Canadian charities and fundraising contracts - factors to consider before signing

September 17, 2009 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: News, Canadian Charity Law, Ethics and Canadian Charities, Avoiding 'Charity' Scams

The Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee has produced a charity bulletin entitled Charitable Fundraising: Tips for Directors and Trustees.  In that bulletin they list in “Appendix A: Factors to Consider Before Signing a Fundraising Contract”.

Appendix A: Factors to Consider Before Signing a Fundraising Contract

Has the fundraiser provided references from other charities for which similar campaigns have been conducted?  Were those charities satisfied with the results that were achieved?

Are the fees and charges reasonable?  If potential donors were aware of the fees and charges associated with a donation, would they still make the donation?

Does the fundraiser subscribe to a code of ethics?

Are the terms of the contract clear and well understood?

Are acceptable fundraising methods specified in the contract? Are the fundraising methods consistent with the written fundraising plan?

Will the fundraising campaign generate sufficient revenue to allow the charity to engage in activities related to its charitable purpose?

Are canvassers required to provide accurate information to potential donors about the proportion of the donation that will be used for charitable purposes?

Are canvassers required to identify themselves as commercial fundraisers? Are they prohibited from representing themselves as employees or volunteers of the charity?

Will fundraisers provide donors with receipts? Is the fundraiser required to keep receipt books secure and safe? If the charity is not registered under the Income Tax Act, will canvassers make this fact clear to donors?

Will the donor list remain the exclusive property of the charity?

Will the donation bank account remain under the sole control of the charity?

How will fees and charges be calculated? If there is a disagreement, how will it be resolved?

Will the fundraiser provide a full accounting for expenses and funds received? Will the fundraiser provide periodic accountings to enable the charity to monitor the performance of the campaign? Will receipts and vouchers be provided to document all disbursements?

When does the contract terminate? Are there any penalties for terminating the contract early if the charity is not satisfied with the services that are provided?


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Mark Blumberg is a lawyer at Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto, Ontario.  To find out more about legal services that Blumbergs provides to Canadian charities and non-profits please visit http://www.canadiancharitylaw.ca or http://www.globalphilanthropy.ca He can be contacted at or at 416-361-1982.

This article is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice. You should not act or abstain from acting based upon such information without first consulting a legal professional.

Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?

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Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.

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