence started researching and analysing charities, gathering the data that we believed was most important.  We gathered information on charities’ management and operations, analyzed financial data, and dug into available information on the social results produced by charities – the impact of the charities’ programs.


The essential information about a charity is the clients it serves, the work it undertakes, and the results it achieves - how the charity helps to change lives. Providing this information for donors is called "social results" reporting. This is far more important than fundraising costs and administrative overhead, in our opinion. Yet this critical information is often not disclosed.

Charity Intelligence assesses a charity's social results from the information posted on its website and in annual reports, newsletters, impact reports, etc. We believe all donors should have access to results information, whether they donate $20 or $100,000. We encourage charities to publicly post annual results for all to read. 

We also assess charities' demonstrated impact per dollar donated so that donors can understand what is likely to happen because of their generosity. Is the charity likely to use their donation to create a lot of change or just a little, or is it impossible to tell? We know that donors want to know what impact the charities they support are having, so we let them know what impact the charities have demonstrated. For more information on our impact assessment, see social impact ratings (In side menu: For Charities).

Occasionally, in doing specific projects for donors, Charity Intelligence reaches out to a charity for information. This is new for charities and we are happy to answer questions.



If you receive a request from Charity Intelligence asking for information, I would recommend that you give everything it asks for.

Charity Intelligence has been a wonderful source of endorsements that has led to literally hundreds of thousands of dollars for Fresh Start since 2010. Many high net worth donors rely on the information that Charity Intelligence publishes as they have faith in their process, principles and managment team.

Congratulations on being noticed!

Wayne Steer, Director of Fund Development, Fresh Start Recovery Centre 2014

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Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors to be informed and give intelligently. Our website posts free reports on more than 800 Canadian charities, as well as in-depth primers on philanthropic sectors like Canada’s environment, cancer, and homelessness. Today over 500,000 Canadians use our website as a go-to source for information on Canadian charities reading over 1.6 million charity reports. Through rigorous and independent research, Charity Intelligence aims to assist Canada’s dynamic charitable sector in being more transparent, accountable and focused on results.


Be Informed. Give Intelligently. Have Impact


Charitable Registration Number: 80340 7956 RR0001