Mark’s mini poll at AFP Conference on CRA’s Fundraising Guidance

April 09, 2010 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: News, What's New from the Charities Directorate of CRA, Canadian Charity Law

In December 2009 I delivered a presentation on “CRA’s Fundraising Guidelines –Legal, Ethical and Practical Issues” to the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) GTA Congress 2009.  Prior to giving the presentation I handed out a mini poll to the 100 or so attendees at my session and about 47 of them returned the poll to me.  The attendees were almost all fundraisers and probably the fundraisers who had the greatest interest in the topic.  This is certainly not scientific.

Mark Blumberg’s mini poll - December 1, 2009

Question #1:  Does fundraising take up a majority of your role with charities?
Yes: 35
No: 11
Both: 1


Question #2:  Have you read the CRA fundraising guidance?
Yes: 30
No: 17


Question #3:  Do you think that it is desirable to have some regulation of fundraising in Canada?
Yes: 46
No: 0
Unanswered: 1


Question #4:  What part of the CRA fundraising guidance do you find most difficult to understand?

- Dealing with fair market value
- A lot of the technical terms and vocabulary is daunting
- Incentives for giving donations
- Details surrounding the fund disbursement changes
- Too confusing entirely - especially the COFR, where’s the template?
- Split receipting
- Allocation of expenditures
- Tax receipting of in-kind donations, tax receipting of special event sponsorship and ticket purchase, tax receipting of donated professional services
- All of it - use the 1-800 number when planning virtually everything
- Tax receipting
- What qualifies as non fundraising expense
- The 80/20 rule - impossible for small charities to achieve notwithstanding integrity, excellent board and staff
- Cost per dollar guidelines as they did not make things clearer and likely further confuse things for the general public
- Definition of FR costs and cost allocation
- The four part test
- Advocacy
- Quotas - qualifications
- Fundraising as a non-charitable activity; you have to put on events and do activities to engage people to give to your charity; have to raise funds to solicit donations
- Allocation
- Allocation
- Calculation
- Having everyone of the organization (volunteers, board, employees) to follow the rules
- Fundraising ratio
- Complexity of the guidance


Question #5:  What part of the fundraising guidance will be the greatest challenge to apply in the organization(s) that you are involved with?

- The various calculations surrounding cost/dollar raised details
- It will be important for “fundraising” to be way more involved in CRA filing
- Split receipting
- Educating donors that fundraising costs are essential to doing a good fundraising job
- Tax receipting of in-kind donations, tax receipting of special event sponsorship and ticket purchase, tax receipting of donated professional services
- What is and is not applicable stuff
- Stuff regarding new guidelines for stocks, etc…
- Receipting around gifts
- Gift-in-kind (types)
- Convincing accountants to be more flexible
- The 80/20 rule - impossible for small charities to achieve notwithstanding integrity, excellent board and staff
- None for us, have low overhead and strong ethics; just the ever increasing administrative burden for small shops
- Fundraising cost ratios
- Starting a business
- Segregating personnel time in fundraising vs. charitable activities as we all do both; moving in and out of activities and standard hours and solicitation all day long
- T3010/allocation - having finance people understand
- That is presumes that one size fits all


Question #6:  What part of the fundraising guidance, if any, is most useful?

- Great reference if you have specific questions
- CRA bulletins
- Setting a standard that will be strictly followed for all charities, making charities more credible in the public eye
- Easily understood parts that we can use to explain rules to donors who make illegal demands
- Always good to have guidelines - it definitely is great to show your supporters that you are following the guidelines
- For the sector, it should increase accountability, transparency, etc…
- None
- Basics - charity giving money to another
- We are a college foundation raising funds exclusively for the college; fundraising is an activity - not the main purpose
- Test for allocation
- It allows us to educate volunteers about the ethics and accountability
- Makes misconduct explicit

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

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Charity Lawyer Mark Blumberg

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.

mark@blumbergs.ca
416.361.1982
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