CanadaHelps - WRX Property Group

CanadaHelps

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Located amidst the towering skyscrapers and bustling streets of downtown Toronto, at the corner of Adelaide and Spadina, is CanadaHelps. Put simply, CanadaHelps is a non-profit, charitable organization that bridges the gap between charities and donors, but it really is so much more than that.
Let’s go back in time and see where it all began.

The year was 1999. Aaron Pereira, a university student, was seated on a pew at his church. Once the collection basket had made its way over to him, Pereira reached into his pocket only to find that it was empty – he had no money with him, and this was a period of time before the dawn of the iPhone age.

Pereira wanted to support his church, but with no money on his person, what was he to do?

Pereira considered the predicament he’d found himself in, and he thought about the recent dot-com boom. He wanted to be able to make donations online. If e-commerce truly was the way of the future, why not open up this avenue for charitable donations?

And so that’s what he did. With his two friends, Ryan Little and Matthew Choi, Pereira developed what was to become CanadaHelps. The organization grew quickly, garnering financial support and public recognition, and it officially launched in 2000.

More than $150 000 was donated through CanadaHelps in their first year (CanadaHelps).

CanadaHelps Today

To bring us back to the present day, CanadaHelps is now much larger, and with its increased stature, even better equipped to facilitate and encourage Canadian charitable giving.

The CanadaHelps team consists of over 38 staff member, and over the 17 years of its existence, CanadaHelps has raised over $700 million in donations.

How CanadaHelps Works

George Dmitrovic of WRX Property Group spoke with Nicole Danesi, Marketing and Client Relations Associate at CanadaHelps, to get the scoop on what CanadaHelps is all about.

As an overview, Danesi says, “Essentially, at CanadaHelps what we do, we are a social enterprise and registered Canadian charity.

Our whole goal as an organization is to increase giving in Canada.” There are two main sides to the organization:

The Charities

CanadaHelps provides online tools, platforms, and support for charities across Canada. Charities can use these tools to facilitate fundraising for their various causes.

These tools are both simple to use and affordable; and it should be noted that they are quite effective, too.

There are presently 86 000 registered Canadian charities on the platform. The second side of the organization is:

The Donors

CanadaHelps also works directly with donors. They do this in a variety of ways: CanadaHelps promotes charitable causes and philanthropic opportunities to donors interested in giving to a variety of causes.

CanadaHelps also has a suite of tools for donors, helping with everything from tax receipts to handling the donations themselves, whether they’re looking to make one-time payments, monthly, or securities.

We’ll cover these tools in greater depth below, so read on!

The Tools

As Danesi says, “We offer a really wide array of tools for charities.” One such tool is the platform for peer-to-peer fundraising.

This enables charities to organize such things as walks, runs, and marathons – or anything else they put their minds to – and raise funds that way through CanadaHelps’ peer-to-peer fundraiser tools.

CanadaHelps also has an easy-to-manage Events platform, which charities hosting in-person events can make use of.

This makes it easy for charities to manage things like tax receipting – the tools on CanadaHelps help to alleviate some of the stresses that can come into running a charity, so that charities are able to focus on what truly matters: raising funds for a worthy cause.

CanadaHelps also provides tools to handle the donations themselves (both for the charities and the donors). “We also offer customizable donation forms that charities can include right on their website, or link through their website so people can make a one-time or monthly donation,” Danesi says.

The forms are a fast and easy way for charities to receive donations, and they are designed so as to be clear and easily understood by the donors.

One of CanadaHelps’ new platforms is for third-party fundraising, whereby charities can approach individuals hosting special events (birthdays, anniversaries, graduations) and have those individuals raise funds for the charity.

CanadaHelps makes it easy for charities to raise funds in a wide variety of ways.

CanadaHelps provides a Donor Dashboard for donors, which is a detailed, online tool with quite a few functions. They can compare their donations to what other Canadians are giving, set goals for themselves, and monitor progress.

It allows them to track what sorts of charities they’re supporting (whether it be animals, education, or anything else), and enables them to focus on a certain sector, or broaden their charitable horizons.

The Donor Dashboard also makes it very easy to keep track of charitable tax credits; it provides a calculator for this purpose.

CanadaHelps Advocacy

Another key component of CanadaHelps is its advocacy. CanadaHelps helps raise awareness of small to medium-sized charities that might otherwise not have a lot of exposure. This is important because a very large percentage of Canada’s charities would qualify as small to medium-sized.

One of the team members leading the charge in this respect is Marina Glogovac, CanadaHelps’ President and CEO, who, among many other things, often writes articles for the Huffington Post, discussing different issues. CanadaHelps is ever cognizant of two questions Danesi brought up: “How do we best support charities?” and “How do we measure impact?”

Giving Tuesday

One answer is GivingTuesday Canada. GivingTuesday is an international movement that takes place annually on the Tuesday following Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

As per the GivingTuesday website, “it is a day where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others” (GivingTuesday).

CanadaHelps is one of the co-founders of the Canadian version of GivingTuesday; be sure to mark your calendar (November 28th, 2017) for its inaugural year (and be sure to wear your favourite philanthropic hat).

CanadaHelps For Neighbourhood Associations

To bring this back to Kitchener-Waterloo, residents of the various Neighbourhood Associations here would do well to look into CanadaHelps’ wide variety of tools and options for fundraising.

Kitchener’s grant programs (such as the Placemaking Challenge) are a great way for neighbourhoods to invest in their future, but with a platform like CanadaHelps, neighbourhoods can also open up a revenue stream from interested donors.

CanadaHelps is a great organization for charities and donors alike; it’s doing its part to make Canada a greater, more giving place.

Full Interview With Nicole Danesi of CanadaHelps

Written by Will Kummer


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