On November 30th, we celebrated a remarkable milestone – reaching $1 billion raised for charities in Canada since CanadaHelps’ inception in 2000.
CanadaHelps was founded in 2000 by 3 idealistic students who wanted to bring the .com boom to the charitable world. It grew steadily over the years, and became a widely adopted platform for smaller charities to process donations online.
When I started at CanadaHelps in 2013, having come from 20 years in media and technology roles, CanadaHelps did very little of what it does today. If you hadn’t been paying attention to this change, you might not even recognize it as the same organization! At that time in 2013, we set out to do far more than processing donations for charities through our website. We knew we needed to tackle some of the critical needs charities were facing in the new digital age: helping charities build their capacity and become sustainable in the new economy.
These are just a few of the highlights of what we did during this time that contributed to $1 billion dollars:
- Built critical tools for charities to fundraise online, including embeddable, bilingual Customizable Donation Forms; a Peer-to-Peer Fundraising platform; a Ticketed Events tool with split-receipting capabilities; and customized reports for CRM integration.
- Re-launched our donor-facing website that is now visited by 2 million people each year. Donors can visit our beautiful Charity Profile pages to learn about charities and their impact, make single or monthly donations, make gifts to one or many charities in a single transaction, fundraise, send charity gift cards, and so much more.
- Enabled donations of securities for all charities.
- Built an email list of 450,000+ engaged Canadians that care about the success of charities and CanadaHelps.
- Created donor engagement and charity discovery opportunities through our Giving Life blog; Personalized Discovery and Popular Now tools; personalized giving dashboards; webinars for Canadians; charitable gift catalogues; and The Giving Report.
- Co-launched GivingTuesday Canada and The Great Canadian Giving Challenge, raising donations significantly for each of those campaigns in each year since.
- Supported capacity-building through education with our free webinars and workshops, white papers, and low cost Donor Acquisition and Retention online course.
These are just some of the things we’ve achieved with our small, but extremely dedicated team, and it certainly won’t be all we do.
Before I came to work at CanadaHelps, I was not fully aware of the tremendous role charities play in the lives of Canadians, nor what is really at stake if charities don’t succeed. My desire to educate and inform Canadians, to do more to help charities (especially the smaller ones) be sustainable, and to lend a voice in various initiatives is what has kept me here. Our staff and our Board are united in a genuine desire to help charities and to engage Canadians in the charitable sector.
Thank you to the 2 million Canadians who have chosen to support charities through CanadaHelps and enable their essential work. And thank you to the 19,000+ charity partners that have chosen to work with us over the past 18 years. I’m so grateful to live in a country that has a charitable sector as strong and diverse as the one in Canada, and so grateful for all the work charities do. The staff and volunteers work day in and day out with seemingly unending dedication to their causes, persevering against all odds. To all of you, yours is the light that shines on all of us and makes us better people and a better country.