Charities of the Year 2016: Our annual report card on the good-deed doers worthy of your donations

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If you want to make a lasting impact with your dollar, giving to a children’s charity seems like a good way to do it. Greg Thomson, director of research at Charity Intelligence Canada, which analyzes the country’s charities, points out that helping children in need can change the course of the rest of their lives. If that change helps them stay out of jail, live independently and support themselves, society as a whole benefits, too. Of course, there’s another reason why they’re so popular. “It’s easier to raise money for them,” Thomson says. “It’s more emotionally charged.”

More than one-quarter of Canada’s 86,000 charities mention children or youth in their names or descriptions, making it a worthwhile endeavour to examine how all that money is being raised and spent for the third annual Charities of the Year project. The annual report card assesses how efficiently charities are raising and spending money, and evaluates how transparent they are about their finances and the work they do.

This year, we scrutinized the 740 children’s charities that raked in total donations of more than $100,000 in 2013, the most recent year with a full set of tax return data available. The charities all focus on helping children who are in need in some way, whether it be illness, poverty or belonging to a marginalized group. In past years, only charities that were national in scope were considered. But because this year’s report card has a narrower focus, regional charities were included. In the interest of highlighting organizations that would appeal to all readers, charities with explicitly religious missions were once again excluded.

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