Our Story

Charity Intelligence Canada (Ci) began out of frustration in 2006.  We questioned if our own charitable giving was making a difference.  We wanted to move away from traditional giving methods toward a better way of giving.  But we could not find high quality evidence-based research to help guide our giving decisions.  Nor could we find an independent third party to turn to for advice.  And so we began calling charities from across Canada, asking hard questions and seeking excellence.

Our approach to charitable giving is different.  Just as a financial analyst researches potential stocks to find the best investment opportunities, Ci uses similar research methods to find exceptional charities for donors. Ci also helps donors create a balanced giving portfolio to best reflect their giving interests and the change they hope to achieve. As a result, donors have the tools they need to give better and get higher returns on their donations - donations based on evidence.

This means that more of what donors can afford to give goes toward making a difference.  Charity Intelligence's analysis goes beyond plain subjectivity or narrow financial analysis to dig deeper to arrive at those charities proven to be the best in their field: not just 'do gooders' but 'good doers', too.

2021 Highlights of Results

  • Impact analysis on 280 charities. This could be the most, consistent impact information for donors in the world. Looking past overhead ratios, impact measures the difference your giving makes. It’s not how much you give, but how much good your giving does. We calculate that, if you give to High Impact charities, your giving does +7X more good. Please check out the 2021 Top Impact charities – these charities are truly inspiring and many may be charities you haven't heard of. 
  • Website visits at an all-time high of 587,100. More Canadians than ever use our research and ratings to give intelligently, a 19% year-over-year increase. For context, approximately 400,000 attended Woodstock in 1969 and 584,000 attended Winnipeg Jets hockey games pre-covid. Charity Intelligence's website is the “go-to trusted source for information on Canadian charities.” Globally, Charity Intelligence is the world’s fourth most visited charity research and evaluation website.
  • Our first social media campaign, Give Different, is running during the 2021 Giving Season so more people can learn about Charity Intelligence. Please tell your friends and family about Charity Intelligence – nothing is more powerful than word of mouth – and share this email and our posts on Facebook and Twitter. We’d love you to be a Ci super spreader.
  • We updated 416 charity reports over the summer. This gives you the most recent and relevant information at your fingertips to make your giving decisions. We hope to crank this up in 2022 as both donors and charities want more frequent updates.
  • Our charity research informed an estimated $103 million in Canadian giving by our estimate -  0.6% of total Canadian giving of around $17 billion. There’s lots more work to do! Charity Intelligence’s total operating costs in 2021 were only $419,000.  We are focused and frugal, using digital tools to deliver high impact on your generous support. Every dollar you gave to Charity Intelligence informed $246 of giving -  a 38% improvement over 2020’s $178 – yet below the 5-year average of $290. Still, this is phenomenally high impact on your funding. 

Financial Review: Charity Intelligence is a small charity with donations of $572,945 in F2021 (our financial year ends June 30). Total operating costs were $419,000 and $56,764 in donor-designated grants to charities. The single largest cost is research costs - impact measurement analysts cost $244,015 and charity ratings cost $84,876.  Salaries are our highest cost - we use trained analysts rather than data scrapes to do charity research. We believe this gives you higher quality research and reports. Ci paid $345,639 in total compensation to three full-time staff,  eight summer interns and one part-time staff. Another $21,821 was paid in professional fees to our auditor, financial controller, lawyer, and for insurance Indirect research costs of $61,026 include the Give Different campaign, website maintenance and hosting, and legal advice. Charity Intelligence's administrative costs were 4.6% of total revenues and fundraising costs were 0.2% of donations. Overhead spending was 4.8% with 95 cents going to the cause. Charity Intelligence has $579,165 in funding reserves that cover 1.5 years of program spending. For more detailed information, read Charity Intelligence's 2021 audited financial statements and the rating and review of Charity Intelligence

Thank you for your incredible support of Charity Intelligence. While most people said that doing charity research was pointless, “who cares”, or “who has the time to research a charity”, you believed in intelligent giving for impact. You saw the opportunity for data analytics to improve our giving and make Canada's philanthropic sector stronger and more dynamic. 

Your support makes charity research, ratings and reports happen – and helps transform Canadian giving.

Our very best wishes for a healthy and happy holiday season. 

Your Ci Team

December 16, 2021

Charity Intelligence's 2019 Annual Report (2021 Annual report coming soon)


Read more about the rise of the social investor and intelligent giving in articles by Harvard Business Review 2003 and The Economist's 2006 Special Report on Giving.

Our Mission

To provide Canadian donors with information that helps them make informed and intelligent giving decisions to have the greatest impact.

To this end, we try our best:

To undertake the highest-quality, independent research and analysis we are capable of, to provide insights for donors.

To listen to donors, to understand each donor's individual hopes and concerns and provide whatever help we can to assist their giving.

To always be respectful of Canadian charities, to respect their decisions and recognize the challenges they face.

You have to be humble in what we're doing, but you have to be bold...We will get out there and try something. If it doesn't work, we will try something else. And we will keep trying until we find something that works.

Melinda Gates, Co-Chair & Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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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