How Chimp Helped Charities Raise $200M


Canadians are known to be compassionate. In 2010, 84 percent of Canadians aged 15 and over donated to charitable organizations, with the average contribution being $446 per person. Statistics Canada estimates that Canadians donate about 10.6 billion a year.

But that figure is declining. In fact, charitable giving in Canada is at a historical low and the data seems to suggest that Canadians are becoming less generous by the year. 

So how can we mitigate this? According to CHIMP founder, John Bromley, the answer lies in creating tools that directly support donors. In order to make the donation process easier and more transparent, John (a recent Business in Vancouver 40 Under 40 Award recipient), created an online platform that helps prospective donors research charities and make contributions - all in one place. Through CHIMP, over 100,000 Canadians have donated more than $200 million to charities worldwide in the last 3 years alone, proving that all it takes to create an everyday philanthropist is a little support.

Read on to learn more about Chimp's journey to disrupting the Charitable and Nonprofit Sector.

1. Tell us a bit about your company

CHIMP is a social enterprise that was founded to radically transform how we give to charity by empowering people to give on their own terms. Designed specifically for donors, CHIMP lets you give to any registered Canadian charity, build a charitable balance, fundraise, automate donations, and monitor your impact over time. To make sure your dollars go as far as possible, accounts are free and we don’t charge admin fees.

2. What problem are you solving?

We’re tackling two closely-related problems: the lack of proactive giving in our society (most people only give when asked), and the lack of objective advice and tools built specifically to support donors to give effectively.

3. Why are you the one to solve this problem?

Over the years, I’ve started multiple charity-focused ventures that bring together my experience and networks in finance and charity law. In 2012, after several years consulting on charity-related finance, strategy, and policy, I began to recognize significant flaws in the fundraising paradigm. While crowdfunding and online donations had become mainstream, there was a major gap in the market: a lot of tools were being built for fundraisers and charities, but no one was building tools that put donors—and their needs—first.

That’s what inspired me to apply my knowledge and experience to build CHIMP, which exists to democratize charitable giving and empower more everyday philanthropists.

4. Why is now the time for your company to exist?

Our world needs community engagement more than ever. While fundraising has proven effective for some charities, it hasn’t created a culture of giving. And ultimately, that’s what we need for the social economy to become more cost-effective and higher impact. Part of the reason we’re not there yet is that most people haven’t been taught about effective giving. Another part is that a lot of people have become frustrated and uncomfortable with constantly being asked to give (a phenomenon known as “donor fatigue”). This has nothing to do with people caring less; people are just tired of being pestered, so they start to tune out. People also feel left in the dark about the actual impact of their donations.

CHIMP hopes to remedy that by empowering people to give proactively, rather than reactively, and developing new ways to keep them informed on their impact. Through our platform, users can load their CHIMP Accounts, get an instant tax receipt, then take their time deciding where to give. This ability to separate the donation from a choice of which charities to support gives them the opportunity to budget for charity and be thoughtful about the causes they want to support without any guilt or social pressure. Our experience is that people who give this way feel more confident about their giving choices and create more social change over time as a result.

5. Where will your company be in 3 years?

Right now we have processed over $200 million in charitable donations via CHIMP. We see that number climbing to $1 billion. And, currently, we only operate in Canada. I can see us adding operations in another country within three years.

6. How do you define success?

Success is when you see your vision materialize in a tangible way. For us at CHIMP, success will be when everyday people think, act, and feel like philanthropists. When they act on their own innate generosity. When they act on the things they care about, rather than just what others ask them to care about. Success, to me, is when you have become an empowered donor.

7. What is one piece of advice you would offer to someone who is considering taking the leap into entrepreneurship?

Here’s one I had to learn the hard way: focus on solving something very specific. Don’t try to meet the needs of the masses or all potential customers. You can always expand later, but when you start out, stay narrow, get it right and then expand from there.