Well… what a year!

It goes without saying that 2020 was a challenging time all around the world. In Canada alone the global pandemic has wreaked havoc on our collective physical and mental health and exposed inequality across our society. Large companies like Amazon and Google reaped in profits while small businesses and charitable organizations struggled to remain open and provide community services. Low income, indigenous and racialized communities fared worse with COVID infections while affluent white collar workers were able to work from home in relative comfort. Pandemic aside, we’ve also witnessed political upheaval in our neighbour to the south, radicalization and disinformation spreading through social media, and the brutal death of George Floyd and other Black and Indigenous individuals in the US and at home at the hands of police, spurring some of the largest protests since the civil rights movement. In Kitchener-Waterloo, where our company is based, we saw a crowd of over 20,000 people take to the streets to safely and peacefully support the Black Lives Matter movement.

Against this backdrop it feels a little trivial to give a company update. Any news we could put out about our business feels inconsequential up against the other headlines we seem to be doomscrolling past every day. Yet it’s also during these times of hardship and turmoil that I feel thankful to be able to have a small part in creating software to support organizations that are making real change in the world.

As a small business, we were extremely thankful for the support of all of our users out there at Canadian fundraising organizations that continued to use CharityCAN to help them carry out their increasingly important work. As part of that aforementioned white-collar worker cohort we were lucky to be able to transition to a fully remote working environment back in March when the pandemic hit and keep ourselves relatively healthy through the year. While we lost some customers due to budget cuts, we had others double down on major gift giving to fill the gap left behind by cancelled fundraising events. All across the sector we saw organizations getting creative with new ways to organize and fundraise online.

And while we stayed cooped up in our houses and at our desks, we managed to add features and products to our business. I have our amazing team to thank and heap praise on for that, who not only kept us going through the pandemic but also through a month in the summer when I was out of commission recovering from surgery on a broken arm caused by a pandemic bike ride.

Here are a few of our highlights looking back at a year where we didn’t always have things to look forward to:

  • We launched an integration with Blackbaud Raiser’s Edge NXT, bringing our relationship data, donation records and postal code data directly into constituent record pages via custom add-ins
  • We gave CharityCAN a facelift with a new navigation scheme, homepage and donor profiles that immediately surface connections to your organization
  • We created donor recommendations based on relationships and past donations, surfacing local donors to like causes with connections to your organization
  • We launched new pricing tiers to simplify access to CharityCAN for users and teams and include some donor screening in the mix
  • We started working on an employee share ownership plan so we can reward our employees and give them real ownership in the company

We’re not done yet, of course – there’s always more work to do. This year we hope to expand our integration offerings to more donor management systems and add even more recommendation and prospect identification features.

Thank you again to my fantastic team and our amazing customers. I am incredibly privileged to be able to do what I do for a living. We all look forward to what 2021 will bring!

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