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About Ajah

Ajah’s non-profit initiative PoweredbyData named one of top innovations in global philanthropy

We are very proud that are non-profit initiative PoweredbyData> has been named as one of the top ten innovations in global philanthropy by NPC in the UK. You can read more about in the NPC press release, as well as access the report. It’s exciting to see our work being recognized, and we even more excited to keep working on our projects.

A new report from think tank NPC recommends 10 philanthropic innovations from around the globe. ‘New and improved’ philanthropy could be introduced to the UK to drive up investment in social causes and make better use of money already invested.

Published today (8 October) 10 innovations in global philanthropy examines top philanthropic trends from across the world, and highlights new ideas and initiatives from across Europe, Australasia and the Americas. Each is recommended for adoption or expansion in the UK, to help philanthropists and foundations keep pace with demand for their funds.

In addition, we have been trying to get Canada’s leadership in this area recognized, and we are glad to see it included in the report:

The UK and Canada are leading the way in open data. The Canada Revenue Agency collects and publishes detailed financial, HR, and activity-level information about Canadian charities annually, and makes it available in machine-readable and manipulable format. This makes it easier for companies like Ajah—experts in open and ‘big’ data—to integrate it with other data streams to share information on the non-profit sector.

That CRA data was one of the datasets that we lobbied to have released, and it’s a key block of the non profit open data stack. Stay tuned for more information on that.

You can read the rest of the press release on the NPC site.
You can read the full report here.

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Evolution and stewardship of Canada’s non-profit data – the T3010 Users Research Day

[This article is cross-posted on Ajah’s principal blog and PoweredbyData.]

You already know that we get pretty excited about non-profit data. The motherload of Canadian non-profit data is the T3010 form, the tax form that all charities have to fill in and is subsequently made available by the Canada Revenue Agency. It contains some great financial, HR data, and governance data as well as some other information about the charity’s activities. That’s why we are founding members of the T3010 group, initiated by Peter Elson and Francois Brouard from Mount Royal University and Carleton University, respectively.

The T3010 DATA USERS RESEARCH GROUP is a group of interested individuals who want to share information about the T3010 data. It is operated on a voluntary basis. Since 2011, members of the T3010 Data Users Research Group have regular discussion by teleconference on different issues and interests associated with the use of T3010 data. The interests of the members of the T3010 data users group are wide ranging in terms of applicability, but are also focused on a) having access to a common data set that would provide a basis for comparative research; b) identifying the incidence of errors and oversights which could be addressed, etiher by CRA or researchers; c) identifying gaps in T3010 data which prevents research from taking place; and d) engaging in mutual and collaborative research.

On May 26th, there was a meeting between the group and the Charities Directorate of the CRA at Carleton. It concerned the further evolution of the form, as well as some discussion of the Non-Profit Risk Identification project, currently being managed by the Treasury Department. We were very happy to sponsor the event. There was a healthy discussion on the type of data collected and the future of the form. Ajah’s main input was 1) that this data was very useful for operations of the non-profit sector, 2) that the principal use of this data in the future will be by applications, not people, and 3) that the availability of this data is unique in the world and that our friends to the south are especially jealous, as they fight for access to their 990 form data.

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Ajah Launches Non-Profit Initiative, PoweredbyData

Montreal, April 8, 2014 – Ajah announced today the launch of a non-profit initiative called PoweredbyData. With the goal of improving the functioning of the philanthropic funders and nonprofits by increasing the availability of useful data, the initiative is led and advised by experts in the domains of open data, standards development, and grant-making from across Canada, the USA, and the UK. This initiative responds to the need for better information in the non-profit sector.

Hilary Pearson, President of Philanthropic Foundations Canada (PFC), explains “Canadian foundations are looking for initiatives with impact, non-profits face the challenge of communicating their work more effectively, and governments are seeking evidence of effectiveness on the ground in order to support innovation in service delivery. The foundation sector is looking forward to the contribution of PoweredbyData to our understanding of philanthropic data, including better measures of impact.”

PoweredbyData will work predominantly with funders and government regulators to increase the supply of standard, interoperable, and open data about the sector and its impacts. “In creating our commercial services, we developed an expertise in transforming previously unused public data into innovative and useful tools for funders and fundraisers. Now, we’re looking forward to applying that expertise to the rest of the sector in areas with the potential for tremendous social impact, but no commercial opportunities, such as developing new standards and educating stakeholders to publish open data” explains Michael Lenczner, CEO of Ajah.

Recognized philanthropy and data expert, as well as author of the influential annual forecast Blueprint, Lucy Bernholz, adds, “In the United States, we are working to get access to the data that is currently available in Canada, and other countries are even farther behind. More and better data is essential to improve the functioning of the non-profit sector and I’m excited for PoweredbyData to bring those practices to the rest of the world.”

About Ajah
Launched in 2010, Ajah is a Montreal-based company providing leading edge online services to the non-profit sector. Their flagship product, Fundtracker, transforms open and public data into actionable intelligence for fundraisers.


For more information please visit poweredbydata.org or contact:
Michael Lenczner
info@poweredbydata.org
@pwrd_by_data

By |April 15th, 2014|About Ajah|0 Comments|

Ajah is hiring a Head of Sales

For the last four years, our team has been developing and providing the non-profit sector with better tools to understand the fundraising landscape in Canada. While the founding team has strong engineering and product management skills and a deep understanding of the problems faced by the non-profit sector, we always knew we were missing expertise in sales and marketing. That was fine initially, because we wanted to build a winning product before investing heavily in sales.

Given that we have had three consecutive years of triple digit revenue growth, that our customers love us, and that we keep winning business away from the competition, we feel that Fundtracker is now clearly recognized as the best prospect research tool in Canada. We now want to focus on getting our product into as many hands as possible.

We are hiring a Head of Sales to join the management team for the next stage of Ajah’s growth. Check out the job description here and feel free to forward the link to anyone you think might be interested in this great opportunity.

By |February 5th, 2014|About Ajah|0 Comments|

Ajah co-presenting Open Data for International Development

We’ve been a little silent on the blog lately because we’re just putting the finishing touches on a big announcement in regards to Fundtracker.  We’ve been busy behind the scenes though on several fronts, including in our work in the open data community and aid transparency.

Ajah’s CEO Michael Lenczner is a big fan of open data.  He’s even been invited to present at several Open Data conferences across the world in the last year.  So we’re happy to tell you a bit about this week’s Open Data for International Development meetup in Montreal that we’re co-presenting with Groupsia and Open North.

Joni Hillman from Development Initiatives in the UK will be in Montreal this coming Friday evening to talk about the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) as well as the upcoming international IATI meeting to be held in Montreal.   Also in attendance will be Yohanna Loucheur from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), who will discuss Aid Transparency in Canada.

The event is Friday, December 13th from 6pm to 8pm at Station C in Montreal.  Click here for information or to register.

Ajah featured in the Globe & Mail

Ajah’s founders were interviewed for the Small Business Challenge series in the Globe and Mail.  Read the article to find out a bit more about how we gather data to support the prospect research efforts of Canadian fundraisers.

 

Out and about

Ajah’s CEO Michael Lenczner has been on the move, speaking at some interesting philanthropy and data events this fall.  Last week, he was in Geneva to speak at the Open Knowledge Conference.  Michael shared Ajah’s success story in the stream on technology and tools for commercially-sustainable open data platforms.

Next week, Michael will be off again, this time to Calgary for the 2013 Social Enterprise World Forum, hosted by the Trico Foundation.  Michael will be on a panel with Lucy Bernholz of Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society and Brian Walsh of Liquidnet for Good, discussing how the process of opening data and sharing knowledge is the way forward for creating social impact at scale.

By |September 25th, 2013|About Ajah|0 Comments|

Ajah’s Fundraising Advisors

One of the things that marks us as a company is that just about every member of our team, from our developers to our researchers has experience in the non-profit sector. This means we understand our clients – and that we have experienced the difficulties they face. When we decided this summer to create a new team of regional account managers to help us be in better contact with our clients, we looked to former fundraisers.  Now that the team is almost complete, we thought we should introduce them.

Trish Gardham has been our primary contact with our clients since 2012.  When Trish joined us, she had spent 12 years in the non-profit sector in Quebec and British Columbia fundraising for small and medium-sized non-profits in the education and health sectors.  Trish now tends to clients in southern and western parts of Ontario and the Maritimes. She can be contacted directly at Trish (at) ajah.ca or ext. 3.

Linda Tesser is our new BC account manager.  Linda is based in Victoria and her background includes positions as a fundraiser at the Canadian Cancer Society and as the executive director of the Victoria Dragon Boat Festival.  BC-based charities can reach Linda directly at ltesser (at) ajah.ca or extension 5.

Erika Jahn represents Ajah to our clients in the beautiful Prairie provinces.  An Alberta native, Erika has recently moved back to the province after spending time in Montreal where she was a fundraiser with several community-based public health organizations. She’s very active in social media so if you’re a non-profit in the Prairies and would like to schedule a Fundtracker demo, contact Erika (at) ajah.ca or tweet her at @mserikajahn.

Based in Ottawa, Irene McIntosh‘s experience is as much in volunteer management and grantwriting as in fundraising. The Canadian Journal of Volunteer Resources Management, the Alzheimer Society of Ottawa and Renfrew County, the Ottawa Humane Society and the Canadian Lung Association are all organizations that she’s been a part of. If you are in Northern or Eastern Ontario and would like to find out how Fundtracker can help you identify new prospects, give her a shout at Irene (at) ajah.ca (ext. 2).

And finally, Daniella Mailing is our Regional Account Manager for the Greater Toronto Area.  Dani graduated from Humber College’s Fundraising and Volunteer Management Program and has worked at EcoSpark, Roy Thomson Hall and most recently, was a founding staff member of Small Change Fund. Working at the Small Change Fund exposed her to the other side of the funding equation and, as a member of the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network and the Circle on Aboriginal Philanthropy, she learned about the realities and challenges faced by funders.

If you need help identifying new funders, or want to set up a free Fundtracker demo, give them a call.

By |September 25th, 2013|About Ajah|0 Comments|

Meet Ajah’s Research Guru

We’re proud of the research we do at Ajah – it’s a big part of what differentiates us from other fundraising products.  When our clients log into Fundtracker, they are able to access the most up-to-date information on funders available.  Ever wonder how it happens? We sat down for a short chat with one of own, Bhavya Raju Mandya, to find out what goes on behind the interface.

Bhavya, a software engineer by training, arrived in Montreal in 2008 as a newlywed.  In her native India, she had worked for a large telecommunications company and taught computer skills on a volunteer basis at an orphanage.  Once settled in Canada, however, she realized she wanted a change of pace and volunteered with different organizations and festivals, trying to find the right fit for her computer science background and her burgeoning interest in the not-for-profit sector.

That right fit came in the form of a posting for a research stagière at Ajah.  Now employed full-time, Bhavya manages the research that goes into creating funder profiles – the very basis of Fundtracker.

Bhavya’s main responsibility is to coordinate the update and review of funder profiles on a regular basis, in addition to constantly adding new funding opportunities and gifts.  This includes managing the information like giving, geographical focus and deadlines for multiple kinds of funders found in Fundtracker.

She doesn’t do this alone.  Bhavya also manages a team of junior researchers at Ajah.

“The first thing I do when we welcome new researchers is to orient them to the importance of funding for non-profit organizations.  A missed or incorrect deadline may have a devastating impact for a non-profit, so our entire research team works extremely hard to ensure the information in Fundtracker is accurate. We pay attention to the details because we really care and understand the importance of funding for non-profits.”

Bhavya’s background as a software engineer comes in handy.  She uses her SQL knowledge to query Fundtracker, looking for gaps in information or to pinpoint profiles that need updating.  Her background also makes it easy for her to communicate the research team’s needs to Ajah’s development crew, especially when it comes to building and testing in-house tools.

Ajah also uses automated research to update the database, particularly when it comes to updating information found on the T3010 filings of Canadian grant-making foundations. Machines can’t quite make educated deductions (yet), so we consider ourselves lucky that knowledgeable and detail-oriented Bhavya and her team are around to review discrepancies and use “common sense” when it comes to the data that is at the very basis of Fundtracker.

By |September 17th, 2013|About Ajah|0 Comments|

Announcing our Regional Account Manager for the GTA

Earlier this week, we showed off our shiny new team of regional account managers who will be bringing us closer to our clients across the country.  Now we want to announce the final piece of the puzzle: Daniella Mailing will be joining us soon as our Regional Account Manager for the Greater Toronto Area.

Dani is a up-and-coming leader in the philanthropic sector. Since she graduated eight years ago from Humber College’s Fundraising and Volunteer Management Program she served as a Development Manager at EcoSpark, a Major Gifts Manager with Roy Thomson Hall and most recently, was a founding staff member of Small Change Fund, a registered foundation. Working at the Small Change Fund exposed her to the other side of the funding equation and, as a member of the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network and the Circle on Aboriginal Philanthropy, she learned about the realities and challenges faced by funders.

Dani gives back to the larger non-profit sector as a board member and chair of the fundraising committee at the Redwood Shelter.  She contributes specifically to the development of the fundraising community by serving as the treasurer of the social media conference Be Good Be Social Toronto.

One of the several reasons we’re excited to have Dani join us is her interest and curiosity in the question of how the fundraising sector can use new technology to accomplish its goals of of increasing giving. We told her that by working with us, she would be able to help us design the future of those tools for her fellow fundraisers.

Dani can be reached at 1-888-406-2524, ext. 7 or via email dani (at) ajah.ca after September 17th.

Welcome to Team Ajah, Dani!

By |September 5th, 2013|About Ajah|0 Comments|