Charity Intelligence has created profiles on over 700 Canadian charities that focus on assessing a charity's transparency and accountability, need for funding, cost efficiency, and, where possible, social impact.
Charity profiles are created by Ci analysts from publically-available information, including the charities’ audited financial statements, annual reports, websites, and CRA T3010 filings. Ci takes financial information primarily from the charity’s audited financial statements. These are the most reliable source of financial data, in Ci’s opinion. The objective of these profiles is to provide consistent analysis on charities, which, for financial analysis, requires full statements, including all financial notes provided by the auditors. A charity’s regulatory filings are only used when Ci can reconcile these filings with the audited financial statements and when these filings provide a more specific breakdown of line items.
Charity star ratings are determined using a combination of the metrics that appear on the profiles. For detail on how these ratings are calculated, please visit our Rating Methodology page.
Social Results Reporting
Charities are rated based on the public reporting of their activities and what they do with donor dollars. This score does not assess the strength of the charity’s strategy, the quality of its activities, the level of its outputs or the impressiveness of its outcomes; rather, it assess if enough information has been disclosed such that any reader would have the opportunity to make those assessments. The score is a letter grade based on the relative scoring of the charity compared to all other Canadian charities analyzed.
Financial Transparency Rating
Charity Intelligence believes that the first key step for a charity to be open and transparent is to make its audited financial statements available to donors.
Charities are assessed a rating out of 3 based on their transparency in providing complete audited financial statements, including the financial notes and accounting policies, to the public. If the most recent statements are not available within 9 months of the charity's year-end, the transparency score is reduced by 1.
3 - Audited financial statements for at least the last 2 years posted on the charity’s website.
2 - Audited financial statements for the most recent year posted on the charity’s website.
1 - Charity provided Charity Intelligence with its audited financial statements upon request by email or telephone.
0 - Charity did not provide Charity Intelligence with its audited financial statements upon request. Financial statements were provided by Canada Revenue Agency.
Need for Funding / Program Cost Coverage
Program cost coverage is a financial ratio for assessing a charity’s need for funding. It compares funding reserves relative to program costs. Funding reserves are calculated as liquid assets of cash, cash equivalents, and investment securities, less interest-bearing liabilities. The program cost coverage ratio is calculated by dividing the year-end funding reserves excluding donor-endowed funds, by the program costs for the year less 5% of donor-endowed funds (or the disbursement rate disclosed by the charity). This is expressed as a percentage. The charity’s funding reserves and program costs are also displayed in a chart. Where donor-endowed funds have been disclosed, these are separated out and noted separately.
The pie chart shows how the charity allocates its revenues received during the fiscal year between program costs, administrative costs, fundraising costs and surplus (operating cash flow). The cost allocations are taken from what is reported in the audited financial statements. In cases where the operating cash flow is negative, percentages for the pie charts are calculated as a share of total expenditures.
Fundraising costs have consistently been presented as gross of fundraising expenses using financial information provided in the auditor's notes. These fundraising costs are presented as a percentage of donations rather than total revenues. Charities may have different streams of revenues, like interest income, government funding, or lottery profits, but the fundraising costs are a result of the costs of soliciting the public for voluntary donations.
Cents to the Cause
This chart displays how many cents went towards the charity's programs for each dollar donated. This is calculated by taking 100% less the fundraising ratio, less the administrative cost ratio. This measures, for every dollar donated, if you take off the share spent to raise that dollar, and then take off the share spent on administrative costs, how much is left over for the charity's programs. This measure does not take into account whether some of the leftover amount was a surplus that went into funding reserves.
The number 1 question we are asked at Charity Intelligence is "how much of my donation goes to the cause?" In line with our belief that the answer to this question only matters in extreme circumstances, we have created what we call a "reasonable range" for overhead spending, within which 70% of charities fall. This range is displayed in white. If above 95% of cents are directed to the charity's programs, there are 2 potential issues, thus we have made this a light red zone. First, the charity may not be spending enough on its fundraising and administrative costs to support its operations. And second, the charity may not be appropriately disclosing its overhead costs. Where the cents to the cause is below 65%, this is a caution to donors that the charity may not be operating the most efficiently. When the cents to the cause is below 50%, we have shaded this as dark red to indicate a stronger caution that the charity is spending significantly more on fundraising and administration than the average of 75%.
Impact Ratings appear on charity profiles for those charities that we have assessed for social impact to date. The Impact Ratings display the social impact produced by the charity for each dollar donated as well as a measure of the quality of the data available to assess the charity’s social impact. For a more detailed description of this metric, please see our Social Impact Ratings Methodology page.
Cash flow from operations
Ci presents revenues on a cash basis and excludes non-cash expenses such as depreciation and amortization. Cash flow from operations is the surplus (deficit) from these adjusted revenues less expenses.
The financial notes following the Summary Financial Statements explain adjustments made to the financial numbers to provide a consistent basis for comparison.
The information on staff and salaries is sourced from the charity’s most recent T3010 filings with the Canada Revenue Agency. The salary information includes all wages, including any commissions, bonuses, and other benefits. For Charity Intelligence's findings and position on charity salaries, please read: Charity Salaries (2015 data)