The Charity’s Website

The first place to look for information is on the website of the Canadian charity. You can find a charity’s website by searching on Google. A good website will provide information on the charity’s mission, activities, impact, governance structure, financial statements, contact information, fundraising costs, gift acceptance policy or receipting rules, among other things.

CRA T3010 Information

The second place one should look is the Canada Revenue Agency’s (CRA) Charities Directorate database on all 86,000 Canadian registered charities.  You can use the official CRA Charities Listing to know whether an organization is a registered charity.  Unfortunately, CRA has just removed over 10 years’ worth of information on charities so the CRA Charities Listing only has the last 5 years’ information on registered charities.

For most people, an even more useful resource is our CharityData.ca portal.  It has 15 years CRA T3010 information, it is free and much more user-friendly than the CRA website.   It is the largest Canadian portal on registered charity information.   CharityData.ca also allows the user to sort and search charities under “Advanced Charity Search” by over 30 criteria.  There is also a Director Search function at CharityData.ca which also allows users to search over 600,000 names of directors by their first and last names and it is the only publicly available and up-to-date tool for searching them.  If you want to understand the differences between the Charities Listing and CharityData.ca see this article Comparison of the CRA’s Charities Listing and Blumbergs’ CharityData.ca

Keep in mind that both the CRA T3010 data and the www.charitydata.ca website provide you with information that a charity files with the CRA. Remember that it may not be accurate. You may want to look more deeply into the charity. There is no better way to do this than by volunteering with the charity and seeing first-hand what they actually do.

Newspapers

Newspapers sometimes cover charities – both positively or negatively, but usually those stories can be found when you are searching the charity on Google. Depending on the reporter and the story media coverage is not always correct, fair and balanced.

The CRA also puts on press releases about some of the worst Canadian charities, but only after their registrations have been revoked. See What’s New from the Charities Directorate. Here is also: