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.

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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
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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.

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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.
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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.

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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

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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

 

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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.