Technology is playing a major role in the giving of tomorrow, and eventually in our lifetime, all giving will move online. This has become even more apparent in recent months, when much of the world’s businesses, charities, and even family interactions were forced online in the COVID-19 pandemic.
This week, we officially launched Cause Funds by CanadaHelps, the newest innovative step we’ve taken to harness the power of technology, give Canadians more ways to easily give with confidence, and to respond proactively to changing preferences in giving, especially with younger people, in a way that meets their lifestyle, expectations, and interests.
What are Cause Funds?
This new way to give enables donors to make an impact for a cause they care about by making a single donation in support of a group of charities focused on the same cause. Donations made to a particular Cause Fund are pooled and then distributed equally among the registered charities in the Fund. Cause Funds democratize support for the charitable sector by easily connecting Canadian donors to the causes they are passionate about while supporting charities of all sizes. Donors can have confidence knowing money will be going where it is intended, stewarded by charities across Canada.
We know from our own research in The Giving Report, and numerous other studies, that the charitable sector in Canada and around the world is currently experiencing a crisis. Donations are declining, and younger donors are not engaging in charitable giving in the same way older generations have (though not for lack of passion about social change!).
Cause Funds aim to address these trends by providing an easy and convenient way to connect donors and charities around the causes they care about, while ensuring that critical funding reaches the Canadian charities that need it. We see growing amounts of money going into platforms like crowdfunding where there is far less accountability and oversight around when the money is delivered, and how the money is spent. Cause Funds provide greater transparency, authenticity, and trust throughout the giving process by ensuring that only registered Canadian charities receive donated funds. Donations made to Cause Funds are sent directly to eligible charities, and tax receipts are automatically issued to donors.
We launched Cause Funds for a few other reasons:
- Cause Funds help even out the distribution of giving, enabling more donations to go to smaller charities. 91% of charities in Canada are small, with fewer than 10 staff, but they only receive 57% of the donations made in this country and 4% of government funding. Much in the way the trend in financial investments is towards “index” funds, our Cause Funds are based on an index-style aggregation of smaller charities, enabled by a technology platform.
- For some donors, researching charities and gaining clear information in order to decide which ones to support is a deterrent to giving. With 86,000 charities in Canada, choosing the one(s) to support can be an overwhelming decision. For these people that may be deterred from giving, we thought, “how can we make this easier?”
- Cause Funds are also a powerful way to enable giving in a crisis. We know from The Giving Report that Canadians are incredibly generous in times of crisis, but identifying charities responding — especially the smaller organizations that often have more focused missions — can be both challenging and time consuming. When COVID-19 hit Canada, we were able to give people a way to give with confidence to this crisis. Combined with a generous matching donation from Gore Mutual Foundation, our early COVID-19 Cause Funds for Health Care and Community Care raised nearly $5 million. Shortly after, we were able to launch the Black Solidarity Fund for the many Canadians wanting to support Black communities in the wake of the killing of George Floyd; this Fund has raised nearly $2 million from donors and our match partner, P&G.
What Causes Can I support on CanadaHelps?
Now more than ever, Canadians also want transparency to ensure they can trust that their donations are going to the right organizations and advancing the causes that are important to them. CanadaHelps has introduced 29 Cause Funds to date, and plans to launch new Funds on an ongoing basis to address emerging crises and current events.
- COVID-19 Charity Innovation and Adaptation Fund – Charities have been hit hard by COVID-19. In Canada, 1 in 5 Canadian charities have already suspended operations or stopped programs,1 and some have already closed their doors permanently. Right now across Canada, charities are finding creative solutions to adapt to COVID-19 in the short term, and innovate to find long term solutions, ensuring their critical work is not lost. Learn more about this cause.
- Indigenous Culture and Language Resurgence in the Canadian North Fund – Recent events have shown us all that we must take steps to deconstruct the colonial roots of Canada and the systemic racism that has ensued. Indigenous Peoples have been some of the most oppressed and marginalized in this country, and yet are in a period of cultural and political resurgence. Learn more about this cause.
- Housing for All in Alberta and Housing for All in Vancouver Funds – Alberta is in the midst of a housing crisis, with more than 2,900 people in Calgary and 1,900 people in Edmonton experiencing homelessness. The skyrocketing cost of rent, job loss, and social issues have created a homelessness crisis in Vancouver, with more than 2,100 people experiencing homelessness (40% of whom identify as Indigenous). Learn more about this cause.
- Literacy for All Fund – In Canada, 17% of adults between 16 to 65 years of age struggle with low levels of literacy. Learn more about this cause.
- Life with Alzheimer’s Fund – Across Canada, there are more than 747,000 people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s. Learn more about this cause.
- Removing Barriers for People with Visual Impairments Fund – An estimated 1.5 million Canadians live with vision loss and 5.5 million more Canadians live with a condition which could cause loss of vision. Learn more about this cause.
- Autism Community Support Fund – Approximately 1 in 66 children in Canada between the ages of 5 and 17 are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and face challenges associated with social. Learn more about this cause.
- End Hunger Fund – 1 in 8 households in Canada are food insecure and struggling to put food on the table. Learn more about this cause.
- Protect the Environment Fund – Less than 11 percent of Canada’s plastics get recycled; the rest end up in our lakes, parks, landfills, and oceans, destroying ecosystems and leaching toxic chemicals. Learn more about this cause.
- Stand Up for Mental Health Fund – An estimated 1 in 5 Canadians will struggle with mental health this year. Learn more about this cause.
- Animal Welfare Fund – 45,000 animal cruelty complaints are made in Canada every year, and many more animals in Canada are living in harmful situations. Thousands of vulnerable animals need your help to survive and thrive. Learn more about this cause.
- Confronting Cancer Together – On average, 617 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer every day, and each diagnosis brings with it a number of challenges to contend with. Learn more about this cause.
- Healthy Hearts Fund – Heart disease is the second leading cause of death in Canada, with more than 250,000 Canadians living with congenital heart disease, and nearly 750,000 Canadian adults over age 20 live with the effects of a stroke. Learn more about this cause.
- LGTBQ+ Pride – In Canada, and around the world, homophobia and transphobia persist, contributing to violence, discrimination, stigma, and significantly increased suicide rates (especially for queer youth). Learn more about this cause.
- Performing Arts in the Spotlight – Through the arts, communities are enriched and nourished and a sense of belonging unites us all. The stories told through the stage help us understand ourselves and each other, and they bring beauty and joy to all of our lives. Learn more about this cause.
- Stop Gender-based Violence – Gender-based violence is a public health crisis that affects women, especially those from marginalized groups, and LGBTQ+ people around the world. 1 in 3 women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence and intimate partner violence accounts for one-quarter of all police reported crimes in Canada. Learn more about this cause.
- Welcoming New Canadians – All newcomers face challenges, whether it’s learning how to navigate a new city, learning a new language, accessing healthcare or education in a new country, or simply finding a sense of belonging and community. Learn more about this cause.
- Women’s Health in Focus – Around the world and in Canada, women face unique medical risks and barriers to care. Globally, nearly 300,000 women die each year from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Learn more about this cause.