Regrettably, the non-profit sector’s valuable contribution to Canadian society often goes unrecognized. The Donner Canadian Foundation Awards for Excellence in the Delivery of Social Services were established in 1998 as a means of both providing this well-deserved recognition and rewarding excellence and efficiency in the delivery of social services by non-profit agencies across the country. The national scope and $60,000 purse makes the Donner Awards Canada’s largest non-profit recognition program. Since 1998, $900,000 has been granted to Canadian non-profits through the Donner Awards.
By providing non-profits with tools to measure and monitor their performance, the Donner Awards Program also encourages agencies to strive to ever-higher levels of excellence. In turn, the commitment to excellence and accountability demonstrated by Donner Awards participants can help encourage public confidence and involvement in this important sector of Canadian society.
The Fraser Institute began developing an objective non-profit performance evaluation system in 1997. With the vision and support of the Donner Canadian Foundation, this system became the basis of the selection process for the annual Donner Canadian Foundation Awards. Between 1998 and 2011, non-profit organizations from all 10 provinces and 3 territories submitted 6,308 unique social service programs for evaluation in the Donner Awards Program.
This evaluation process represents a major step forward in the development of an objective, quantifiable measure of performance for non-profit organizations. Non-profit performance is measured in ten areas: Financial Management, Income Independence, Strategic Management, Board Governance, Volunteers, Staff, Innovation, Program Cost, Outcome Monitoring, and Accessibility. In addition to the ten specific criteria, a composite score is also calculated to indicate overall performance.