October 31, 2018 1:42 pm
Updated: October 31, 2018 8:48 pm

Hoping to stretch your donation dollar? Watchdog reveals Canada’s 10 top charities

ABOVE: Tips to consider before you donate to a charity.

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Between high operating costs and a lack of financial transparency, it may be difficult to know what charity to donate to and whether your money is actually going towards the cause.

According to Statistics Canada, 21 per cent of Canadians claimed charitable donations in 2015. Those who gave money dished out a median of $300. Across Canada, more than $9 billion was given to charity over the year — that’s up 3.8 percentage points from 2014.

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If you are thinking of giving and hoping to stretch your donation dollar, Charity Intelligence Canada (CIC), a national charity watchdog, has compiled a top 10 list based on the impact-per dollar.

“Our calculations estimate that these Top 10 Impact Charities deliver returns of six times on the dollar, compared with average returns of one to two times on the dollar,” the organization stated.

“What really matters is what the charity is able to accomplish with the 70 cents or 90 cents on the dollar that go towards its programs. That’s why we’ve put together our. If you give them a dollar, how much real change are they able to make with that dollar?”

Here are the top 10.

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Against Malaria Foundation (health): A+

This international charity is based in Montreal and according to CIC has a high impact per dollar. The foundation raises money to buy mosquito nets for communities in need in an attempt to prevent the spread of life-threatening disease, malaria.

Against Malaria Foundation Canada reports that all donations used by the Canadian arm are used to purchase nets.

Aunt Leah’s Place (homeless youth): A

The charity, operated out of New Westminster B.C., works to prepare youth in foster care for living independently and helps women in need to avoid losing custody of their children.

CIC said the charity has a high-impact per dollar and a great rating for financial transparency. For every dollar donated, $0.82 goes to the cause.

READ MORE: How to donate used clothing and items responsibly

Canadian Foodgrains Bank (aid): B

The Canadian Foodgrains Bank, based in Winnipeg, is an international-aid charity that aims to end global hunger.

The charity has a high-impact-per dollar, with $0.83 of every donated dollar going to the cause. Canadian Foodgrains Bank also reports that more than 95 per cent of food provided in crisis situations gets to those in need.

CUPS (multi-service): A

The Calgary Urban Project Society (CUPS) helps people in Calgary overcome poverty.

CIC gave the charity an impact rating of a high-proven impact per dollar, with $0.80 of every donated dollar going toward the program.

The charity said in 2017, 96 per cent of participants in housing programs achieved stable housing.

Doctors Without Borders (aid): B+

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) put on protective gear in an Ebola treatment ward in this file image.

CELLOU BINANI/AFP/Getty Images File

Based in Toronto, Doctors Without Borders‘ mission is to reduce suffering and provide medical care to people around the world.

The charity created high impact per dollar in 2016, with $0.83 of every dollar donated going to the cause. The key drivers of this impact came from vaccinations, medical surgeries and medical treatments, according to CIC.

READ MORE: Is your favourite charity naughty or nice?

East York Learning Experience (education): B+

This charity is based in Toronto and has staff and trained volunteers that provide one-on-one free literacy tutoring to about adults who are low-level learners.

East York Learning Experience is rated as high impact per dollar by CIC as it cost-effectively helps people to improve their literacy. So far in 2018, 65 per cent of the 47 students who exited the program either became employed or entered programs to pursue further education.

For every dollar donated, $0.92 goes towards the program.

Fresh Start Recovery Centre (addiction recovery): A-

Based in Calgary, Fresh Start Recovery Centre works with men who are alcoholics or addicted to drugs, helping them by providing treatment beds and an abstinence program.

According to CIC, the program has been a “consistently a highly-rated charity” with high impact per dollar. For every dollar donated, $0.93 i put in the program.

JUMP Math (education): A

JUMP Math, based in Toronto, runs math programs for children in kindergarten to Grade 8 based on cognitive science research.

CIC gave JUMP Math an impact rating of high proven impact per dollar, with $0.65 going toward its programs.

In 2017, the charity also said 92 per cent of teachers reported that JUMP Math improved their students’ performance in math class.

READ MORE: Fewer Canadians giving to charity, but more is being given

One Drop Foundation (water): B+

One Drop Foundation was founded in Montreal by Guy Laliberté, the founder of Cirque du Soleil. Its mission is to use water to improve living conditions and help communities develop sustainably.

CIC said it picked the foundation because of its results. For example, in 2017 the charity provided sustainable water and sanitation access to 40,000 households and 120 schools and clinics in Rajasthan, India.

However, for every dollar donated to the charity, $0.55 cents go to the cause, falling outside of CIC’s reasonable range for overhead spending.

Operation Eyesight Universal (health): A

This Calgary-based charity provides eye care for people in developing countries.

In 2017, Operation Eyesight Universal declared its 558th village free of avoidable blindness, which was up from 130 in 2016 and 66 in 2015.

For every dollar donated, $0.75 cents goes to the cause.

WATCH: Do you know exactly where your charitable dollars are going?

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