Making Online Giving Simple

Organization Information:

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Organization's Mission Statement

CanadaHelps engages Canadians in the charitable sector, providing accessible and affordable online technology to both donors and charities to promote -- and ultimately increase -- charitable giving in Canada.

CanadaHelps strives to build a caring and involved Canadian society that is committed to giving and participating effectively in the charitable sector, using technology to create an efficient connection between charities, donors, and the corporate community.

Submission Information

Impact Essay

11,276 Canadian Charities, 689,746 Donations, over $85 Million Raised

To date, CanadaHelps has enabled 246,688 Canadian donors to give 689,746 donations totalling over $85 million to 11,276 Canadian charities. We’re on course to surpass $100 million by the end of 2009.CanadaHelps has accomplished this over the past 8 years with an average of 4 full-time staff and just enough funding from donors and sponsors to cover our operational costs.CanadaHelps offers its online services free to donors, and to member charities at a modest cost of 3%. Membership is free, and for non-member charities the cost is only 4% with the extra percent required to cover the cost of cheque disbursements. The rest of the fee covers the costs of transaction fees, banking costs, receipting, reconciliation, and electronic fund transfer disbursements.The generous donations of software from Microsoft have played a major role in keeping the cost to charities as low as possible!

What We’ve Created Using Microsoft Technologies:

Our motto is “Giving made simple”. Using Microsoft technologies, we strive to build and offer innovative ways for donors to give to charities, and we believe we’ve developed a secure online service that has been successful in doing just that.

A Few of Our Services (number of charities that have benefitted in brackets):

Make a Donation (9,026)Our service allows anyone to quickly and easily donate online to any registered charity in Canada using their credit card. Donors receive their tax receipts in a secure, electronic format. Via a MyCanadaHelps account, donors can easily access and manage their receipts, review their donation history, manage their monthly giving, and maintain a list of their favourite charities for quick giving at the end of the year.

Donations of Securities (331)In 2007, we partnered with ScotiaMcLeod to create a new way to give online, Donations of Securities, which allows donors to give securities (including mutual funds) to any registered Canadian charity. In 2006, the Canadian government eliminated capital gains taxes on donations of publicly traded securities making gifts of securities the most tax efficient way to make a charitable donation. CanadaHelps’ service makes the process of giving securities quick and easy. Without this service, charities who wish to receive donated securities would have to retain and pay for the services of a broker. CanadaHelps offers this service to charities at the same low rate of 3% for member charities and 4% for non-member charities.

GivingPages (800)Launched in 2006, GivingPages is a peer-to-peer giving tool that is quickly becoming one of our most popular services. Using this tool, groups and individuals can create what is essentially a micro-website through which they can promote and fundraise for their cause.

Charity Gift Cards (3,141)In 2005, we created a unique way for people to give the gift of giving! Anyone can purchase and give a charity gift card. The recipient can then spend their gift card, through, to any registered Canadian charity.

Donate Now! (6,654)This service gives charities the ability to allow their donors to give directly to them through CanadaHelps by clicking on a “Donate Now!” button located on their web site. Donors can then provide details about their donation (dedication, designation, etc.), and pay for their donation in only a few simple steps. Member charities have access to this service and detailed charity reports which provide useful data with respect to the sources of their donations.

How Using Microsoft Technology has Helped:

Microsoft’s technologies have helped us design and build a fully proprietary online service that has stewarded all of these donations. Throughout our 8 year history we have had an average of one, full-time developer. Microsoft’s software has made it possible for us to be successful with very little development resources.Our proprietary web application and services run completely on a Microsoft stack.

We use:

  • Windows Server 2008 as our server operating system
  • The .NET Framework and ASP.NET for our applications
  • SQL Server 2005 and 2008 for our databases
  • ISA Server 2006 for securing the edge of our networks
  • Visio for design and diagramming of software systems
  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server and Team System 2008 for development and management of the development process

A taste of how we and the entire sector have benefitted:

  • The ease of configuration and reliability of Microsoft’s enterprise products reduces the amount of time and resources necessary to manage all of our systems.
  • Newer products like Hyper-V have helped us to reduce our hardware costs by helping to consolidate some of our server systems, which helps to keep rates low for charities.
  • The powerful toolset of Visual Studio’s integrated development environment has allowed us to design, implement, and test our software in an extremely efficient manner thus reducing the cost of developing services to benefit donors and charities.

If Microsoft were to end their software donation program, we would not be able to afford the technology to do what we do to serve tens of thousands of donors and charities.

Open source technologies would be an option, and have helped many others, but in our experience they don’t compare in terms of ease of use and ease of configuration, and these are definitely factors when your technical staff is as small as ours!

The Impact of our Services (so far):

With the help of Microsoft Technologies we have been able to steward close to $90 million dollars for the charitable sector in Canada, and we don’t intend to stop there!

The following demonstrates the impact of some of the services offered at

*If you cannot view the following table, please see our attachment to this essay.*

Services Number of Charities that Have Benefitted Total Amount to those Charities Make a Donation (organic donations through CanadaHelps search & donate feature) 9,026 $32,082,652.14 Donations of Securities 331 $1,082,843.51 Donations through GivingPages 800 $2,149,129.25 Donations via Charity Gift Cards 3,141 $688,893.16 Donations through Donate Now! Buttons (on charity sites) 6,654 $35,665,364.50 Automated Monthly Giving 2,398 $7,707,736.51

Submission Category
Transformations to Maximize Impact
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