With the recent changes in May 2019 in which CRA removed about 10 years of public information from the Charities Listing, the differences between the CRA’s Charities Listing and the Blumbergs’ CharityData.ca portal have grown. This article will try to show you some of the major differences between the two databases.

For serious researchers who are spending months or even years researching a charity or the sector or subsector, neither of these databases is probably going to be adequate and you can also request data from CRA and documents and these may be helpful. It can take a few weeks for CRA to fulfill those requests.

The Charities Listing “Basic Search” only allows for searching by name and by status but with the “Advanced Search” you can search by a number of other parameters.

For the most up-to-date information on a particular charity, including whether a charity is still registered you should use the CRA Charities Listing. However, for analyzing the past data of charities or sorting charities CharityData.ca is much easier to use and has far more data.

Keep in mind that both databases are only of registered charities and RNASOs and that other qualified donees you need to go to other lists and unfortunately there is no public list of non-profits that are not registered charities.

Isn’t CharityData just the same as the CRA website?

No. The CRA website is an official website of the Canadian government and can be relied on for example to show that a charity is currently a registered charity. It has fancy logos and nice pictures. Our website relies on past historical information from the CRA and therefore some of the charities on our website may have even lost their registered charity status. We encourage people to check out both websites and in fact we have a link on the bottom of every page to each of the registered charities own CRA page on the CRA website which in some cases will have more up-to-date or extensive information on a particular charity. CharityData.ca has over thirty search or filtering abilities, many of which the CRA Charities Listing does not have. For example, our website allows you to search which directors serve on which charities and the CRA website does not allow for that. Some registered charities give out hundreds of gifts to qualified donees – the CRA sorts them by the order they are provided and we sort them from highest amount to lowest. Do you really want to scroll through hundreds of small donations to see the main large donations of a charity in a particular year? We provide the largest 100 donations in each year from largest to smallest. We have under the tab “fundraising” listed registered charities that have provided a gift to this charity, not just the registered charities that have received a gift from this charity. It makes it much easier to see flows of money within the charity sector. Also, we have heard from many people that the user interface on our website is far superior to that of the CRA website but please don’t take our word for it check out CharityData.ca for yourself!

More information on CharityData FAQs.

 

FeatureCRA ListingCharity DataNotes
Search by registered charity nameOn CharityData you can additionally search by Name, BN, Activity all together
Know whether registered charity is still registered charityCharityData can have charities up to 1 year after they are revoked (still helpful for looking at recently revoked charities)
Search by charity status (registered, revoked, revoked-audit, etc)CharityData Only has registered charities (that were registered as of 1 or so years ago)
Nice pie charts
Nice revenue/expenditure graph
Search by BN
Search by effective data of statusVery helpful for seeing recent changes
Search by Sanction (Penalized, Suspend)
Search by Designation
Designation - information on whether charitable organization, public foundation and private foundation
Search by CityOn CharityData you can actually see names of cities (don't have to guess)
Search by Province
Search by Postal Code
Search by "Charity Type"4 Heads of charity.
Search by CategoryCharityData calls is Charity Type. Not very helpful categories and selection is weak. Some categories like religious groups may be useful
Search by ActivityVery helpful when searching name and activity together to isolate a larger number of charities than if just searching by name
Directors names - listing
Director searchThe Director Search function of CharityData allows users to search over 600,000 directors by their first and last names and it is the only publicly available and up-to-date tool for searching them.
Program Description
Telephone number of charities (when provided by registered charity)
Staff and Compensation
Website Address
Mailing Address of Charity
Which registered charities gave to this particular charityWhile it is easy to see what gifts a charity gives to other charities on the CRA website but what if you want to know which charities gave funds to a particular charity? Now you can do this on CharityData.ca by looking under the "Fundraising" tab.
Search by revenue (all charities in certain bands of revenue)
Sort by Total assets (4200)
Sort by Total liabilities (4350)
Sort by Total revenue (4700)
Sort by Total expenditures (5100)
Sort by Receipted donations (4500)
Sort by Total amount received from other charities (4510)
Sort by Total amount of tax- receipted gifts-in- kind (580)
Sort by Revenue from sale of goods and services (4640)
Sort by Total revenue received from federal government (4540)
Sort by Total revenue received from provincial / territorial governments (4550)
Sort by Total revenue received from municipal / regional governments (4560)
Sort by Total tax-receipted revenue from outside Canada (4571)
Sort by Total non tax- receipted revenue from outside Canada (4575)
Sort by Total Advertising and promotion (4800)
Sort by Occupancy costs (4850)
Sort by Professional and consulting fees (4860)
Sort by Total expenditures on charitable activities (5000)
Sort by Total expenditures on management and administration (5010)
Sort by Total expenditures on fundraising (5020)
Sort by Total expenditures on political activities, inside or outside Canada (5030)
Sort by Total other expenditures (5040)
Sort by Total amounts paid to external fundraisers (5460)
Sort by Total compensation expenditures (390)
Sort by Total Expenditures Outside of Canada / Foreign Activities (200)
Link to CanadaHelps website if you wish to donate to the charity
Good FAQ with detailed information on the limitations of the database and some humour

 

CharityData.ca is part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project which is in memory of my youngest brother Sean Blumberg. Sean was a sweet, kind person, a great brother who helped me on a number of occasions with many tasks including the time consuming and arduous task of reviewing T3010 databases and making them into something useful. As part of the Sean Blumberg Transparency Project, Blumbergs has been releasing information on the Canadian charity sector to provide a better understanding of the size, scope, complexity, and challenges of the sector.