F10. I heard about a very successful fundraising campaign run by a by a charity in another country. My registered charity would like to duplicate that campaign in Canada. Can we do that without any problems?

F10. I heard about a very successful fundraising campaign run by a charity in another country. My registered charity would like to duplicate that campaign in Canada. Can we do that without any problems?


Short answer

Not necessarily. Problems can occur when you simply copy the fundraising program of another charity without considering your charity's purpose as well as federal and provincial laws, among other issues.

When in doubt, check with a professional advisor and/or consult with the Canada Revenue Agency guidance and the relevant regulatory authorities to determine whether the contemplated initiative is permissible in your charity's circumstances.

Long answer

Registered charities should conduct an appropriate due diligence review of the legal liability or the suitability of a program prior to adopting another charity's fundraising program (whether the other charity is within or outside of Canada). A due diligence review may include some, if not all, of the following:

  • The fundraising program may have originated in the other country and been adopted without taking into account the differences in the regulatory bodies between Canada, the other country and that particular province.
  • The corporate objects and powers of the registered charity may be very different from the charity in the other country.
  • Even if a legal opinion has been obtained by another charity concerning the legality of a fundraising program, the legal opinion will not have application to your charity.
  • Even if a fundraising program is determined to comply with all applicable laws, it may not be practical for your registered charity to undertake the same program due to the inexperience or size of your charity.

If you are still not sure, check with the Canada Revenue Agency guidance and the appropriate regulatory authorities.