There are more than 85,000 charities registered with Canada Revenue Agency. All of them can issue tax receipts for the donations they solicit from you. Many of those charities are small, with limited staffs that rely on outside companies to do their fundraising.

However, a CBC investigation has found that in some cases, external fundraising companies are billing charities for well over half the money they collect — and in some cases, more than 90 per cent.

Over the past five years, external fundraisers in Canada have taken in more than $750 million.

The database below was built from records supplied by the Canada Revenue Agency on charities that paid external fundraisers for their campaigns during 2008 and 2009.

Please note: This database provides information on charities that hired external fundraisers for specific campaigns. It doesn't necessarily reflect all the fundraising a charity has done. For some charities, these contracts with external fundraisers may represent only a small proportion of the charity's overall fundraising picture. As well, in some cases, external fundraisers were paid a flat fee to recruit monthly donors who will provide ongoing income to the charities in future years. To see all the details of a specific registered charity's revenue and expenditures, ask for the charity's annual report, and go to the Canada Revenue Agency's charities website.

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Note: In some cases, charities paid fundraising companies more than they collected. It is possible those charities lost money on their campaigns. It is also possible that money was paid out in a different fiscal year than it was collected. Our investigation aimed to identify patterns.

The 2009 data is only a partial list, since some charities had not yet filed their returns for that year.