At the start of 2021, it was difficult to envision exactly how the year would unfold. The coronavirus pandemic still loomed large (and, unfortunately, still does) as we emerged from the best year in Canada Gives’ history. That happened because our Foundation account holders took action at the onset of the pandemic to help charities and non-profits manage the overwhelming demand for their services. Their philanthropy became even more strategic, targeted and effective.
Indeed, donor clients provided an awe-inspiring $20 million in charitable grants in 2020. As we noted in our Annual Report for the year, the total funding to charities from our Foundation accounts since inception—the period between 2006 and 2019—was $36.5 million. How could we possibly repeat that remarkable performance?
Well, we’re thrilled that our total grants to charities for 2021 are projecting to be even more impressive than the previous year. The numbers aren’t final yet, but thus far total grants have slightly exceeded last year and sit at approximately $20,665,000. We’re looking forward to sharing our full grant disbursement metrics in the New Year.
In the meantime, we wanted to take the opportunity to extend a heartfelt ‘thanks’ from the entire Canada Gives team. We wish our Foundation account holders, the many advisors that we collaborate with and their families a happy holiday season with a bright and prosperous 2022.
Our donor clients’ passion for philanthropy is contagious and drives us to continuously innovate and enhance our client service experience. On that note, we’ve made some key investments over the past year to better support their charitable giving.
Enhancing our Donor Portal
In early 2022, we’ll be officially relaunching our Donor Portal, which many of our donor clients use on a regular basis to manage their giving and interact with our team. We’re currently updating our user experience across the platform to improve ease of use, navigation and overall functionality. And we have a couple of surprises that we’re very excited to share.
Our team has been working diligently in the background to add a dynamic new charity research tool to our existing granting and report/tax receipt/file-sharing features. Foundation account holders will soon have the ability to search among Canada’s more than 86,000 charities at the click of a button. For those charities that have provided additional organizational and performance information to the Canada Revenue Agency (which supplies the charity data uploaded to our Donor Portal), they’ll be able to find a charity by keyword, region or category (e.g., healthcare, environment, the arts), then review the charity’s impact details. For most charities, that includes their financial data—including details such as revenue, expenses, assets and liabilities—mission statements and contact information.
Our new user experience will then enable them to make a grant request to support their preferred organizations quickly and easily. So, why make such an extensive technology investment?
Our aim is to make our donor clients’ philanthropy as streamlined as possible. Helping them learn more about Canada’s non-profits not only broadens their understanding of the vast array of options to support the sector, but allows them to make more strategic giving decisions. That’s especially important during times of crisis (such as a natural disaster or a pandemic) or to engage the next generation of family members in philanthropy. And we can virtually guarantee that the budding philanthropists among us will enjoy quickly exploring tens of thousands of charities from their smart phones.
Growing our team
Another good news story from 2021 is the increase in new Canada Gives Foundation accounts. Again, we’ll have the full details in the New Year, but our team has been working hard to keep pace with this very welcome surge in interest in our organization. To meet the rapidly-increasing demand for our services, this year we expanded our Client Services and administrative teams to ensure we provide the very best philanthropic experience possible.
By making strategic investments to hire our wonderful new team members, we can ensure that when our donor clients and their advisors need us, we’re there and ready to meet their needs.
Telling moving stories
Lastly, over the course of this year, we’ve introduced a new series called Canada Gives Donor Stories. Much like our new Donor Portal research feature, the goal is to highlight a broad range of charities and share inspiring stories about Canada Gives Foundation account holders working to support those organizations. We also want them to understand how our Client Services team has, in many cases, made connections or conducted research to help facilitate donor clients’ engagement with those charities and non-profits. Because the better they understand how our team works, the more they can leverage our services to maximize the impact of their giving.
And with that, we’d like to raise a glass this holiday season to our philanthropists’ dedication to making our world a better place. We look forward to working with them to extend that great work well into 2022 and beyond.
The Canada Gives team