A useful tool from Blumbergs for people looking for a job in the charity sector in Canada

August 20, 2017 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: News

The charity sector has about 2.5 million employees.  In some organizations there is high turnover.  That means at any point in time there are hundreds of thousands of people thinking about finding a job in the charitable sector.  At Blumbergs, we have developed a transparency tool on Canadian charities that can assist people when they are looking for a job in the charity sector.  

Charitydata.ca can help you, in a few minutes, understand quite a bit about a registered charity.  No it is not going to tell if the charity has a good corporate culture and whether your boss is ethical or what the revenue will be in 2 years from now, but it can tell you a lot about a charity.  Although one may think of charitydata.ca in terms of donors or government regulators and other stakeholders, by taking a job at a charity your professional reputation and life is going to be affected by that decision and the more information you can have the better.   
 

Many articles have been written about the high employee turnover in the charity sector and it is a big problem.  Perhaps, the high turnover in some charities can be attributed to bad HR practices, fluctuating revenue, substandard pay, and ridiculous expectations.  However, if you don't do proper due diligence on a prospective charity in which you may be interested in working, then you are more likely to end up in a dysfunctional charity and then subsequently more likely to be back looking for another job.  Charitydata.ca can help identify red flags or issues to be concerned about that can affect the future of the organization and your own potential position in the organization. 

When one is looking for a new job in the charity sector, there are a number of different paths that you might try including:

1) Job boards - Whether you're looking at general websites like Monster.ca or Indeed or using sector specific job boards like CharityVillage.com or subsector specific or regional job boards.

2) Networking with friends/family or colleagues whether through social media, attending conferences or events.

3) Using head hunters. 

4) Specifically targeting charities that you are very interested in but that are not necessarily advertising a position.  

No matter which path you are following charitydata.ca can be helpful.

Here are examples of a few questions in which charitydata.ca can be helpful:

Do you care what the budget of a charity is that you would apply to work for or accept a job at?  Does it matter if it is $200,000 or $20 million.

Do you care if the organization has massive fluctuations in revenue from year to year?

Do you care if the organization currently has no employees?

Do you care if there are one or two board members who everyone knows in the community are extremely difficult people?

Do you care that the organization has six employees already and they are all paid under $40,000?  If your salary expectations are greater than $40,000, don't you want to know the salary brackets of the organization over the years?

Do you care if the organization has a reserve so that if it has a bad year employees can be continued to be paid? Alternatively, do you care if the organization has assets such as owning a building, the difference perhaps being that the organization that owns a building has greater financial security because it can always sell the building or put a mortgage on the building?

Do you care if the organization is located in your city or that you might have to move halfway across Canada to take a job?

Do you care if the organization gives away large amounts of money to other charities that you fundamentally disagree with?

Do you care if the filings of the charity look like a dogs breakfast with lots of errors and inconsistencies?  Perhaps you like challenges and charities that don't care about transparency and filings are hard to fix but you are a finance person and perhaps you are up to the task!

If you're a fundraiser, do you care that the organization hasn't issued almost any tax receipts in the last five years and has almost no fundraising revenue compared to another organization that has steadily increasing fundraising revenue?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes it is important to be aware of this information available on charitydata.ca.  In a relatively simple interface, in a few minutes you can learn a lot about a particular registered charity that you may never have even heard of before.

It is helpful in scoping out options of organizations in your community or area of interest that you may not be aware of.   It may also be helpful if you see a posting for an organization, to quickly learn more about the organization.  It can also be useful when preparing for a job interview with the organization.  It shows that you are aware of the work of the organization, its financial situation and history and have done your research.  It is a good starting point along with looking at the charity's website, reading annual reports, talking to current and past employees, talking to beneficiaries, reviewing social media etc.   

I've been told by journalists that charitydata.ca has turned one day of investigative work into 10 minutes of work by essentially combining 13 years of T3010 data side-by-side in a simple format.

Some people are very mobile and can move to take up a job in any part of Canada.  However, most are not.  Charitydata.ca also provides the ability to sort organizations in a way that the CRA Charity database does not provide.  For example, if you're looking for the largest revenue organizations in Saskatchewan, or more specifically Saskatoon, that can be done in 20 seconds or less!

If you're interested in international development and specifically want to find an organization that operates in Ecuador then you probably know already most of the organizations that operate in Ecuador. However, there might be 5 or 10 registered charities that you have not heard about that you can learn about.  

It sucks trying to find a job and we hope Charitydata.ca will make it suck a little less.

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

Contact

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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