Canadian Charities – How to choose which to donate to, and why

"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed"
Maya Angelou

Canadian Charities

In Canada there are around 170,000 organisations in the Charity and Non-Profit sector.
Of these around 85,000 are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

So if you are thinking of donating to a Canadian charity, it can be quite bewildering to try and choose which one to donate to, and to choose the charity program that best fits what you’re looking for.

In this article we will explain all the different factors to look out for when choosing which Canadian charity to donate to – to help your donation reach the people you really want to help.

How much do Canadians give to charity?

Between 1997 and 2017 the total amount donated by Canadians (as reported by Tax Filers) increased from $4.27 million to $9.58 million Canadian Dollars.

Is is estimated that around 20.5% of Canadian taxpayers donate to charity.
The average donation by Canadian donors is around $300.
Age is a factor, with older donors making higher average donations than younger donors.

Why do Canadians donate to Charity?

  • 89% feel compassion for those in need
  • 85% donate to a cause they personally believe in
  • 79% want contribute to their community
  • 61% are personally affected by the charity’s cause
  • 27% donate for religious reasons
  • 23% donate to receive an income tax credit

Canada ranks around 15 in the list of countries that donate the most to Charity.

National vs International Canadian Charities

So you want to donate to a Canadian Charity.
But are you looking for a charity based in Canada that runs programs in developing countries?
Or one that supports projects helping people in need inside Canada?

Maybe you want to support a charity that works in your local area, or one that runs programs helping First Nation communities in Canada.

International Charities work in many developing countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda and Bolivia – helping schools, local communities, women’s groups, and sponsoring children.

Some charities (such as Canadian Feed The Children) have International as well as National projects, allowing you to choose where your money goes depending on your preference.

Contact your chosen Canadian charity to ask them about their different International and National projects.

Canadian Charities and the CRA

If you donate to a Canadian Charity registered with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) you may be entitled to benefit from a Charitable Donations Tax Credit (CDTC).
This will depend on the Charity you donate to, the type of donation (money, gift etc), and the value of the donation.

To receive your Charitable Donations Tax Credit, you will need to report it on your tax return.
At the time of writing the Federal Tax Credit for qualifying charitable donations is 15% of the first $200 of donations and 29% of any amount above $200 Your province will also have a similar tax credit scheme.

CHECK TO SEE IF A CHARITY IS CRA REGISTEREDCALCULATE YOUR CDTC TAX CREDIT

Canadian Feed the Children is a CRA Registered Charity

What should I consider before donating to a Canadian Charity?

Top things to consider about the Charity:
Independent / part of a bigger network

The charity should be large enough to provide a reliable and well-regarded sponsorship program,but not too large to be bureaucratic or costly

Financially effective

The charity should be financially effective and have minimal administrative costs – I should know that my dollars are being carefully applied and achieving impact

Transparency

The charity should be financially transparent – I should be able to see the financial results online easily.

Independently Verified

The charity’s financial results should be verified by independent third parties like charity rating agencies and professional auditors

Human Dignity

The charity should be respectful of the recipient’s dignity throughout their work, especially in their images and descriptions

Health and Wellbeing

The charity should consider the recipients’ health and wellbeing within a holistic model of development

Search for Canadian Charities
CANADA HELPSCHARITY INTELLIGENCE

Top things to consider about your personal preferences:

Religious or Secular

Does the charity deliver development programs through a religious or non-religious framework that matches your own?

Designation

Can you select a specific country or project to donate to?

Financial capabilities

Are there donation options that match your financial capabilities?

Community

Can you be sure your dollars are used to support the recipient in their family, school and community?

Equality

Can you be sure your support is delivered fairly and equitably so that no one in the community ever feels left out or singled out?

Accreditation

Third party accreditation is the ideal way to confirm a charity’s credentials.
It helps to ensure that a given charity will use your donation in the most responsible way and that they will create the greatest possible impact to the end recipient of the donation, whether it is local or international.

Charity Intelligence is a website whose stated mission is to help donors answer their key questions and to provide information to allow better informed giving decisions.

Their mission:

“Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors to be informed and give intelligently. Through rigorous and independent research, Charity Intelligence aims to assist Canada’s dynamic charitable sector in being more transparent, accountable and focused on results.”

Canadian Feed The Children has just been named a Charity Intelligence Top 100 Charity for the second year in a row.

See the full list

Children’s Charities in Canada

Children are usually the most vulnerable people in impoverished communities, wherever they are in the world.
When choosing a Charity and a program to donate to, many people choose ones that specifically benefit children.

Some charities in Canada work exclusively on programs for children, while others may have specific children’s charity projects as well as more general programs.

Donating to children’s charities can have a massive impact on children’s education, poverty levels, health, food security and nutrition, and will also bring positive benefits to the child’s family and local community.

Small donations can have a huge impact, and allow children and their families to lift themselves out of poverty and enjoy brighter futures.

Enabling children to educate themselves and stay healthy is an investment that will reap benefits for generations to come.

Summary

So with so many charities and charity programs available, hopefully you will now have a clearer idea of how to define the best Canadian charities to donate to, and how to check their credentials.

You will need to choose whether you want to donate to a local charity, or an international one. Select a charity that fits with your personal values and reasons for wanting to donate to a Canadian charity. And decide whether you wish to donate to a charity that works specifically to help children.

Whichever charity you choose, your donation will have a big impact on empowering impoverished communities and improving education, food security, nutrition and health.

820 million people worldwide face hunger, and children feel it the most. 

Help us provide 500,000 meals to