I’ve written many times about my transition from the for-profit sector to becoming the CEO of a charity, and about my hopes and aspirations for CanadaHelps. But now, after two years in this role, I have an opportunity to look back at all we have accomplished in this newest phase of growth and innovation.
I feel immensely proud that the work we’ve done has helped to level the charitable playing field, giving charities of all sizes open access to the fundraising tools they need to succeed at an affordable, non-commercial rate without prohibitive, up-front costs, and have given donors a modern platform for supporting charities they care about – whether through donations or fundraising.
The charitable landscape in Canada is constantly evolving and there is increasing demand from both donors and charities for trustworthy online giving and fundraising options with low fees (recently reduced for our charity clients, from 3.9% to 3.5%). This is the driving force behind CanadaHelps and our commitment to ongoing innovation. Our goal is to make it easy for Canadians to give to the causes that matter to them, and give charities of all sizes access to the technology and resources they need to succeed.
Making It Easier for Canadians to Give
To inspire Canadians and make it easier for them to donate and connect with the charities and causes that matter to them, CanadaHelps enhanced its services and launched a number of new online giving tools, including:
- Mobile-ready Website: New, easier-to-use, mobile-ready website gives donors a seamless way to donate cash and securities, send Charity Gift Cards, and fundraise for any registered charity.
- Crisis Relief Centre: Provides a trusted list of registered Canadian charities assisting with relief efforts during a humanitarian disaster, and ongoing updates to make it easy for Canadians to ensure their donations are going to the right place. Activated most recently for the Nepal Earthquake, where Canadians can 50 charities supporting relief efforts, and previously for Typhoon Haiyan and the West African Ebola outbreak.
- Giving Life Blog: An online community where Canadians, charities, and thought leaders can come together to share informative content and engage on all things charitable.
- Affiliate Partner Program: This allows anyone to promote a full array of online campaigns directly on their website, helping their readers discover, donate or fundraise for the charities and causes that matter to them.
- Charitable Gift Guide: Offers an extensive catalogue of charitable gift ideas that make it easy for charities to promote specific campaigns and charitable gifts that are easily discoverable by Canadians.
- Charitable Partnerships: CanadaHelps is the co-founder of GivingTuesday in Canada, and this summer, again in partnership with the GIV3 Foundation, we will launch the The Great Canadian Giving Challenge. This program is designed to motivate giving during the month of June, one of the lowest times on charitable giving.
A Year of Innovations for Charities
Over the last two years, CanadaHelps has invested in expanding the services offered to ensure charities have access to the online fundraising tools and technology they need to better empower Canadians to give. Some of these innovations include:
- Peer-to-Peer Social Fundraising (Crowdfunding): Charities can achieve all the advantages of peer-driven fundraising at a fraction of the cost of for-profit alternatives by turning supporters into fundraisers with an easy-to-use platform to launch runs, walks and virtual “thons.” It includes extensive branding, customization, administration and reporting options.
- Affordable Online Donor Acquisition and Retention Course: In partnership with digital marketing experts, CanadaHelps launched the first beginning-to-end Online Donor Acquisition and Retention Course affordably priced for charities.
- Fundraise Now Buttons: A turn-key tool that allows charities to invite their supporters to instantly fundraise for their organization, and gives individuals the opportunity to create an online fundraiser for their birthday, a personal challenge, or for any reason at all.
- CRM Integration: Enabled database integration with two of the most commonly used Constituent Relationship Management databases – Salesforce and Raiser’s Edge – saves charities time and allows automatic synchronization across tools.
- Data-Driven Fundraising: A generous grant of $413,300 over 36 months from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF), an agency of the Government of Ontario, will allow CanadaHelps to develop tools and information dashboards that will engage and inspire Canadian donors, and provide charitable organizations with research and analysis into giving practices.
Our recent innovations at CanadaHelps are part of our ongoing commitment to providing accessible and affordable online technology to both donors and charities to promote – and ultimately increase – charitable giving in Canada. Today, innovation in this area has never been more important as technology, digitization and data utility are becoming drivers of success in the charitable sector. CanadaHelps has also achieved accreditation from Imagine Canada’s Standards Program, and joins just over 150 charities in this group. This accreditation has further cemented the organization’s trust and reliability with both Canadian donors and charities alike.
It has been a tremendous few years of growth for CanadaHelps and we are committed to continuing with fast-paced innovation in the future. In the next year, CanadaHelps will unveil a new data strategy offering insights on charitable giving trends and behaviours, and new tools, including a robust events management platform, giving charities even more access to affordable online fundraising tools.
I am looking forward to the continued growth and success of CanadaHelps.