Charity Growth Academy kicks off with a first-year pilot program that provides unique digital tools, training, and support to 11 registered Canadian charities and nonprofits

TORONTO, ON–CanadaHelps, the country’s largest platform for donating and fundraising online, announced the launch of the CanadaHelps Charity Growth Academy, an initiative made possible by Mastercard and its new Mastercard Changeworks program.

Charity Growth Academy is a free digital transformation program to help Canadian charities become more digitally enabled. Through the program, charities will build technical skills, improve their operational processes, and develop digital mindsets by leveraging the training, expert support, grants, and tools of the program. The national initiative is now underway with a pilot program of 11 organizations from across Canada. The pilot program will run through April 2023.

“The prioritization and advancement of digital transformation in Canada’s charitable sector is at a critical point,” says Lizz Bryce, SVP, Community & Strategic Initiatives at CanadaHelps. “With the generous support of Mastercard, Charity Growth Academy is a timely initiative that leverages best practices adapted from the for-profit world to address the unique challenges of the charitable sector. Our ultimate goal is to help charities across the country – at no cost to them – establish a digital foundation that addresses their immediate needs while also building sustainable practices and internal capacity to thrive.”

Addressing the Unique Challenges of the Sector
The development of Charity Growth Academy comes after years of conversations with charities about their challenges and needs, supported by CanadaHelps’ original research in the Digital Skills Survey. The responses from more than 1,400 Canadian charities revealed that charities are lagging in both digital adoption and investments in digital technology, with small charities falling the furthest behind. While most charities believe digital tools are critical to attracting supporters and engaging donors, digital adoption is repeatedly put on hold as charities contend with understaffing, revenue declines, and growing demand for services – even though many of the issues charities struggle with today could be efficiently and effectively managed through the implementation of digital technology.

“The CanadaHelps Charity Growth Academy will provide the tools, training and support not-for-profits need to put technology and data to work for social change,” said Sasha Krstic, President, Mastercard Canada. “Mastercard is proud to extend its first grant from our new Mastercard Changeworks program to CanadaHelps, an organization that has been helping charities grow in their digital capacity for over 20 years.”

The Mastercard Changeworks program is designed to support not-for-profits and their communities through a combination of grants and partnerships, volunteer programs that leverage the tech and data expertise of team members, and hackathons and datathons that address critical tech and data-related challenges.

Multi-stream Program
Charity Growth Academy is a holistic, multi-stream program to support charities at each stage of their digital transformation journey. It helps charities embrace a digital-first culture that supports data-driven decision-making across different teams and functions. It also provides the insights needed to engage supporters and fundraise in a digital world, leverage data to measure and communicate impact, and increase operational efficiency. Each program participant will move through three phases:

● Assessment and Action Plan: An in-depth evaluation of current technology, processes, and culture, followed by a customized and easy to follow guide to help charities prioritize their tasks and plan for success

● Supported Learning and Implementation: in-depth online courses, workshops and resources to build digital skills and mindsets, combined with expert support, and grants to reduce financial barriers and enable action

● Ongoing Support: Resources for continuous learning, skill building, and growth. Charities will have access to high-quality, curated resources and materials that are specific to the non-profit sector. and These resources will support continuous learning to help build capacity.

Pilot program now underway
The organizations participating in the pilot program include:
1. Skills for Change
2. YES Employment + Entrepreneurship
3. The Centre for Immigrant Settlement and Integration (CISI)
4. Startup Canada
5. Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)
6. Enactus Canada
7. Pow Wow Pitch
8. Indigenous Perspectives Society
9. Thunder Woman Healing Lodge Society (TWHLS)
10. Kw’umut Lelum Foundation
11. Rise

Each charity participating in the pilot will receive up to $10,000 in grant money from Mastercard, and free access to the CanadaHelps Donor Management System, a tool critical to effective fundraising and donor stewardship.

About CanadaHelps
CanadaHelps is a public foundation advancing philanthropy through technology. For Canadians, it powers, a safe and trusted destination for discovering and supporting any charity in Canada, and, where Canadians can learn about causes and easily support the collective work of charities addressing a cause they care about. CanadaHelps also develops affordable fundraising technology used by more than 25,000 charities, and free training and education so that, regardless of size, all charities have the capacity to increase their impact and succeed in the digital age. Since 2000, over 3.5 million people have given more than $2.2 billion through CanadaHelps. Connect with CanadaHelps on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)
Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

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