Fundraising FAQs

Fundraising - Frequently Asked Questions

This area of our site is devoted to Frequently Asked Questions on fundraising and registered charities. On these pages of the site you will find a detailed and up-to-date catalogue of commonly asked questions and answers, with additional links to more information. You can move around the FAQs by choosing from the five (5) main question areas listed below or choose from the left hand menu under FAQs.

If you have a question that you don't see answered here, please send an e-mail to [email protected] and we will do our best to respond as soon as possible.

  1. Fundraising Activities
  2. Illegal and Prohibited Activities
  3. Cost of Fundraising
  4. Personal and Information Privacy
  5. Fundraising in Alberta

Fundraising Activities

Activités de financement

F1. En quoi consistent les activités de financement?

F2. Qu’est-ce qu’une demande d’appui?

F3. Nous sommes un organisme de bienfaisance enregistré nouvellement créé. Nous avons entendu dire qu'il y a des exigences fiscales reliées aux activités de financement. Que devons-nous savoir sur les activités de financement?

F4. Notre organisme de bienfaisance peut-il engager quelqu'un pour gérer une campagne de financement et lui verser un pourcentage des dons recueillis?

F5. Notre organisme de bienfaisance enregistré envoie des étiquettes d’adresse au public dans le cadre de notre campagne de publipostage. S'agit-il d'une dépense acceptable?

F6. Pourquoi une activité de financement n'est-elle pas une activité de bienfaisance? Je ne comprends pas la différence.

F7. Y a-t-il une limite aux dépenses que notre organisme de bienfaisance enregistré peut consacrer aux activités de financement?

F8. Notre organisme de bienfaisance enregistré vient d'organiser une grande collecte de fonds. Existe-t-il des directives concernant la délivrance de reçus?

F9. J'ai entendu le terme « sans lien de dépendance » appliqué aux organismes de bienfaisance enregistrés. Que signifie-t-il?

F10. J'ai entendu parler d'une campagne de financement très réussie menée par un organisme de bienfaisance dans un autre pays. Mon organisme de bienfaisance enregistré aimerait reproduire cette campagne au Canada. Pouvons-nous le faire sans problèmes?

F11. J'ai entendu dire que le Conseil de la radiodiffusion et des télécommunications canadiennes a introduit une nouvelle règle ayant un impact sur la sollicitation téléphonique. Ces changements ont-ils une incidence sur la façon dont les organismes de bienfaisance enregistrés peuvent collecter des fonds?

F12. Qui est responsable en dernier ressort des activités de financement d'un organisme de bienfaisance enregistré?

F13. En tant qu'administrateur d'un organisme de bienfaisance enregistré, puis-je être tenu pour responsable personnellement de ne pas avoir protégé les droits d'un donateur dans le cadre d'une activité de financement?

F14. Certaines activités de financement en particulier préoccupent-elles l’ARC?

F15. Certaines activités sont-elles considérées principalement comme des activités de financement à cause de ce qu’elles sont?

F1. What are fundraising activities?

F1. What are fundraising activities?


Short answer

Fundraising activities include a solicitation of support, actions undertaken as part of the research or planning for a future solicitation of support, and actions involving communication or other dealings with donors or prospective donors relating to a solicitation of support

  • by a registered charity or someone acting on its behalf
  • to individuals or corporations
  • for voluntary cash or in-kind donations
  • with or without tax receipts
Long answer

A fundraising activity can be

  • a self-contained activity  or a component of a bigger activity
  • a single event or a series of initiatives (such as a capital campaign)

There are two general groups of fundraising activities:

  • External activities — activities that can be seen by the public, for example, mail campaigns, luncheons, dinners, golf tournaments, fairs, and telethons.

  • Internal activities — activities that may not be public, but are relevant to the success of fundraising – such as research and planning and taking care of  donors. Some examples are creating a donor database or a prospective donor list, managing donor stewardship or organizing donor recognition, and activities relating to mounting fundraising activities.
More…

Charity Central learning module on Fundraising

F2. What is a solicitation of support?

F2. What is a solicitation of support?


Short answer

A solicitation of support is any statement (possibly in one or more of any of a variety of forms) made to seek donations.

Long answer

A solicitation of support includes sale of goods and services to raise funds, as well as requests for contributions not involving an exchange. Staff or volunteers of a registered charity or a contracted third party can seek a solicitation of support of the charity’s behalf.  . The charity is responsible for all of its fundraising activities on its behalf regardless of who is performing the activity. It must direct and exercise control over its fundraising activity.
Solicitation of support does not include

  • volunteer recruitment
  • requests for funding from government or from another charity

These activities are not considered fundraising activities. Some charities might classify volunteer recruitment as program activities.

F3. We’re a newly organized registered charity. We heard that there are tax requirements for fundraising. What do we need to know about fundraising?

F3. We’re a newly organized registered charity. We heard that under the Income Tax Act there are certain requirements that apply to our fundraising. What do we need to know about fundraising?


Short answer

Two things must be remembered to keep your registered charity’s status:

1. fundraising must not be your primary activity

and

2. you must devote certain portions of your resources to charitable programs or services (including gifts to qualified donees) rather than fundraising expenditures.

While the Canada Revenue Agency accepts that you will encounter costs in your efforts to raise funds for your charitable purpose, it expects that these expenses will be reasonable.

Long answer

When you registered your charity, you declared your charitable purpose. That purpose must always be the focus of your time and resources.
The CRA does not view fundraising as a charitable activity. Spending excessive amounts on fundraising could also result in the charity not meeting its disbursement quota (DQ), that is, its spending requirement.

More…

For further discussion on fundraising, see the checklist of allowable activities .
See guidelines for fundraising events and charitable activities at General guidelines for issuing receipts applicable to all fundraising events or activities

F4. Can our charity hire someone to manage a fundraising drive and pay them a percentage of the donations they raise?

F4. Can our charity hire someone to manage a fundraising drive and pay them a percentage of the donations they raise?


Short answer

Maybe. A registered charity may, provided it is carrying on its own charitable activities, enter into fundraising contracts. The charitable activities carried out by such fundraisers must be conducted under the registered charity’s direction and control and the fundraisers must not be paid more than reasonable market value.


On the other hand, you may want to consider paying a fundraiser based on effort (for example, devotion of time and resources) rather than fundraising success. Payment based on effort is less likely to result in disproportionate or excessive "private benefit”, which is benefit to individuals or corporations, rather than to the public.

Long answer

If a charity provides a commission or a percentage for fundraising on the basis of results rather than effort, a disproportionate or excessive remuneration may result in an unacceptable contractual arrangement. Charities are not to enter into fundraising agreements that result in unduly rich remuneration for the fundraiser.


Excessive “private benefit” to fundraisers (as well as to members and directors of the registered charity) must always be avoided. Private benefit is seen in contrast to public benefit. Your registered charity’s purpose indicates the public benefit you intend as a charity. When funds are spent to further your objectives, then the merit of the expense is self evident. If funds are spent on something not directly furthering your objectives, then you need to carefully consider the expense.


Any private benefit associated with a charity’s operations is only acceptable as a minor and incidental by-product of its work. Any private benefit must not be excessive or disproportionate to the public benefit of the charitable purpose it exists to pursue.


When the fundraising arrangement includes commission-based payment or other compensation based on the number or amount of donations raised, the charity will want to ensure that such provisions would not result in lopsided or excessive private benefit. Groups such as Imagine Canada and the Association of Fundraising Professionals discourage use of commission-based fundraising because of the conflict it may create between a fundraiser’s personal interests and those of the charity. Since you can’t measure the link between performance-based fees and the effort required to secure donations, contracts providing for such fees could possibly result in a windfall profit for the fundraiser. This is particularly true when the compensation is set at a high percentage and limited or no additional provisions govern how the work is done.

Example

This year, XXX Charity paid a fundraiser at a modest rate based on calls completed, regardless of whether a donation was received. YYY Charity paid on an hourly basis at a reasonable market value for the work entailed. Neither of these arrangements usually results in disproportionate or excessive private benefit.


For the same event the year before, however, XXX had paid a different fundraiser on a percentage basis an amount that was later seen as an amount exceeding reasonable market value for the work he did. Within a few calls, the fundraiser had been able to land some very large contributions and was eligible for a significant payment. In this circumstance the private benefit to the fundraiser, therefore, was not minor (or “incidental”) to the broader public benefit associated with the charities work.

More…

If you have any concerns about certain expenses or budget items, consult a professional who is familiar with registered charities.

F5. Our registered charity sends mailing labels to members of the public in our direct mail campaign. Is this an acceptable expense?

F5. Our registered charity sends mailing labels to members of the public in our direct mail campaign. Is this an acceptable expense?


Short answer

Yes. This minor solicitation of support is treated as an acceptable fundraising expense.

Similar promotions for donations must be incidental and are considered minor if:

  • the promotional items were supplied at arm's-length,
  • the promotional items were purchased at a value no more than the retail value, or
  • any associated private benefit was necessary.
Long answer

Any personal or corporate benefit associated with a charity's operations is only acceptable as a minor and incidental by-product of its work. No private benefit should be disproportionate to the public benefit that the charity exists to pursue.

Before purchasing gift incentives or donor premiums, make sure that any private benefit associated with such purchases is minor or incidental.

To qualify as incidental, any personal or corporate benefit would have to be necessary. Consider whether:

  • a supplier is dealing at arm's-length from the charity
  • it can be shown that the gift incentive increases the net amount or number of donations.
More…

Review the general fundraising guidelines.

F6. Why isn’t a fundraising activity a charitable activity? I don’t understand the difference.

F6 Why isn't a fundraising activity a charitable expenditure? I don't understand the difference.

A charitable expenditure is spending that directly furthers your charitable purpose. If your charitable purpose is to fight childhood diseases, then distributing mosquito nets and immunization campaigns might be among your charitable programs. In order to finance these programs, you need to raise funds. You might hold an auction, a dinner, or a golf tournament. Those are your fundraising activities.

The distinction between charitable expenditures and fundraising expednitures is not always clear. One activity can have both charitable and fundraising components. While a fundraising banquet isn’t a charitable program or service, a guest speaker’s presentation at the banquet may educate a new audience about a topic included in the charity’s purpose.

In this combined activity, the charity needs to decide how to allocate the elements of the event and their costs for reporting purposes and needs to maintain separate records of those costs. A registered charity is allowed to spend up to 20 per cent of its total receipted income on non-charitable expenditures of which fundraising is only a part. This limitation is explained in the disbursement quota FAQs.

Example

123Go, a children's health charity, has a month-long awareness campaign in which most of a printed flyer provides information about childhood diseases and a paragraph on the back page appeals for funds so 123Go can continue its work. Note: 123Go, in this example, does not use a professional fundraiser to create or distribute the flyer. For its record keeping, the charity separates the portion that furthers its charitable object and the portion that raises funds. On the two-page flyer, the closing paragraph represents 15 per cent of the content. Therefore 15 per cent of the writing, printing, and distribution costs is considered fundraising costs, while the other 85 per cent is seen as 123Go's charitable costs.

More…

See the Disbursement Quota FAQs.

F7. Is there a limit on how much our registered charity can spend

F7. Is there a limit on how much our registered charity can spend on fundraising?


Short answer

Yes, there certainly is. Your charity's stated purpose when you registered must always be your main focus of time and resources. To ensure that this emphasis is maintained, you must calculate your "disbursement quota" each year. This calculation determines how much of your receipted donations you must spend on your charitable purpose in the coming year and at the same time, how much you must limit your spending to on fundraising, administrative, and other indirect costs.

The disbursement quota includes two types of spending requirements based on:

  • the receipted income (donations) during a fiscal year
  • the assets the charity holds that are not used in its charitable activities.

The disbursement quota balance regarding receipted income is 80 to 20 per cent:

  • at least 80 per cent must be spent on charitable expenditures
  • no more than 20 per cent can be spent on non-charitable expenditures, including administrative and fundraising costs

Regarding the charity’s assets, the charity needs to spend annually

  • at least 3.5 per cent of the average value of the assets that the charity holds that are not used for charitable activities.

Fundraising expenditures are ineligible for use toward meeting disbursement quota obligations. Spending excessive amounts on fundraising could result in your charity not meeting its disbursement quota. See Disbursement Quota FAQs.

Long answer

A registered charity cannot engage in fundraising as a primary activity. Devoting a substantial portion of your revenue to fundraising activities also puts your registered status in jeopardy. Making fundraising a primary activity and/or spending most of your revenue on fundraising could potentially lose you your ability to function as a registered charity.

Registered charities that have major shortfalls in their charitable spending over a number of years risk losing their charitable status. They also risk losing their status if fundraising costs are excessive, particularly if the charity is not able to show that such costs would decline in future years.

More…

Information on the Annual spending requirement (disbursement quota)

F8. Our registered charity just held a major fundraiser. Are there guidelines about issuing receipts?

F8. Our registered charity just held a major fundraiser. Are there guidelines about issuing receipts?

Yes, there are guidelines

The FAQs about Receipting, will take you to another part of this website, but clicking the back arrow on your browser will bring you back for more FAQs on fundraising.

F9. I have heard the term 'arms-length' applied to registered charities. What does it mean?

F9. I have heard the term arm’s-length applied to registered charities. What does it mean?


Short answer
At arm’s-length describes a relationship in which the parties act independently of each other.

The opposite — not at arm’s-length — includes individuals who are related to each other by blood, marriage, adoption, and common law relationships. Not at arm’s-length also covers people acting together without separate interests, such as those with close business ties.

Long answer

The concept of arm’s-length is used, amongst other things, in registered charities to clarify private benefit. For example, promotional items must be supplied at arm’s-length at a reasonable market value and without any excessive private benefit to the supplier, the charity’s board, or any individual members of the board.

F10. I heard about a very successful fundraising campaign run by a by a charity in another country. My registered charity would like to duplicate that campaign in Canada. Can we do that without any problems?

F10. I heard about a very successful fundraising campaign run by a charity in another country. My registered charity would like to duplicate that campaign in Canada. Can we do that without any problems?


Short answer

Not necessarily. Problems can occur when you simply copy the fundraising program of another charity without considering your charity's purpose as well as federal and provincial laws, among other issues.

When in doubt, check with a professional advisor and/or consult with the Canada Revenue Agency guidance and the relevant regulatory authorities to determine whether the contemplated initiative is permissible in your charity's circumstances.

Long answer

Registered charities should conduct an appropriate due diligence review of the legal liability or the suitability of a program prior to adopting another charity's fundraising program (whether the other charity is within or outside of Canada). A due diligence review may include some, if not all, of the following:

  • The fundraising program may have originated in the other country and been adopted without taking into account the differences in the regulatory bodies between Canada, the other country and that particular province.
  • The corporate objects and powers of the registered charity may be very different from the charity in the other country.
  • Even if a legal opinion has been obtained by another charity concerning the legality of a fundraising program, the legal opinion will not have application to your charity.
  • Even if a fundraising program is determined to comply with all applicable laws, it may not be practical for your registered charity to undertake the same program due to the inexperience or size of your charity.

If you are still not sure, check with the Canada Revenue Agency guidance and the appropriate regulatory authorities.

F11. I’ve heard that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has introduced a new rule that impacts telemarketing solicitation. Do these changes impact how registered charities can fundraise?

F11. I've heard that the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission has introduced a new rule that impacts telemarketing solicitation. Do these changes impact how registered charities can fundraise?


Short answer

Perhaps. Registered charities that use telemarketing are impacted. Registered charities that make fundraising solicitations that do not comply with Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission directives, the CRTC's telemarketing rules, or other established government policy may be subject to review.

This is particularly important since 30 September 2008 when a do-not-call list (DNCL) was implemented. Although charities are exempt from the do-not-call list, individuals can specifically request that a charity remove them from their list. The charity should maintain its own DNCL and comply with that request.

More…

If the CRTC can be of any assistance, you can contact them: www.crtc.gc.ca/eng/contact.htm

Visit the CRTC's National Do Not Call List
or see the Canada Revenue Agency page.

F12. Who is ultimately responsible for registered charity fundraising?

F12. Who is ultimately responsible for registered charity fundraising?


Short answer

The legal responsibility for fundraising lies with the charity and its board of directors. The charity and its board of directors have to provide direction and exercise control over all fundraising activities.

Long answer

Directors have a responsibility to exercise prudence in overseeing the operations of a charity and protecting its charitable property, which includes protecting the charity's property from undue risk of loss and ensuring against excessive administrative expenses.

Example

The duty placed on directors of charities from fundraising programs was underscored in a 2001 Ontario case in which the court found the AIDS Society for Children and its three directors liable for unreasonable fundraising costs of almost $740,000 and imposed a further $50,000 penalty on the directors of the charity. It had been discovered that despite raising over $920,000 through public donations, no funds had been spent on charitable programs. More than 76 per cent of the money raised went to fundraising companies for fees.

The court held that directors of a charity:

    • have an obligation to the charity and the property held by the charity
    • are accountable to the public for all funds publicly raised
    • are accountable to use such funds to further the objects of the charitable institution

For more details, see Ontario (Public Guardian and Trustee) v. The AIDS Society for Children (Ontario), [2001] and/or here

More…

For CRA's policy on directors and trustees, see the Summary Policy

F13. As a director of a registered charity, can I be held personally liable for not protecting a donor's rights in a fundraising operation?

F13. As a director of a registered charity, can I be held personally liable for not protecting a donor's rights in a fundraising operation?


Short answer

Yes, you can. The Courts have placed a fiduciary duty on boards of directors to oversee charitable fundraising and ensure that the rights of a donor have been adequately protected, as seen in the AIDS Society case (see example below).

Long answer

Directors of a charity should actively review, approve, and oversee all fundraising activities of a charity, including the terms of contractual relationships with professional fundraisers. A risk management approach to fundraising is essential in order for board members to avoid personal liability.

Example
The duty placed on directors of charities from fundraising programs was underscored in a 2001 Ontario case in which the court found the AIDS Society for Children and its three directors liable for the unreasonable fundraising costs of almost $740,000 and imposed a further $50,000 penalty on the directors of the charity. It had been discovered that despite raising over $920,000 through public donations, no funds had been spent on charitable programs. More than 76 per cent of the money raised went to fundraising companies for fees.

The court held that directors of a charity:

  • have an obligation to the charity and the property held by the charity
  • are accountable to the public for all funds publicly raised
  • are accountable to utilize such funds to further the objects of the charitable institution

More ...

See Checklists for Charities and more on directors' liability .

F14. Do some fundraising activities in particular concern the CRA?

F14. Do some fundraising activities in particular concern the CRA?


Short answer

Yes, certain activities will raise flags for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

The CRA has created a list of indicators that may cause them to further review a registered charity’s fundraising activities.

Long answer

Indicators relating to contracting with professional fundraisers:

  • Sole-source fundraising contracts without proof of fair market value
    The contract was not open to competition. The charity entered into an agreement with the only party that was given the opportunity to make a proposal. 

  • Non-arm’s-length fundraising contracts without proof of fair market value
    Non-arm’s-length contracts are contracts given to individuals who are related to someone in the charity by blood, marriage, adoption, or common law relationships, or individuals with similar interests, such as those with close business ties.

  • Activities where most of the gross revenues go to the contracted non-charitable parties

  • Commission-based remuneration to the fundraiser or payment based on the amount or number of donations

Other indicators:

  • Total resources devoted to fundraising are greater than the total resources for charitable program activities.
    This could indicate that fundraising is the main object of the charity. Fundraising can only be a secondary objective. It is a means to help the charity further its charitable object.

  • Misrepresentation in disclosure of fundraising or financial performance
    CRA expects the charity, or anyone acting of its behalf, to be truthful in making representations about the charity’s fundraising or finances.

  • Purchases of unnecessary fundraising merchandise
    In buying and giving gift incentives, a charity has to demonstrate that the incentives will result in an increase in donations.

  • Purchases of fundraising merchandise at more than fair market value
    Even if the merchandize increases donations, an unacceptable portion of the charity’s resources are being devoted to non-charitable ends.

  • Purchases of fundraising merchandise from suppliers who are not at arm’s-length
    If the fundraising merchandise is purchased from a supplier not at arm’s-length, the merchandise must be at fair market value or lower. 

  • Poorly documented fundraising initiatives
    Fundraising initiatives have to be documented.  Records should include minutes of planning meetings and written contracts, and show that the charity applied sound risk management practices as explained in the fundraising guidelines.
More...

Charity Central learning module on Questionable Practices

F15. Are some activities considered mainly fundraising because of what they are?

F15. Are some activities considered mainly fundraising because of what they are?


Short Answer

Yes. Some activities by their very nature are considered predominantly fundraising. Activities that are considered mainly fundraising include telemarketing and infomercials.

Long Answer

Some activities are always considered fundraising, such as:

  • activities related to charitable gaming
  • activities that have goods or services sold as a fundraiser by or on behalf of the charity

Illegal and Prohibited Activities

F16. I heard something about illegal fundraising. How can fundraising be illegal?

F16. I heard something about illegal fundraising. How can fundraising be illegal?


Short Answer

Registered charities are prohibited from engaging in anything illegal or contrary to public policy. Fundraising can be illegal if it contravenes the Income Tax Act or any other laws. It is also unacceptable for a registered charity to fundraise or otherwise make its resources available to support terrorism.

Fundraising activity would also be illegal if it were criminally fraudulent or violated federal or provincial statutes governing charitable fundraising, charitable gaming, the use of charitable property, or consumer protection.

Long answer

The CRA has published a guidance CG-013 Fundraising by Registered Charities. It contains a section on illegal fundraising activities.

You will want to make sure that any commercial or trading activities you carry out do not contravene the Income Tax Act.

More…

Details on illegal activities as part of prohibited activities listed in the CRA Guidance is available in the Fundraising- Prohibited Conduct Learning Module.

The CRA has published a checklist on Avoiding Terrorism

F17. Would I be held responsible for illegal fundraising if someone else carried it out?

F17. Could I be held responsible for illegal fundraising if someone else carried it out?


Short answer

Very possibly. Assuming you are a board member, you are responsible for direction and control of your charity. Due diligence is expected of you as a board and of a charity's directors and officers.

Illegal fundraising by a registered charity is prohibited whether carried out by the registered charity or by a third party on behalf of the registered charity. In the same way you are responsible for maintaining direction and control of your charity, you have to maintain direction and control of any third party fundraiser.

You must take all necessary steps to ensure that fundraisers working on behalf of your charity are complying with all applicable laws.

In particular, fundraising to facilitate or advance an illicit gifting arrangement or involving improper issuance of donation receipts is not charitable and can lead to revocation of your charitable status.

Long answer

The possibility of revocation for a registered charity applies even when the fundraising activity is not in itself illegal, but is associated with illegal conduct. Where a charity knows, or ought to have known, that through its fundraising it is furthering illicit practices or transactions, the Canada Revenue Agency takes the position that this fundraising is grounds for revocation.

The courts have held that fundraising contracts can be harmful to the public interest if they result in misrepresentation to the public about whether donated amounts go to the charity or to pay the fundraising company collecting them. Charities are prohibited from entering into fundraising contracts that result in the public being misled about the use of donations.

Making a fundraising solicitation that does not comply with Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission directives, the CRTC's telemarketing rules, or other established government policy may be considered contrary to public policy and is also prohibited.

More…

See the CRA's summary policy on accountability

F18. What will the CRA do if an audit raises concerns about a charity’s fundraising activities?

F18. What will the CRA do if an audit raises concerns about a charity’s fundraising activities?


If the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is concerned about a charity’s fundraising activities, it can do a number of things to bring the charity into line. The steps it can take are outlined below, and are progressively more grave.  They are known as the “compliance continuum”.  CRA generally looks at the seriousness and persistence of the misconduct, and whether it was intentional or not, in determining what its response will be.  The measures are:

  • sending education letters
  • signing compliance agreements with the charity
  • assessing a monetary penalty
  • suspending a charity’s tax-receipting privileges
  • revoking a charity’s registered status
    Revocation is allowed at any time but generally it is the last resort used by the CRA.
More…

The CRA Compliance Continuum

F19. Are some fundraising activities prohibited?

F19. Are some fundraising activities prohibited?


Short Answer

 A fundraising activity is prohibited when it

  • is illegal or contrary to public policy
  • is the main or independent purpose of the charity
  • results in an out of proportion or more than incidental private benefit to individuals or corporations
  • is deceptive or misleading
More…

Charity Central Learning Module on Prohibited Conduct

CRA Guidance on Fundraising by Registered Charities

Cost of Fundraising

F20. Why does a charity have to make a distinction between its fundraising activities and its charitable program activities?

F20. Why does a charity have to make a distinction between its fundraising activities and its charitable program activities?


Short answer

A charity is constituted to pursue certain charitable objectives.  These may include: to relieve poverty; to advance education; to advance religion; or to benefit the community (as defined by the courts). Fundraising activity is usually necessary to finance such charitable objectives. Fundraising is allowed as long as it complies with the CRA’s guidelines. CRA guidelines were developed to help charity’s understand what fundraising conduct is permissible and what is impermissible.  Broadly, CRA wants to ensure that the charity is spending substantially all its resources on programming, rather than administration and/or fundraising.

Registered Charities are required to report fundraising expenses separately from charitable program and other expenses on its annual T3010 form. In order to do so, what constitutes fundraising activity has to be well-defined, and the expenses associated with such activity have to be distinguishable from other costs. 

More…

The Charities File for more information on T3010 form- Info Sheet #1

Charity Central FAQ F6

F21. Does the CRA compare fundraising expenses to the amount we raised through fundraising?

F21. Does the CRA compare fundraising expenses to the amount we raised through fundraising?


Short answer

Yes. The ratio of fundraising expenses to fundraising revenues is one of the factors that the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) reviews.

This CRA grid guides them in determining when additional information on fundraising costs is needed.

Ratio of costs to revenues
over fiscal period

CRA Approach

Costs under 35% of revenues

Generally acceptable and unlikely to generate questions or concerns.

Costs ranging from 35% to 70%

The CRA will check to see if there is a trend toward higher fundraising costs. The higher the ratio, the more likely that the CRA will ask for more detailed assessment of expenditures.

Costs above 70%

Rarely acceptable without a rationale to show that the charity is in compliance with fundraising requirements.

Reprinted from Guidance on Fundraising by Registered Charities.

Long answer

In addition to considering where the charity’s ratio fits into the range, the CRA will look at the Best Practice Indicators and any areas of concern that could lead to further review.

The CRA will also consider these factors in assessing a charity’s fundraising activities and costs:

  • The size of the charity – this may impact fundraising efficiency
  • Causes with limited appeal – fundraising for some causes can be more challenging and have limited results
  • Donor acquisition or long term campaigns, such as planned giving initiatives – could result in donations received in later years
More…

Charity Central learning module on Best Practice Indicators

Read more on Best Practice Indicators and CRA Guidance on Fundraising by Registered Charities

F22. How do we allocate expenses of an activity that includes fundraising?

F22. How do we allocate expenses of an activity that include fundraising?


Short Answer

A charity must satisfy one of two tests before determining how (if any) of the expenditures relating to an activity may be considered to have both fundraising and charitable components. These tests are:

  • Substantially All Test
  • Four Part Test
Long Answer

Substantially All Test

If 90 per cent or more of an activity advances your charity’s objective(s) other than fundraising, this activity would pass the Substantially All Test. The percentage is determined by the amount of content and the resources used in the activity. Prominence of the fundraising content is also taken into consideration. 

If an activity passes this test, all the activity’s expenditures can be reported on your T3010B form as non-fundraising expenditures such as charitable program expenditures, management and administrative expenditures, political activities expenditures, and other expenditures as applicable, and not as fundraising expenditures.


Four Part Test

If an activity did not pass the Substantially All Test, your charity may still allocate part of the activity’s expenditures to areas other than fundraising as long as it passes this Four Part Test.

The Four Part Test consists of four questions:

  • Was fundraising the main objective of the activity?

  • Were there ongoing or repeated requests, emotive requests, gift incentives, donor premiums, or other fundraising merchandise in the activity?

  • Was the audience selected based on its ability to give?

  • Was remuneration commission-based or based on the number or amount of donations?

If the answer to all four questions is “no,” the charity can allocate part of the activity’s expenditures to non-fundraising expenditures such as charitable program, management and administration or other expenditures.

If any of the answers to the four questions is “yes,” all the expenditures have to be reported as fundraising expenditures unless the activity falls under the exception.

Exception
Even if the charity did not answer “no” to all the questions, it can still allocate part of the expenses to non-fundraising if the activity furthers one of the charitable purposes by prompting an action or changing behaviour. Raising awareness as an element of a fundraising activity does not qualify for this exception.

More…

Charity Central Learning Module on Allocation of Fundraising Expenditures

CRA Guidance on Fundraising by Registered Charities

F23. We don't want to jeopardize our registered charity status. How do I determine if our charity is spending too much on fundraising?

F23. We don't want to jeopardize our registered charity status. How do I determine if our charity is spending too much on fundraising?


Short answer

Anything you spend on fundraising-both direct expenditures and amounts spent or held by another party to do fundraising on your behalf-must be tracked and reported on your annual T3010B filing.

At the end of each fiscal year, you need to calculate your disbursement quota (see F15) to know how much must be spent on charitable activities. In the coming year, you need to spend at least 80 per cent of receipted donations on your charitable purpose, leaving no more than 20 per cent for fundraising and administrative and other purposes.

Long answer

Registered charities should regularly review their fundraising activities and the associated costs in relation to their other activities and costs. When amounts spent on fundraising become disproportionate or unreasonable compared to the charity's other work, there is a risk that the registered charity is not satisfying its regulatory obligations.

The CRA watches for two ways that a charity may not be properly focused: if the charity appears to be spending too much time or too much money on fundraising. Fundraising must not be the centre of attention of the charity nor should a charity's time, effort, and other resources be devoted to fundraising rather than to carrying out its charitable purpose.

F24. My registered charity receives the bulk of its funding from corporations and government. Do I still need to be concerned about the disbursement quota?

F24. My registered charity receives the bulk of its funding from corporations and government. Do I still need to be concerned about the disbursement quota?

You should at least think about it. Even if the disbursement quota does not apply to the funding when it is income, because it is unreceipted, unless spent immediately on charitable programs or services (or gifted to a qualified donee), it will be subject to the disbursement quota applied to capital not used in charitable work. Registered charities that receive the majority of their funds from government, corporate sponsorships or sources other than donors should keep a very tight rein on their costs anyway, since they are still required under the Income Tax Act to devote all their resources toward charitable ends.

F26. How does our charity figure out the fundraising costs of an activity that is both fundraising and charitable?

F26. How does our charity figure out the fundraising costs of an activity that is both fundraising and charitable?


Short answer

If an activity clearly has both fundraising and charitable objectives, you may be able to divide up the costs of this activity based on the costs of the resources used for each objective. In some cases, the input costs related to each objective are discrete—as when different staff within your charity prepare different parts of a publication—and can be reported on your T3010 form as separate costs. The costs will show here the same way they do in your financial records. If the costs are not discrete, you should allocate them based on reasonable proportions applied consistently. Allocation of costs usually requires that the activity not bear traits that would cause it to be considered entirely fundraising (see long answer below). 

Examples

  • Eco-Charity publishes a newspaper insert with 65 per cent content from its program department and 35 per cent content from its development department. The staffing expenses for each department are the same (i.e., personnel are paid similarly regardless of which department they work in).  It costs $10,000 to print and distribute the insert. The cost to the program department is $6,500 (a T3010B charitable expenditure) and the cost to the development department is $3,500 (a T3010B fundraising expenditure).

  • Cup-of-Kindness Charity published a newspaper insert with 75 per cent of the content produced by its program department and 25 per cent of the content produced by the development office. Personnel in the development office are slightly better paid than program staff. Costs were allocated according to the resources used to produce the content for each department: the expenses of the program department to produce 75 per cent of the content (a T3010B charitable expenditure) and the expenses of the development office to produce its 25 per cent of the content (a T3010 fundraising expenditure). Since the value of the development office resources was more than 25 per cent—its salaries are slightly more expensive—this was reflected in the allocation of 73 per cent and 27 per cent.

Costs are not always discrete. The costs of printing and mailing covered all the materials regardless of objective. In this case, the charity assigned costs in proportion to the amount of content devoted to each objective—73 per cent as a charitable expenditure and 27 per cent as a fundraising expenditure.

Long Answer
  • If an activity’s main objective is fundraising, then all the resources that are used have to be reported as fundraising expenditures on the T3010 form.
  • A charity can show that an activity was undertaken without fundraising by satisfying one of these two tests:

    Substantially All Test
    If 90 per cent or more of the resources used for an activity is to further an objective other than fundraising, then none of the expenses have to be reported as fundraising.

    Four Part Test
    If an activity did not pass the substantially all test, the charity may still show that the activity happened without soliciting support by answering the four questions in the Four Part Test.

More…

Substantially All Test
Four Part Test
CRA Guidance on Fundraising by Registered Charities

Personal Information and Privacy

F27. I understand that there are laws about personal information. Do these privacy laws apply to our registered charity’s fundraising activities?

F27. I understand that there are laws about personal information. Do these privacy laws apply to our registered charity's fundraising activities?


Short answer

They may or may not. The federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) covers the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information in the course of any commercial activity within a province, including provincially regulated organizations. The definition of commercial activity is "any particular transaction, act or conduct or any regular course of conduct that is of commercial character, including the selling, bartering or leasing of donor, membership or other fundraising lists."

If you don't buy or sell donor lists, then it may not affect you. If you are involved in transferring these lists, you need to pay careful attention.

As well, where a charity contracts a for-profit third party to do its fundraising, the third party may be required to comply with PIPEDA in carrying out the contract.

Long answer

Based on this definition, the charity itself gathering information about donors in order to solicit them for a gift may not be considered commercial activity and is not covered by PIPEDA. Thus, the majority of fundraising functions conducted by a charity are exempt from the requirements of PIPEDA.

Charities will be affected, however, if they sell, barter, or lease their donor lists. If so, the charities would have to get the consent of an individual before they can put that person on a donor list that would be sold, bartered, or leased to another organization. Similarly, when leasing or renting external lists, charities must ensure that the source organization has complied with the PIPEDA.

As a matter of good risk management and to protect the groups reputation, it is prudent for charities contracting for-profit third parties for fundraising activities to require that they comply with all applicable legal requirements. However, in this circumstance, the final responsibility for compliance would rest with the service provider.

This same principle of consent applies for any other activity that might be considered a "commercial" activity. You will need to assess your activities to figure out if they fall under the definition of commercial activity.

A fact sheet from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, "The Application of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) to Charitable and Non-Profit Organizations," states that "although the Act does not generally apply to charities, associations and other similar organizations, we recommend that such organizations provide their members, donors or supporters with an opportunity to decline to receive further communications". This fact sheet is available here.

You and your fundraisers need to be aware of both the privacy legislation and the regulations associated with the legislation. Sometimes, the regulations may provide clear and specific details where the legislation is ambiguous or the regulations may provide more freedom than the legislation sets out.

More...

FAQ F30 lists privacy legislation across the country.

F28. How does our registered charity know whether to follow federal or provincial privacy laws?

F28. How does our registered charity know whether to follow federal or provincial privacy laws?

Even where a charity's fundraising does not trigger a requirement that it may comply with privacy laws, other aspects of the charity's work (such as its role as an employer) may impose privacy compliance obligations on it.

Many charities are confused about whether to comply with federal or provincial privacy law. The general rule is set out in the "privacy compliance principle":

If the provincial privacy law has been ruled to be "substantially similar" (such as in Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec) to the federal law by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, then the provincial law supercedes the federal law. That is, the registered charity only has to comply with the provincial legislation.

If the provincial law is not considered to be "substantially similar" to PIPEDA, then registered charities operating in that province must comply with both the federal and provincial laws. If a province does not have specific privacy legislation, then registered charities must comply with PIPEDA. National registered charities working across provincial borders will have to address the different laws of each province (as well as the federal restrictions).

More…

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canad - Fact Sheet: The Application of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act to Charitable and Non-Profit Organizations.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals reports on relevant Canadian public policy issues.

The Service Alberta site covers privacy legislation; Legislation - Charities and Fundraisers.

F29. What does our registered charity need to know about how to use personal information?

F29. What does our registered charity need to know about how to use personal information?


Legislation has been enacted by the federal government and other jurisdictions dealing with the use of personal information. Depending on the type of information, and use of it made by the charity, one or more of these statutes may apply.

There are 10 principles, typically incorporated in legislation governing use of personal information, you need to keep in mind. It is good practice to follow these principles regardless of whether or not your charity is required by law to adhere to them:

1. Accountability - A charity is responsible for personal information under its control and shall designate an individual or individuals who are accountable for the charity's compliance with privacy principles.

2. Identifying purposes - The purposes for which personal information is collected shall be identified by the charity at or before the time the information is collected.

3. Consent - The knowledge and consent of the individual are required for the collection, use, or disclosure of personal information, except where inappropriate.

4. Limiting collection - The collection of personal information shall be limited to that which is necessary for the purposes identified by the charity. Information shall be collected by fair and lawful means.

5. Limiting use, disclosure, and retention- Personal information shall not be used or disclosed for purposes other than those for which it was collected, except with the consent of the individual or as required by law. Personal information shall be retained only as long as necessary for the fulfillment of those purposes.

6. Accuracy - Personal information shall be as accurate, complete, and up-to-date as is necessary for the purposes for which it is to be used.

7. Safeguards - Personal information shall be protected by security safeguards appropriate to the sensitivity of the information.

8. Openness - A charity shall make readily available to individuals specific information about its policies and practices relating to the management of personal information.

9. Individual access - Upon request, an individual shall be informed of the existence, use, and disclosure of his or her personal information and shall be given access to that information. An individual shall be able to challenge the accuracy and completeness of the information and have it amended as appropriate.

10. Challenging compliance - An individual shall be able to address a challenge concerning compliance with the above principles to the designated individual or individuals accountable for the charity's compliance.

More ...

These 10 principles are described in more detail in the latest version of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act at the Justice Canada site.

F30. What privacy legislation does Canada have?

F30. What privacy legislation does Canada have?


Canada

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

PIPEDA Review Discussion Document, Protecting Privacy in an Intrusive World (July 18, 2006)

Alberta


Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Health Information Act

Personal Information Protection Act
(Legislation has been declared “substantially similar” to PIPEDA)
The Alberta Act is similar to PIPEDA in its impact on charities. It specifically exempts most non-profits from its requirements unless they are engaged in a commercial activity. Opt-out mechanisms are allowed as long as charities give the individual “a reasonable opportunity to decline or object to having his or her personal information collected, used or disclosed.”

 

British Columbia


Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Personal Information Protection Act
(Legislation has been declared “substantially similar” to PIPEDA)

Privacy Act

E-Health (Personal Health Information Access and Protection of Privacy) Act

British Columbia’s Personal Information Protection Act is much stricter than the federal privacy law. There is no reference to commercial activity nor is there an exemption for charities. Any organization gathering, using or disclosing an individual’s personal information must have the individual’s consent. Under the legislation, only “contact information,” defined as data enabling an organization to contact an individual at work, was exempt. Contact information includes name, position name or title, business telephone number, business address, business email, or business fax number of the individual.


The regulations for Bill 38 that were later developed by the province are quite broad, however. The definition of “public information” (information that can be gathered without consent) includes:

• the name, address, telephone number and other personal information that appears in telephone directories, if the individual is allowed to refuse to have his/her information made available
• personal information that appears in a professional or business directory that is available to the public, if the individual has the right to refuse to have his/her information included in the directory
• personal information appear in a registry to which the public has a right of access
• personal information that appears in a printed or electronic publication that is available to the public, including magazines, books, and newspapers.

Charities can collect, use, and disclose the information found in the sources above without an individual’s consent. Charities can gather information outside of the “public information” realm if they give the individual “a reasonable opportunity to decline or object to having his or her personal information collected, used or disclosed.” Reasonable and clear opt-out mechanisms are permissible depending on the sensitivity of the information. Medical and salary information, for example, would always require express opt-in consent.

 

Manitoba


The Privacy Act

The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

The Personal Health Information Act

 

New Brunswick


Protection of Personal Information Act

 

Newfoundland and Labrador

Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Privacy Act

Personal Health Information Act (To be proclaimed)

 

Nova Scotia

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

 

Ontario

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Personal Health Information Protection Act
(Legislation has been declared “substantially similar” to PIPEDA, with respect to health information custodians)

Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

 

Prince Edward Island

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

 


Québec

An Act Respecting the Protection of Personal Information in the Private Sector
(Legislation has been declared “substantially similar” to PIPEDA)

An Act Respecting Access to Documents Held by Public Bodies and the Protection of Public Information


Quebec currently has the strictest privacy policy in place. The provincial privacy law applies to all private enterprises, including non-profits and charities, and applies to all information that relates to an individual and allows an individual to be identified. Information can only be collected for an intended purpose and that purpose must be specified when an individual’s file is created. Some publicly available information, such as those found in phone books, can be used without consent.


Before collecting information, a charity must tell the individual how that information will be used and who will have access to it, and must make sure the person is aware that he or she has a right of access and correction. Opt-in or opt-out mechanisms are both acceptable.


The Quebec law also directly addresses the issue of donor lists. Lists containing the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the members, clients, and employees of an enterprise may be communicated or used for commercial or philanthropic prospecting purposes. The enterprise must, however, give the person concerned a valid opportunity to refuse permission for such communication or use.

 

Saskatchewan

Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Health Information Protection Act

Local Authority Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act

Privacy Act

 

Northwest Territories

Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

 

Nunavut

Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

 

Yukon


Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act

 

To see a list of the provincial and territorial privacy commissioners and ombudsmen, as well as offices with oversight and government organizations relating to privacy, click here.

Fundraising in Alberta

FA1. Our charity is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. If we want to fundraise in Alberta, do we need to register in Alberta, too?

FA1. Our charity is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. If we want to fundraise in Alberta, do we need to register in Alberta, too?

Yes. If your charity asks Albertans to donate to fundraising campaigns or solicits contributions that will be used for a charitable purpose, then generally you must register in Alberta. There are some exceptions to the registration requirement-for example, for very small fundraising campaigns or solicitations limited to members for your organization-but you should assume you are subject to the regulation until you determine if you fall within the exception.

Charities must follow the rules that are set out in Alberta's Charitable Fund-Raising Act and regulation. These rules exist to protect potential donors from false and misleading requests for donations. Rules also exist to ensure the public has sufficient information to make an informed decision when making contributions.

The Alberta government, through Service Alberta, has a website that tells you exactly who needs to be registered and how to apply. Visit Consumer Tipsheet - Charitable Fundraising for instructions.

The website also explains the rules and standards of practice that must be followed by anyone who asks for charitable donations - whether or not you are registered as a charitable organization.

More…

Read the Charitable Fund-Raising Act and regulations. If you have questions about your status, contact the Consumer Contact Centre in Edmonton at 780-427-4088 or toll-free in Alberta at 1-877-427-4088.

FA2. What Alberta laws govern fundraising?

FA2. What Alberta laws govern fundraising?

The Charitable Fund-Raising Act (CFRA) and the Charitable Fund-Raising Regulation lay out the rules that must be followed when charities ask Albertans for donations.Fundraisers need to know about their legislated responsibilities.

The three key responsibilities are:

  • disclosing information to donors
  • preparing financial statements
  • keeping proper records
More…

For copies of the act and the regulation, see Legislation - Charities and Fundraisers

FA3. Does Alberta have special regulations for charity fundraising through casinos?

FA3. Does Alberta have special regulations for charity fundraising through casinos?


Short answer

Yes, it does. The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission's Gaming for Charities guidelines lay out rules for charity fundraising through casinos, bingos, raffles, and pull tickets. Note that even charities not subject to registration under the Charitable Fund-Raising Act and regulation are required to comply with these rules.

Long answer

Alberta has adopted a charitable gaming model for these gaming activities. Casinos, bingos, raffles, and pull tickets may only occur when eligible charitable or religious groups apply for and receive licences to conduct gaming activities.

The Commission provides information about licensing eligibility, use of gaming proceeds, and financial reporting. The Commission's Gaming Information for Charitable Groups (GAIN) training program, helps volunteers better understand the responsibilities and requirements of a gaming licence.

More…

You can read the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission's Gaming for Charities guidelines at Gaming for Charities.

Any charitable organization in other provinces that chooses to raise funds through lotteries, bingos, and casinos should contact the relevant provincial, territorial, and municipal government departments before engaging in these activities in order to obtain any necessary permissions, permits, or licences.

FA4. I heard that Alberta charities and fundraising businesses can be fined under the Alberta Charitable Fund-Raising Act. Why would that happen?

FA4. I heard that Alberta charities and fundraising businesses can be fined under the Alberta Charitable Fund-Raising Act. Why would that happen?


Short answer

Charities and fundraising businesses can be fined if they are convicted of offences under Part 5 of the Charitable Fund-Raising Act (CFRA). Part 5 deals with general guidelines-from making false statements and complying with terms and conditions to proper use of contributions.

Long answer

Among other requirements, Part 5 explains that the following information must be provided to each donor before accepting a donation.

  • The name of the charitable organization for which the donation is being requested.
  • The charitable purpose for which contributions will be used.
  • The cost of fundraising and how much the charity expects to raise.
  • The address of the charity and, if incorporated, the place of incorporation.
  • The name and phone number of a contact person employed by the charity whom the donor can call for further information.
More...

To read Part 5, see the Charitable Fund‑Raising Act

FA5. If our charitable organization uses the services of a fundraising business in Alberta, are there special rules that we need to follow?

FA5. If our charitable organization uses the services of a fundraising business in Alberta, are there special rules that we need to follow?


Short answer

Yes, if a fundraising business is used to solicit donations, a potential donor must be told (in addition to the information indicated in FA4):

  • the operating name and full legal name of the fundraising business
  • how the remuneration of the fundraising business is determined
Long answer

You are required to submit a copy of the solicitation materials or canvassing scripts that will be used to solicit funds. It is a serious offence to make a false statement of fact or to misrepresent any fact or circumstance in a solicitation for a charitable donation. (For further details download the instructions from Consumer InfoSheet; Charitable Organizations That Solicit Donations

Maintaining Records of Contributions
Every charitable organization that makes solicitations must maintain complete and accurate financial records of its operations in Alberta for at least three years after the solicitations are made. (See FA7 for details of these records.)

Preparing Financial Statements
A charitable organization must prepare and may be required to produce copies of its most recent audited financial statements (if it has raised $250,000 or more through solicitations) or a copy of its financial information return (if it has raised less than $250,000). See FA8 for notes on preparing financial statements.

More…

The Service Alberta site lists the Requirements for Charitable Organizations that Solicit Donations.

FA6. Our charity is considering hiring a fundraiser for our next big appeal. Are there standards of practice for fundraisers working for an Alberta charity?|FA6. Notre organisme de bienfaisance envisage d’engager un collecteur de fonds pour notre prochain

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FA6. Our charity is considering hiring a fundraiser for our next big appeal. Are there standards of practice for fundraisers working for an Alberta charity?


Short answer

Yes, fundraisers must comply with eight standards. If fundraisers fail to meet these standards, the Minister may consider suspending or cancelling their registration or licence.

Long answer

Principals, directors, and employees of charities and fundraising businesses must follow these standards (available in pdf- Responsibilities and Requirements).

  • Charities and fundraising businesses must comply with all relevant municipal, provincial, and federal laws.
  • Charities and fundraising businesses must advocate, within the organization, adherence to all applicable laws and Standards of Practice.
  • The principals, directors, managers, and employees of charities and fundraising businesses that must comply with these Standards must effectively disclose to their organization all conflicts of interest and all situations that might be perceived as a conflict of interest.
  • Charities and fundraising businesses must give donors the opportunity to have their names removed from lists that are sold, rented, or exchanged with other organizations.
  • Charities and fundraising businesses must not disclose any personal and confidential information about donors or prospective donors outside the work environment, and within the work environment only as appropriate.
  • Charities must, to the best of their ability, ensure that contributions are used in accordance with donor's intentions and obtain the explicit consent of a donor or the donor's representative before altering conditions of a gift.
  • Charities must use accurate and consistent accounting methods that conform to the appropriate guidelines adopted by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA).
  • Charities and fundraising businesses must not take unfair advantage of a donor or prospective donor for their own advantage or benefit.

Forms and instructions for registering a charity and licensing a fundraising business are available on the Government Services website at Forms - Charities and Fundraisers and all inquiries can be directed to:

Alberta Government Services
Consumer Services Branch
Phone: Edmonton (780) 427-4088 Toll-free in Alberta: 1-877-427-4088

More…

You may download a copy of Service Alberta's information sheet on Standards of Practice: The Charitable Fund-raising Act standards of practice

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FA6. Notre organisme de bienfaisance envisage d’engager un collecteur de fonds pour notre prochaine demande de dons. Existe-t-il des normes de pratique destinées aux collecteurs de fonds travaillant pour un organisme de bienfaisance de l’Alberta?


Réponse courte

Oui, les collecteurs de fonds doivent se conformer à huit normes. S’ils ne respectent pas ces normes, le Ministre peut envisager de suspendre ou d’annuler leur enregistrement ou leur permis.

Réponse détaillée

Les mandants, administrateurs et employés des organismes de bienfaisance et des entreprises de collecte de fonds doivent observer les normes suivantes (disponible en anglais au format pdf à Responsibilities and Requirements) :

      1. Les organismes de bienfaisance et les entreprises de collecte de fonds doivent observer toutes les lois municipales, provinciales et fédérales pertinentes.
      2. Les organismes de bienfaisance et les entreprises de collecte de fonds doivent encourager, au sein de l’organisme, le respect de toutes les lois et des normes de pratique applicables.
      3. Les mandants, administrateurs, directeurs et employés des organismes de bienfaisance et les entreprises de collecte de fonds devant observer ces normes sont tenus de communiquer de manière efficace à leur organisation tous les conflits d’intérêt et toutes les situations susceptibles d’apparaître comme un conflit d’intérêt.
      4. Les organismes de bienfaisance et les entreprises de collecte de fonds doivent offrir aux donateurs la possibilité de faire enlever leur nom des listes qui sont vendues, louées ou troquées à d’autres organismes.
      5. Les organismes de bienfaisance et les entreprises de collecte de fonds ne doivent communiquer aucun renseignement personnel et confidentiel sur les donateurs ou les donateurs éventuels en dehors de l’environnement de travail et, uniquement lorsque c’est approprié dans le cadre de l’environnement de travail.
      6. Les organismes de bienfaisance doivent, dans la mesure de leurs capacités, assurer que les contributions sont utilisées conformément aux intentions du donateur et obtenir le consentement explicite d’un donateur ou de son représentant avant de modifier les conditions d’un don.
      7. Les organismes de bienfaisance doivent employer des méthodes de comptabilité exactes et cohérentes étant conformes aux directives idoines adoptées par l’Institut Canadien des Comptables Agréés (ICCA).
      8. Les organismes de bienfaisance et les entreprises de collecte de fonds ne doivent pas tirer un avantage injuste d’un donateur ou d’un donateur éventuel pour leur propre profit.

On peut obtenir les formulaires et les instructions destinés à l’enregistrement d’un organisme de bienfaisance et l’attribution de permis à une entreprise de collecte de fonds sur le site Web des Services gouvernementaux à Forms - Charities and Fundraisers et toutes les demandes de renseignements peuvent être adressées à :

Alberta Government Services
Consumer Services Branch
Téléphone: Edmonton (780) 427-4088, Sans frais en Alberta: 1-877-427-4088

De plus…

Le site Service Alberta énumère en anglais les Requirements for Charitable Organizations that Solicit Donations- Requirements for Charitable Organizations That Solicit Donations.

FA7. What kinds of records does our Alberta charity need to keep?

FA7. What kinds of records does our Alberta charity need to keep?


Short answer

As indicated, Alberta assumes three responsibilities for charitable organizations raising funds in Alberta: disclosing information to donors; preparing financial statements; and keeping proper records. The most important records are those of charitable contributions. You must keep these records for at least three years.

Long answer

Every charitable organization that makes solicitations must maintain complete and accurate financial records of its operations in Alberta for at least three years after the solicitations are made. This would include:

  • Original copies of financial statements
  • Records regarding solicitations
  • Records of the deposit bank account used by the fundraising business and any payments from that account
  • The names of the signing officers for the bank account
  • Samples of the kinds of information given to potential donors, including any solicitation material and phone scripts
  • Copies of the fundraising agreements and any amendments
  • Copies of receipts for all monetary contributions

FA8. What kinds of financial information does our Alberta charity need to keep?

FA8. What kinds of financial information does our Alberta charity need to keep?


Short answer

As indicated, Alberta assumes three responsibilities for charitable organizations raising funds in Alberta: disclosing information to donors; preparing financial statements; and keeping proper records A charitable organization must prepare and may be required to produce

  • copies of its most recent audited financial statements if it has raised $250,000 or more through solicitations

    or

  • a copy of its financial information return if it has raised less than $250,000.

Copies of all solicitation materials, canvassing scripts, and other solicitation documents may also be examined and reviewed.

Long answer

The financial statements must identify all expenses incurred for the purpose of solicitation and include:

  • Information on the gross contributions received
  • A summary of dispositions of contributions (with a separate description of each disposition equal to or greater than 10 per cent of the gross contributions received)
  • The total amount paid as remuneration to employees of the charitable organization primarily responsible for fundraising
  • The amount of remuneration paid to the fundraising business used, if applicable Section 39 of the Charitable Fund-Raising Act gives Service Alberta the authority to enter premises and to inspect, examine and copy books, records, and other documents that are required to be kept under the act, to ensure conformance and compliance with the legislation.

Providing false information in a solicitation or failing to maintain complete and accurate records could result in cancellation or suspension of your registration and/or prosecution under the Act.

FA9. I have a specific question about our charity’s operations in Alberta. Is there someone I can ask?

FA9. I have a specific question about our charity's operations in Alberta. Is there someone I can ask?

Visit the Alberta Service information for Charities and Donors at Consumer Tipsheet - Charitable Organizations That Solicit Donations .

Direct other inquiries to:

Service Alberta
Consumer Services Branch
In Edmonton phone: 780-427-4088 Toll-free in Alberta: 1-877-427-4088

 

More…

Visit How to Register a Charitable Organization This website provides answers to questions regarding registration of a charitable organization under the Charitable Fund-Raising Act in Alberta as well as access to the relevant legislation.