If you would like to have more information about the idea behind the site, the site itself, charity’s and individual’s inputs you will find it in our Statement of Principles page.
What started as a philosophical after dinner discussion between friends soon became - thanks to the dedication of some of us - a very exciting adventure for all of us. And helped us to prove that even in our financial directed word, it is still possible to create a free tool and become visible on the World Wide Web.
Initially we wanted simply to share a decision support tool we created for us to be able to provide information that is already in the public domain on charities in a slightly different manner than the original data on Canada Revenues Charity Listing. Given the fact that we do believe others can have the same difficulties than we had to be able to identify charities they would like to give to, we decided to make this internet site.
And yes, it is a free, non commercial site that has no advertising display. In our opinion, if there is one type of information that should be free, it is this kind of information. Why?
From there on, and sometimes thanks to great suggestions that came from some of you using our site, the site started to grow. And from the emails we receive we do see now that the site is used, not only by individuals but also by foundations and other institutionals in their donation research.
The statistical representation is neutral, that was our initial aim – no judgement. But on the same time Charities, Donors and even those who benefices from a charity’s work can have their own opinion and point of view.
In order to give charities the opportunity to provide you with their own explanations, we tried to open up the site to them. Adding to this feature the events listing and the job offers seemed to us tools that could help charities. And, slowly but steadily, we do have charities that are using some of the features. Nevertheless, we are surprised that they don’t seem to use the events publication nor the job offers. Given the increasing number of visits we have on our site, the use of these features could help some of the charities to improve their visibility. We know from our own experience that it takes time or money to become visible on the internet.
What really astonishes us is a small number of charities that become rather aggressive with us concerning the provided information. Thankfully it is only a very very small number therefore not at all representative of the whole. But it always leaves us perplex when we get an email "requiring" to remove incorrect information – knowing that the information initially is provided by the charity to Canada Revenue Agency in their declarations.
Another one of the suggestions we received and implemented is the possibility to add a personal notation to a charity. We do believe that most of volunteers and those who benefices from charities can develop their own opinion about how the charity is functioning. Even if one opinion alone doesn’t really count, a multitude of opinions in the same direction can become a sign of a global tendency.
Some questioned our site as we don't nominative present ourselves. We did discus this for a while but came to the conclusion that none of us really represents our site. The only representing item is the data form CRA and the information provided by the charities or by others than us. We wanted to have a neutral site – none of us has a hidden agenda or wants to use the site for a personal benefite. Even if this sounds strange in our multi media 15 minutes fame era.
Presenting our team would not influence the way the statistical representation would be done, therefore we will remain in the background. There are no extra services provided by us that could justify that we step forward. Nor do we need the site for fame and glory. For those same reasons we didn’t try to create charity ether as we are happy to give our time and work as it is.
This doesn't mean that we don't feel ourselves individually responsible of the information provided on our site. Those of you who did contact us with questions know that we reply to all questions sent to us by email at least as long as we can do so.
We do hope that you like our site and that you find it useful. But remember it is only one of the multiple tools you can use to look for information before giving. Don't hesitate to do more research – don't hesitate to ask charities for more information, check out the full details of the T3010 on CRA's charity listing as well as the other information that is available on their site. Research is the best way to finalize your choice.
And again thank you for your input – it has so far been a source of inspiration for most of it.
The donate2charities.ca team
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