Building Better Prospect Profiles

Today we’re excited to announce that we’ve upgraded the way CharityCAN builds our Prospect Profiles – the profiles on individual Canadian donors in our database that are algorithmically created by mixing and matching data from all of the various datasets that CharityCAN has to offer.

This upgrade brings improvements in a few different areas. Read on to learn more!

More Data Means More Profiles

The goal of our profile upgrade was to primarily bring in some of the new datasets that CharityCAN has launched over the last year: the Federal Corporation Registry, Federal Marine Craft Registry, Federal Aviation Registry and the Canadian Deceased List.

By adding these datasets, we added profiles for almost 2 million Canadian donors, bringing our Prospect Profile total to well over 4 million records.

More Profiles Mean More Relationships

Adding this new data to our Profiles also means we now have relationship data between not just individuals on registered charity and public company boards, but between individuals on federal corporation boards too.

Now you can find connections your organization has to local business leaders via local chambers of commerce, or see donor relationships through boards of private companies registered at the federal level.

A New Algorithm To Match Them All

Using all this new data to generate these profiles meant we needed a new way to match different datasets against each other, and figure out what pieces of the profile puzzle fit together.

We overhauled our prospect matching algorithm to better use name frequency and geographic location when de-duplicating donor name data, which we hope has led to cleaner Prospect Profiles.

The best part about our new algorithm is that it is easier to tweak going forwards, so if you see anything that looks amiss, please let us know and we can use your input to fine tune our profile building process in the future.

Federal Corporations, Canadian Obituaries, and a faster way to search

We know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from us here at CharityCAN, but that’s because we’ve had our heads down working on three new exciting features for you: Federal Corporation data, Obituary data, and a new and faster way to search our donation records.

Federal Corporations

We’ve added data from Corporations Canada on all federally registered corporations and their directors. This data includes information on not only privately held corporations but also not-for-profits, co-operatives and boards of trade from all across the country.

We think this data will be a boon to prospect researchers all across Canada, but especially those in smaller cities and towns looking for local business leaders. Altogether this data covers more than 1.1M corporations and almost 2M director positions and will be updated with more data monthly.

We’re already hard at work incorporating the new connections that this director information will provide into our relationship maps. We’re not quite there but the corporation data on its own was too exciting to keep back until the relationship maps were ready.

Canadian Obituaries

Obituaries have been on our users’ data wish lists for quite some time. We’ve finally been able to team up with our new friends at Canada Deceased List to offer obituary data from their ObitScan and Canada Bereavement Registry products. With their help we’ll be providing thousands of recent Canadian obituaries from public online sources every month.

Improved Donation Records Search

As our database of almost 15M Canadian donation records continues to grow, it has started to put enough of a strain on our database that we decided we needed to make things better. We found that certain searches were starting to take a few seconds to deliver results, and so it was time to speed things up.

We’ve completely rewritten our Donation Records search engine so that results are now consistently delivered within milliseconds of your query, no matter the complexity. We look forward to moving more of our searches to this new search engine in the future!

More On The Way

As I mentioned earlier, work continues on getting these new datasets into our prospect profiles. For the moment both datasets are searchable on their own or through our Integrated Search. Stay tuned for more developments, and as always, contact us if you’d like to see these new features in action.

CharityCAN’s 2021 Roundup

As we start 2022 here in CharityCAN’s home base of Waterloo, Ontario, in some ways it feels eerily like the start of 2021: working from home with limited contact with friends, family and coworkers, with lockdown measures in place to stop another COVID wave from crashing over our healthcare system.

In this Groundhog Day of a January it’s been too easy for me lately to feel down and sometimes hard to concentrate on anything that’s not just getting through the next day of home confinement, including our work here at CharityCAN.

That’s why it’s been nice for me today to take a look back at everything our fantastic team has done in 2021 to put things in perspective and to get me excited about the things we have coming up in 2022.

Company Updates

In company news, 2021 saw us implement a blind interview selection process that we’ve used to select our co-op students. We still have a pretty small sample size, but anecdotally the process has led to a diverse group of students selected as candidates.

Like many companies, we also experimented with reduced working hours over the summer. Feedback from employees was positive and we didn’t see any sort of difference in our business operations, so it’s something I hope we’ll do again this summer!

We also partnered with a company called Patch to make sure CharityCAN is carbon neutral going forwards.

Last but certainly not least, two employees (myself included!) welcomed new additions to their families.

Product Updates

Of course the other thing we love to look back on here is what we accomplished with our CharityCAN family of products over the year.

This year we saw the addition of some new data sets, including Canada’s private aircraft and marine craft registries and public sector salaries from Manitoba. What’s especially exciting about these new features for me is that they were created internally by an employee who took on the challenge of learning to code on the job – these were their first additions to our platform!

Besides the new data sets, we also added some major new features. After doing a lot of work behind the scenes, we introduced Donor Discovery, a new way to do prospect identification based on relationship and donation data.

We also launched Avenue Donor Data, a separate add-in for Raiser’s Edge NXT that allows you to view our CharityCAN Household Data alongside donor constituent records.

We added new features to our prospect profiles, like letting you export a customized PDF version of the profile, and letting you easily connect profiles to your organization so you can use their connections in our relationship path searches.

What’s Next

Through my volunteer experience this last year with Apra Canada (become a member if you’re not already!) and from participating in a study that found a significant return on investment from prospect research in the fundraising world, it feels like prospect research in Canada is still a rapidly growing field. We’re excited to be able to play a part in that growing world as more fundraisers start using data to make better fundraising decisions.

Here’s to 2022 and all the new challenges and successes it will bring!

Introducing Donor Discovery

After months of work behind the scenes, today we’re announcing a new way to do prospect identification in CharityCAN: a new feature we’re calling Donor Discovery.

Donor Discovery uses our donation record dataset with our relationship graph to give you a customizeable way to find new potential donors.

Set up filters like geographic region, donation amount, connections, donor type (individual, foundation or corporate) and cause to cast as wide or narrow a net as you’d like. We’ll show you donors who have given gifts according to your filters but who haven’t (yet!) made a recorded donation to your chosen organization.

For example, a university looking for funding for a new medical school building might look for health care donors in their geographic region with a connection to the university’s board of directors. A smaller local charity might look for individual donors to their cause giving amounts of under $1,000.

Once the results are generated we’ll show you how much the donor has given in the past and how they’re connected to your organization, with a link to the donor’s profile so you can quickly qualify your prospect.

We hope that by using relationship data as well as past donation data, we can surface prospects with a higher affinity to your organization and give you a path to connecting with them.

If you have a CharityCAN account already, please try out Donor Discovery and let us know what you think. If not, you can give it a go by requesting a trial.

Happy searching!

Our Pandemic Recovery Summer

This summer at CharityCAN, we’re trying something a little different. We’re taking a break.

Well, that’s not quite true – we’re taking a lot of little breaks. 8 of them, to be exact.

This summer, we’re turning every weekend into a long weekend for our employees. Every Monday that isn’t already a holiday between Canada Day and Labour Day becomes a paid day off. No time to make up during the week, just a long weekend for every weekend of the summer.

I’ve been toying with the idea of a summer of long weekends ever since I read It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work by the folks at Basecamp. You can read up a little more on their four day summer weeks here.

But to be honest, I was a little frightened as the owner and operator of a small business. Would we really have time to finish all the things we need to get done? Would we fall behind somehow?

This summer though, the math has changed. We’re all tired and worn out after living through more than a year of a global pandemic. As we slowly emerge from lockdowns to summer weather and safer outdoor conditions, we need spend more time seeing and reconnect with the people we’ve been separated from for so long.

I can’t sit here and pretend that this is some brave decision or that I’m a trailblazer, either. It’s much easier to jump on the bandwagon when even larger tech companies like Hubspot and LinkedIn are giving their employees “burnout breaks” in the form week-long company shutdowns, or when Microsoft Japan goes to 4 day work weeks and sees a boost in productivity of 40%.

It’s still not going to be perfect – our co-op students have to work 35 hours a week to get a co-op credit, so they’ll have to work 45 extra minutes on each of the four working days (or flex those hours however they wish), but it’s as close as we can get for now.

I’m hoping that if the experiment goes well this summer it’s something we can look forward to here every summer from now on.

We here at CharityCAN hope you have a great summer, however you spend it.

And if you happen to email any of us on a summer Monday starting this week, here’s what you’ll get back:

Thanks for your email! This summer is a “Pandemic Recovery Summer” here at CharityCAN, which means that we’re taking every Monday off from Canada Day to Labour Day.

I’ll respond to your email when I’m back at my desk tomorrow.

Introducing Avenue Donor Data

We here at CharityCAN would like to introduce a new way to find quick insights about the donors in your Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT database: Avenue Donor Data. 

Avenue Donor Data is a new application available in the Blackbaud Marketplace that creates an add-in tile in your constituent pages to display a donor’s net worth, annual income, dwelling value, and annual donations, based on their postal code.

Avenue Donor Data Example

We think this application will be useful for any Raiser’s Edge user or fundraiser that either doesn’t have a team of prospect researchers behind them to create donor profiles – or a fundraiser who might be supported by prospect research but who needs data now and at their fingertips.

Imagine a time when we get back to galas and golf tournaments and a fundraiser meets a donor over cocktails (full disclosure – I just got my second COVID vaccine dose and so this actually seems like more than a hypothetical right now!) and wants to find a little bit more about them and if they might be a major gift prospect.

Since Raiser’s Edge NXT and Avenue are mobile friendly, the fundraiser can log in and quickly view Avenue’s data to qualify the donor on the spot using their smartphone.

If you’re interested in installing Avenue or want to find out more, including our pricing options, checkout our new Avenue Donor Data product page.


Avenue Donor Data is just a little window into some of the data we have in our main CharityCAN prospect research tool. If you’re already a CharityCAN user, you have access to the same data in Avenue via our Household Data Search.

If you want the same kinds of data that Avenue has to offer in your donor management system, then you might be interested in doing a donor screening with us. We can append similar data (plus a whole lot more) to your donor file to help you qualify your whole database at once.

If you’re already a CharityCAN user and a Raiser’s Edge NXT user, you might also be interested in CharityCAN for Raiser’s Edge. It includes the same constituent add-in for household data, plus add-ins for relationship and donation data too.

And if you’re interested in something totally different, get in touch directly. We love to hear what ideas for projects you have and see if we can help you bring them to fruition.