2022 Giving Insights: Charity Intelligence's Donor Survey Results

2022 Giving Insights: Charity Intelligence's Donor Survey Results

Charity Intelligence's 2022 survey measures how our research and reports posted on the Charity Intelligence website inform and influence giving. The number of completed surveys more than doubled from the 2019 survey to 1,407. Survey engagement was very high with 33% of respondents volunteering additional feedback on what they liked and what they wanted improved.

The 2022 survey results show four key findings:

1. 89% of respondents find the charity reporting informed their giving. Across all information categories donors find Charity Intelligence's research 'very useful'. 'Very useful' responses were three times higher than 'useful'.

2. 70% of respondents change their giving after reading a charity report. Their giving changes to charities with higher impact and higher star ratings. Underlying this change, our impact scores have greater influence than the overall star rating.

3. Donors double the impact of their giving when their giving changes. In moving support away from charities with low or fair impact to charities with good or high impact, giving picks up in its social return on investment.

4. Charity Intelligence's work continues to have high impact. Relative to the $570,000 in our annual spending, Charity Intelligence's ratings and impact measurement creates an estimated value of $16 million.

Learn more: 2022 Giving Insights Report in pdf format

Donors and funders use these survey results to measure and evaluate Charity Intelligence's work and impact.


1. Charity reports close the information gaps

Most Canadians are happy with their giving, but 27% have questions about how charities spend money and the impact charities have. With these unanswered information gaps, Canadians are not giving as much as they could or as much as they would like to, according to Statistics Canada.

Charity Intelligence's website has reports on 803 charities with 280 impact assessments. These charity reports received 1.7 million page views in fiscal 2022.

89% feel better informed about their giving after reading a Charity Intelligence report. The 2022 survey results of 89% compare with 81% in 2019 and 77% in 2016.


'Very useful' across the board

In addition to the overall star rating, to give donors holistic information, our reports on charities cover eight additional topics. Donors find this information 'very useful'. The sentiment is strong. The 'very useful' response is three times higher than 'somewhat useful'.

Better informed donors strengthens philanthropy.



 2. 70% of respondents change their giving

It is always a challenge to measure whether research has influence. Too many research reports lie unread and unused in the internet's vast digital server banks. To be influential, research must change behaviour. Changing behaviour is hard. By nature, donors feel affinity and loyalty to the charity they support.

70% change their giving after reading a Charity Intelligence report. 30% say they will continue to give the same amount with no change (37% no change in 2019 survey).

This change is an outstandingly high figure. The change is coming from four segments of donors:

  • Changemakers (32%) move their giving from one charity to another,
  • Discoverers (20%) find new charities to support that they had not given to before,
  • Donors who give more to a charity (12%), and
  • Donors who give less (6%).

21% of respondents plan to increase their giving

Do charity ratings hurt giving? Our survey data on the change in giving provides solid evidence that charity ratings actually increase giving. This supports Statistics Canada's report on how unaddressed information gaps hold back giving.

Here is how the survey responses show 21% of respondents plan to increase their giving:

  • 6% said they would give less to the charity they viewed.
  • Yet 69% of these people said they would make up the difference by giving to another charity (53% would make up the difference in the 2019 survey).
  • Of the Discoverers who found a new charity to support, 54% said this was new giving on top of their annual planned giving. This is another 11% of donors who plan to give more.
  • And another 12% said they would give more to the charity they viewed.

This adds up to a net 21% increase in those who intend to increase their giving. To clarify, this is 21% of respondents who intend to give more, not a 21% increase in giving.

In the 2016 survey we asked detailed questions and got a lower response rate. The detailed answers from our 2016 survey showed that, when using ratings, donors increased their giving by 32%. The 2022 survey was shorter and omitted the detailed questions that enable us to calculate the change in giving.

Donors are giving intelligently 

Is this change in giving a positive change? The survey data shows that donors are giving to higher rated charities but not always.

  • 78% plan to give to a charity with a higher star rating, and 
  • 11% plan to change their giving to a charity with a lower star rating.

Our star ratings are highest for charities that are financially transparent, have world-class disclosure in their annual reports about outputs and outcomes, and meet reasonable financial metrics. Those donors that planned to change their giving moved from giving to a charity with an average star rating of 2.5 to a charity with an average star rating of 4.1.

One insight into donors' giving worth highlighting: on the 280 charities where we have an impact score, donors are more influenced by the impact score that the overall star rating. Where we have measured impact, 83% of donors planned to change their giving to a charity with a higher impact score compared with a 78% influence of star ratings.


3. Donors' giving has higher impact

Giving for impact is a new way of giving. Impact is not about salaries or cents to the cause. Impact instead is about giving with an expectation of results for those a charity serves. It is about giving that is more effective, more productive and makes a more measurable difference.

Charity Intelligence believes that, from the data and analysis we see, donors do not need to give more money to create a better world; the money we already give needs to do more good, be more effective, have more impact. This often entails changing which charities we support.

Giving and getting higher impact is the essence of Charity Intelligence's work. This is where our research reports create high impact.

When donors change their giving, their giving has higher impact. In assessing the demonstrated impact of the charity they were giving to in contrast to the charity they changed to, their giving did more good. Charity Intelligence uses social return on investment (SROI) models to measure the difference a charity makes.

  • The Changemakers, who are 32% of donors using our website, moved their giving from a charity with an average SROI of 1.2 to a charity with an average SROI of 2.7 for a pickup in SROI of 1.6. These Changemakers more than doubled the impact of their giving.
  • The Give More Donors see their giving have an average SROI of 3.0.
  • The Discoverers segment of donors get the highest impact on their giving. This is the segment of 20% of donors that discover new charities to support on our website. We guess this is through our annual lists, the Top Impact and Top 100 Highest Rated charities. 9% moved their giving from one charity to a new charity with an average SROI of 3.1. In doing so, their giving more than doubled its impact. 11% in new giving went to charities with an average SROI of 3.1.

4. Charity Intelligence's work has high impact

Charity Intelligence's work continues to have high impact. From all of the changes in giving described above, our ratings and impact measurement create an estimated $16 million in social value. Relative to the $570,000 in our annual spending, this is an estimated SROI of 28:1.



Of the 1,407 completed surveys, 471 respondents took the time and wrote free-form comments on what they liked, what they did not like, and what they wanted improved. The largest feedback was "love it", "eye-opener", and "don't change anything". Others provided feedback that they want more information on charities and more charities assessed. As for doing more charities, we need more funding to hire staff which we are working on.


About the survey

1,407 people completed the 2022 survey which ran from mid-October through December 2022 during the Giving Season. The 2019 and 2016 surveys ran for similar durations in the Giving Season.

This information from our clients is crucial. In this digital age, we work for 501,000 people who we have never met who used our website in fiscal 2022. Each person's giving is diverse, not only by size but also by sophistication. We strive for our reports to be as useful to the professional staff at a granting foundation as they are for Millennial first-time donors.

This survey is a vital connection. The survey acts as a check-in with those we serve and it is a reality test on our strategy. It also provides valuable insights into donors' giving. Rather than academic research with hypothetical giving, this is information from real people making hard decisions with their own money.

People use Charity Intelligence's website exactly as we mapped out all those years ago. People are taking time to read, to compare charities and to learn new things. Donors are being informed, they are giving intelligently, and having higher impact. So far, it is a good start.


Learn more

If you would like more information beyond these key highlights of the 2022 survey, please get in touch. We love talking data and digging into the deeper findings. Greg Thomson Director of Research This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



To you, who use Charity Intelligence's website and completed the 2022 survey,

Thank you so much for volunteering your time to complete the survey. Your giving, how much money you give, and the charities you choose to support are deeply personal questions. We value your trust in us and your effort to give us such detailed information about your giving, how it is changing, and what influences you to change. The information you share with us gives us unique insights into giving.

We feel honoured to serve you. Your feedback and suggestions on how our research can improve are in progress. We hope to have better features for you by April 2023.

As always, please feel welcome to get in touch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . We love hearing from you.

Thank you.



Details matter

The data in the surveys is not perfectly comparable, particularly in comparing whether donors find Charity Intelligence's reports useful. The 2022 and 2019 surveys asked if donors feel more informed, whereas the 2016 survey asked if donors feel more confident. Furthermore, the 2016 and 2019 surveys had a fifth 'other category' for this question while the 2022 survey only had four potential answers. In all surveys people were given the option to skip the question.



Martin Turcotte, Spotlight on Canadians, Table 8 89-625-x Statistics Canada, 2015

If you find Charity Intelligence’s research useful in your giving, please donate to support our work. Being funded by donors like you maintains our independence to help Canadians be informed in their giving. Canadians donate over $18 billion each year. This giving could achieve tremendous results. We hope Charity Intelligence’s research helps Canadians give better.


About Charity Intelligence: Our mission is to be your go-to trusted source for information on Canadian charities. With independent and objective ratings and reviews on over 800 Canadian charities, Charity Intelligence helps Canadians be informed donors. Charity Intelligence’s website ranks fourth worldwide in charity analysis and evaluation. In fiscal 2022, 370,790 Canadian donors used Charity Intelligence’s website that informed and influenced an estimated $112 million in giving.

Be Informed. Give Intelligently. Have Impact.

Charity Registration number 80340 7956 RR0001



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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