CharityFocus launches, wants your charity’s story

publication date: Feb 15, 2012
 | 
author/source: Janet Gadeski
When looking at a charity, it's important to consider the whole picture rather than just the numbers, says Imagine Canada CEO Marcel Lauzière. In response to hasty, sometimes shallow attempts to rank charities by a few financial ratios taken out of context, Imagine Canada launched CharityFocus, a much richer, more insightful tool to aid donor decision-making, on February 15. Janet Gadeski photo

Lauzière introduced CharityFocus to delegates at Imagine Canada's National Summit last November. The site more than lives up to its advance billing reported in the December 8 issue of Hilborn eNEWS. I reiterate my view that it's a welcome, essential contrast to stories and information services that focus on financial ratios, select very few of Canada's 85,000 charities for analysis, and restrict input from the charities themselves.

Turning numbers into mission stories

The site transforms Canada Revenue Agency's T3010 data into graphs and other vivid visuals. Every registered charity already has a profile on CharityFocus that reflects its latest T3010 filing. Now that the site is launched, each charity can upload additional material to display the stories behind the numbers: annual reports, program information, fundraising policies, videos and links to social media platforms.

Helps visitors give right away

Visitors to the site can use powerful search tools to find organizations by name, area of work or location, and can make donations right on the spot, thanks to the CanadaHelps "donate" button on every profile.

Check out the site's pages for Canadian Feed the Children and Youth Science Canada for some ideas of how to make the most of this opportunity. Or browse further and find your own good examples. Thanks to the 47 organizations that have already loaded their materials as part of the pre-launch testing, you won't have to look far for helpful models.

CharityFocus manager Lisa Hartford told CF&P that her colleagues have wanted such a tool for at least seven years. Building the proprietary tools that display different charities' charts, graphs and narratives side by side, took time, she explained. But the resulting website meets Imagine Canada's goal of helping the sector be transparent to donors and the public.

Getting the T3010 right

Charities also have free access to a "Quick Prep" tool that will help them more easily and accurately complete their annual filings to the CRA. The site is easy to use and available free of charge in both official languages.

Production of CharityFocus was made possible by a financial contribution from Canada Revenue Agency, with support from RBC Foundation and Cenovus Energy.

For more information, Lisa Hartford, lhartford@imaginecanada.ca, 1-800-263-1178 x301 or 416-597-2293 x301; Alyssa Gebert, agebert@imaginecanada.ca, 1.800-821-8814 x239 or 416-597-2293 x311.


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