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