Glossary:

(1) | A (9) | B (5) | C (10) | D (11) | E (4) | F (5) | G (5) | J (2) | K (1) | L (3) | M (4) | N (2) | O (1) | P (6) | Q (2) | R (4) | S (76) | T (2) | U (2) | W (1)
  • Standard B6 Explained

    Definition: Statutory Remittances1
    Legally required payments to government (e.g., tax, EI, CPP).

    What kinds of statutory remittances could my organization be required to pay? Statutory remittances could include tax deductions from staff salaries, employment insurance premiums, and Canada Pension Plan contributions.2 They may also include workers’ compensation, EHT (Employer’s Health Tax), and any other legally required payments to government.

    Why is it important for the board to be assured that all statutory remittances have been paid? Failure to submit statutory remittances is one of the most frequent reasons for lawsuits against charities and nonprofits in Canada. Directors of nonprofit and charitable organizations that fail to submit all legally required payments to government can be held personally liable for these amounts plus the interest accrued.2 However, if a director can demonstrate that they took reasonable precautions to ensure that all statutory remittances were made, they may not be held liable.2 Applying this standard ensures that your organization will remain in good standing with government authorities and protects your board members from personal liability.

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section B: Financial Accountability & Transparency,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Standards Program Definitions,” Imagine Canada, May 2011.
    2. “Chapter 3: Liability of Directors” in the “Primer for Directors of Not-for-profit Corporations: Rights, Duties and Practices,” Industry Canada, 2002.

    Additional resources:

  • Standard B7 Explained

    What are fundraising activities? The CRA defines fundraising as “any activity that includes a solicitation of present or future donations of cash or gifts in kind, whether the solicitation is explicit or implied.”1

    Why do nonprofit and charitable organizations need to ensure that their fundraising activities are cost-effective? Donors want to know that most of the money they donate to nonprofits and charities is going to the cause they care deeply about. When fundraising costs are perceived to be too high, public confidence in the organization and in the charitable sector as a whole are at stake.2

    What is considered cost-effective fundraising? CRA uses the ratio of fundraising costs to fundraising revenues to assess the cost-effectiveness of a charity’s fundraising activities. The higher the ration, the more likely CRA is to require additional justification for fundraising expenses.3 The fundraising ratio is a global calculation for the entire fiscal year. For charities, this can be calculated by dividing fundraising expenses by fundraising revenue using the charity’s T3010 as follows:3

    1. add the revenue amounts from lines 4500 (receipted donations) and 4630 (fundraising revenue not reported in 4500); and,
    2. divide the total expenditure amount on line 5020 (fundraising expenses) by the sum of lines 4500 and 4630.

    The following table summarizes CRA’s approach to the fundraising ratio:

    Ratio of costs to revenue over the fiscal period CRA Approach
    Under 35% Not likely to generate questions or concerns.
    35% to 70% CRA will look at the average fundraising ratio over recent years to see if there is a trend of high fundraising costs. The higher the ratio, the more likely it is that CRA will be concerned and will look at expenditures in more detail.
    Above 70% This will raise concerns with the CRA. The charity must be able to provide an explanation and rationale for this level of expenditure on fundraising to show that it is in compliance with CRA guidelines

    CRA recognizes that because the charitable sector is so diverse, organizations may have legitimate reasons for higher fundraising ratios for particular events or fiscal periods. Assuming that they are not engaging in illegal or deceptive fundraising practices, the CRA recognizes that the following may impact an organization’s fundraising ratio:

    • Small charities may have higher fundraising ratios if they have smaller constituencies
    • Causes with limited appeal, for example, a little-known disease or the rehabilitation of violent offenders
    • Donor development programs where revenues may not be realized until years later
    • Gaming activities

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section B: Financial Accountability & Transparency,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. Cost of Fundraising Questions and Answers,” The Association of Fundraising Professionals and Imagine Canada, February 17th 2012.
    2. Charitable Fundraising: Tips for Directors and Trustees,” Ministry of the Attorney General, Queen’s Printer for Ontario, 2008-2010.
    3. “Fundraising by Registered Charities,” Canada Revenue Agency, April 20th 2012.
  • Standard B8 Explained

    Definition: Investable Assets1
    Sums of money owned by the organization that are available for investing for terms likely extending beyond one year.

    Definition: Investment Policy1
    A policy that provides guidelines on where and how investable assets can be invested.  The investment policy usually includes statements on level of risk to be taken, who is delegated to take what decisions on sale or purchase of assets, use of investment managers, amount of equity or fixed income, etc.

    Why is it important to have an investment policy? Directors of nonprofit and charitable organizations can face serious liability risks resulting from improper investment of an organization’s funds.2 Having an investment policy will ensure that funds are invested appropriately in order to advance your organization’s strategic objectives and protect the board of directors from liability.

    Directors may be liable if they fail to:2

    • determine and comply with the investment power in the letters patent or special act creating the charitable corporation;
    • determine and comply with specific investment powers contained in agreements accompanying a gift, such as a last will and testament of a donor in making a testamentary gift or a gift agreement by a donor in giving a perpetual endowment;
    • determine and comply with the applicable statutory investment power that applies in a particular province in relation to investments made in that province, typically found in provincial trust legislation;
    • invest in accordance with the standards of a prudent investor where the provisions of the trust legislation apply, including any mandatory investment criteria required by the Act;
    • develop and implement an investment plan as required by applicable trust legislation; and,
    • undertake investment decision making them-selves, or in provinces that permit delegation of investment decision making, such as Ontario, to ensure that an appropriate agency agreement is in place appointing a qualified investment manager and that there is careful selection and monitoring of the investment manager chosen.

    The investment policies of nonprofit and charitable organizations should:

    • be developed with the advice of a financial professional or be reviewed by legal counsel
    • define general objectives (preserve and protect the assets; achieve aggressive growth)
    • delegate day-to-day asset management to an independent finance committee or a professional manager
    • set asset allocation parameters (include diversification)
    • describe asset quality (itemize quality ratings for stocks, bonds, or short-term reserves based on your risk tolerance)
    • define the investment manager's accountability (include risk in transactions, social responsibility, reporting requirements, and coverage of cash flow needs)
    • establish a system for regular review of the policies

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section B: Financial Accountability & Transparency,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Standards Program Definitions,” Imagine Canada, May 2011.
    2. “Chapter 3: Liability of Directors” in the “Primer for Directors of Not-for-profit Corporations: Rights, Duties and Practices,” Industry Canada, 2002.
  • Standard B9 Explained

    What is the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce? This code sets out good practices for organizations conducting commercial activities with consumers online.1 In the nonprofit sector commercial activities may include collecting fees online for programs, services, or resources.

    Why does my organization need to follow practices consistent with the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce? The Code ensures that electronic commerce is conducted according to best practices in electronic commerce. It regulates transactions between vendors and consumers so that they are undertaken fairly and in a manner that protects the personal information and rights of all parties.

    The Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce contains stipulations regarding:

    • Accuracy of information provided by the vendor in all online transactions, including accurate descriptions of the goods and services being exchanged and terms and conditions of the sale
    • Steps to be taken if the good or service cannot be delivered to the consumer as originally stated in the terms and conditions of the transaction
    • Privacy of personal information collected during the transaction
    • Security of payment and personal information
    • Complaint handling and dispute resolution
    • Unsolicited marketing or other e-mails
    • Communication with children
    1. "Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce,” Industry Canada, 2004, preface.
  • Standard C1 Explained

    Why is it important to honour donors’ and prospective donors’ requests to limit the frequency or means of contact or to discontinue contact if requested? Alberta’s Charitable Fundraising Act (Section 50) states that if a person requests to not receive further solicitations or to be removed from donor lists, charitable organizations and fundraising businesses are obliged to comply with the individual’s requests.1 In spite of this, the 2012 Cygnus Donor Survey found that only a quarter of Canadian donors were fully satisfied with how organizations complied with their requests for reduced solicitations. This has serious implications; 58% of all surveyed donors and two thirds of those over the age of 65 said that they drastically reduced their giving or stopped giving altogether to organizations who they felt asked for support too often.2 Relationships are the foundation of an organization’s ability to fundraise effectively, and if requests regarding when, how, and how often donors wish to be contacted are not respected, this will negatively impact relationships and affect future fundraising efforts.

    Why do organizations need a policy on donor requests? Developing a policy on donor requests will help your organization’s staff and volunteers to understand how and how often to contact established and potential donors. Setting expectations for staff, volunteer, and third-party fundraisers will ensure that donors are treated with respect and that your organization’s values are evident in its fundraising practices. For instance, your policy on donor requests could include the process the charity uses to ensure that someone who requests to be removed from a list is actually removed.

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. Charitable Fundraising Act, Province of Alberta, Alberta Queen’s Printer, November 1st 2010.
    2. “Thousands of Canadian Donors Share Actions, Opinions,” Janet Gadeski, Charity Info, July 13th 2012.
  • Standard C10 Explained

    Definition: Finder’s Fees1
    A fee paid to a third party for bringing together two or more people or companies in a business transaction, as in the borrowing or lending of money. In the fundraising context, a finder’s fee refers to the payment of a fee to a third party that is contingent upon obtaining a donation.

    Definition: Commissions1
    A payment based on the dollar value of a transaction. In the fundraising context, it refers to remuneration based on a percentage of funds raised.

    Definition: Percentage Based on Contributions1
    Compensation based on a percentage of funds raised.

    Why is it important for nonprofit and charitable organizations not to pay finder’s fees, commissions, or percentage compensation based on contributions to their fundraisers? CRA is adamant that fundraising should not deliver more than incidental private benefit to those involved.2 The Association of Fundraising Professionals insists that finders’ fees, commissions for fundraising activities, and percentage based contributions run counter to the nonprofit sector’s philanthropic values, inviting abuses of charitable funds for personal gain and placing undue risk on the reputation of the sector as a whole.3 The AFP cites six reasons why fundraisers should not be paid finders’ fees, commissions, or percentage based compensation:3

    1. These incentives create an environment in which it is easy for personal self-gain to be favoured over charitable purpose 
    2. Knowing that a commission will be paid to a fundraiser can negatively impact donor trust in the organization and can place undue pressures on donors to contribute 
    3. People’s self-interest inherently favours immediate results, which may not take into account a donor’s best interests 
    4. Organizations are strengthened by involving volunteers in fundraising, and paying commissions, finder’s fees, or percentage based compensation can discourage professional fundraisers from cultivating volunteer capacity within an organization 
    5. These vehicles of compensation can reward fundraisers without cause, as would be the case if a large, unsolicited donation was made in a person’s will. Fundraising is a cumulative, long-term process and large donations are seldom the result of a single person’s efforts 
    6. There are a wide variety of vehicles for charitable giving and a fundraiser who is paid on commission or on a percentage basis may favour certain options over others that may be better for the donor or for the organization over the long-term.

    In addition, Imagine Canada’s Ethical Code Program, a precursor to the Standards Initiative, prohibited the use of finder’s fees, commissions, and percentage based compensation with the following rationale:4

    • Charities, because they operate for the public good, receive unique rights and tax exemptions. Percentage-based compensation can incur excessive private benefit to fundraisers, undermining the contract that charitable organizations make with society
    • These practices can damage the reputation of the sector by creating the perception that large percentages of a donation are going to fundraisers. Donors may choose not to give if they feel their donation is going to an individual as opposed to the cause 
    • Effective fundraising depends on cultivating long-term relationships, while finder’s fees, commissions, and percentage based compensation favour seeking immediate funds 
    • These mechanisms can place too much pressure on donors 
    • Determining payment in advance recognizes the valuable work of fundraisers regardless of the financial return

    Instead of receiving finder’s fees, commissions, or percentage based on contributions, fundraisers should be compensated according to their experience, expertise, and time.5

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Standards Program Definitions,” Imagine Canada, May 2011.
    2. Fundraising by Registered Charities: Guidance,” Canada Revenue Agency, April 20th 2012.
    3. Professional Compensation: A Position Paper,” AFP Ethics Committee, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Revised October 2001.
    4. Ethical Code Handbook,” Imagine Canada, February 2011.
    5. Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Principles and Standards,” Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2004.
  • Standard C11 Explained

    Why is it important that anyone seeking or receiving funds on behalf of the organization:

    a. act with fairness, integrity, and in accordance with all applicable laws – Volunteers, employees, and contracted third parties engaged in fundraising should conform to all standards in Section C of Imagine Canada’s Standards program to ensure they are acting with fairness and integrity. The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Guidelines to the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards is another helpful resource for those seeking to act with fairness and integrity, outlining best practices and including examples of ethical and unethical conduct in fundraising.

    Which laws may apply to those seeking or receiving funds on behalf of a nonprofit or charitable organization? The Canada Revenue Agency’s “Fundraising by Registered Charities: Guidance” presents the legal principles related to CRA’s regulation of charities under the Income Tax Act. The Province of Alberta’s Charitable Fundraising Act also applies to charities operating in Alberta.

    b. cease contacting a prospective donor who states that he/she does not wish to be contacted – If an individual requests that he or she no longer be contacted, nonprofit and charitable organizations are required by law to respect his or her requests. (Alberta’s Charitable Fundraising Act states that if a person requests to not receive further solicitations or to be removed from donor lists, charitable organizations and fundraising businesses are obliged to comply with the individual’s requests.1) Organizations that fail to do so risk damaging relationships with individuals who may choose to support your cause again in the future but who are unlikely to do so if your organization does not respect their requests to cease contact. (Also see Standard C1.)

    c. disclose immediately to the organization any actual or apparent conflict of interest or loyalty – The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Guidelines to the Code of Ethical Principles and Standards compels fundraisers to disclose to the organizations on behalf of which they are seeking funds any conflict of interest including any interests they or a family member have in a potential vendor firm or formal relationships they have with donors or potential donors.2 Although the Code is intended to apply to the members of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, it presents best practices that can serve to guide any volunteer, employee, or third party engaged in fundraising for a charity or nonprofit. (See also Standard A12.)

    d. not accept donations for purposes that are inconsistent with the organization’s mission – Accepting donations that are contrary to an organization’s mission can prevent nonprofits and charities from accomplishing their strategic goals or achieving their intended impacts. In order to ensure that they do not attract donations that are contrary to the organization’s mission, the Association of Fundraising Professionals has set the expectation of its members that all solicitation materials accurately describe the organization’s mission and the intended use of funds.2

    How do organizations ensure that staff and volunteers (including board members) are meeting this standard? Evidence that the organization is meeting this standard may include a description of how individuals who fundraise on behalf of the organization are trained or how they are made aware of the organization’s fundraising policies.

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. Charitable Fundraising Act, Province of Alberta, Alberta Queen’s Printer, November 1st 2010.
    2. Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Principles and Standards,” Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2004.
  • Standard C12 Explained

    What does “appropriate fundraising policies” mean? While all nonprofit and charitable organizations in Canada depend on some form of fundraising, Imagine Canada recognizes that Canada’s nonprofit sector is incredibly diverse and that organizations have differing needs with regards to fundraising and fundraising policies. Level three organizations are required to have a gift acceptance policy, a policy on the treatment of restricted or designated gifts, and naming and endowment policies. In order to ensure the relevance of the organization’s fundraising policies, all boards are required to review their fundraising policies at least once every three years.

    Why is it important for charitable and nonprofit organizations to have:

    a. a gift acceptance policy – A gift acceptance policy presents guidelines that assist staff and volunteers when fundraising and accepting gifts on behalf of a charitable or nonprofit organization.1

    Gift acceptance policies help organizations to:2

    • fundraise and manage gifts received
    • manage risks and comply with all legal obligations 
    • manage donor relations 
    • improve operations related to the administration of gifts by staff and volunteers

    Gift acceptance policies should include:1

    • The organization’s mission and the purpose of the gift acceptance policy
    • Stipulations on when legal council should be sought
    • Clear distinctions between the kinds of gifts that can be accepted by staff as opposed to those that require approval from leadership
    • A list of the kinds of gift restrictions that are acceptable to the organization
    • A statement describing the form and disposition of gifts accepted
    • A description of how the organization administers gifts
    • A description of the legal or professional services and fees that will be needed to complete the gift
    • A statement describing how gifts will be reported, counted, and valued by the organization
    • A description of the types of gifts that will not be accepted (for instance, some gifts-in-kind or gifts from certain industries)3

    b. a policy on the treatment of restricted or designated gifts – Many donors wish to ensure that the funds they donate to a charity or nonprofit are used for a particular purpose, leading donors to place restrictions on the use of their gifts.4 Restricted or designated gifts must be used for the purposes for which they were donated unless the charity obtains legal authorization or permission from the donor or the donor’s legal designate.5 As such, restrictions create legal and administrative obligations for charities, which must be followed in order for the charity to remain in good standing with CRA and the community it serves.4 Your organization’s policy on the treatment of restricted or designated gifts provides a code of conduct related to the acceptance of restricted gifts and protects the organization from the potential legal consequences and/or undue administrative burden that could be incurred if it accepted a gift that included restrictions that were not in its best interests or that it would not be able to carry out due to its mission or strategic direction.

    Before accepting a restricted or designated gift, organizations should consider whether:4

    • The restrictions are compatible with the organization’s mission 
    • The organization has the capacity to make use of the gift given its restrictions
    • Administrative requirements will not consume too many of the organization’s resources

    As such, policies on the treatment of restricted or designated gifts should include:

    • A stipulation that acceptance of any restricted gift be approved by senior management or by the board of directors4
    • Advice on how the terms of the gift will be documented.4
    • A stipulation that all agreements to accept a restricted gift be reviewed by a legal professional prior to acceptance of the gift.

    c. a naming policy – Offering opportunities to high-level donors to associate their name with an aspect of your organization can inspire large gifts from individuals who desire public recognition.6 Associating donor names with your organization can also increase the credibility of a program and potentially attract other major donors to your cause.6 There are many opportunities to recognize donors through naming, and organizational policies governing this process will assist staff to communicate these opportunities to donors as well as to implement them when they receive significant contributions. It is important to remember that recognition mechanisms should not be changed or withdrawn arbitrarily once they are agreed upon.5 An organization’s donor recognition or gift acceptance policies can include stipulations on recognition time limits or procedures that will be followed if the original form of recognition becomes untenable in the future.5

    d. an endowment policy – An endowment can be defined as: “[A] long term gift to a charity, normally to be held for at least ten years, that is either set aside for a particular purpose, such as a scholarship, or for the general charitable purposes of the charity. Some endowments are directed to be held in perpetuity, while others are to be held for a fixed number of years…Once the endowment period has expired (except where the donor directs that the endowment be held in perpetuity) the entire endowment can be disbursed by the charity.”

    While endowments tend to be thought of as tools for large organizations, mid-sized organizations can benefit significantly from establishing an endowment, which can be used to secure the long-term financial stability of the organization. Organizations that do not have endowments could consider the threshold at which they would consider establishing one and could include this in their gift acceptance policy.

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Why You Need Gift Acceptance Policies: How Thoughtful Planning About Non-Cash Gifts Can Improve Your Donor Relationships,” Katherine Swank, Blackbaud, Inc., June 2008.
    2. “Considerations in Developing Gift Acceptance Policies,” Karen J Cooper, Carters Professional Corporation and Bruce R. Hill, Consultant at the 18th Annual National Canadian Association of Gift Planners Conference, April 14th 2011.
    3. Final point from Karen Alebon, Manager, Ethical Code Program at Imagine Canada, Personal communication November 2012.
    4. Endowed and Restricted Gifts: What the Gift Planner Needs to Know,” Terrance S. Carter of Carter & Associates and M. Elena Hoffstein and Edgar A. Frechette of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, May 1st 2003.
    5. Ethical Code Handbook,” Imagine Canada, February 2011.
    6. Creating a Planned Giving Program: A Legacy Building Plan for Small to Medium Community Based Organizations,” Niagara Community Foundation, 2006.
  • Standard C13 Explained

    Why must organizations conducting face-to-face fundraising ensure that they:

    a. provide verification of the affiliation of the person representing the organization – Individuals may be suspicious of face-to-face fundraising efforts such as door-to-door solicitation, worrying that it could be fraudulent. To avoid this perception, fundraisers conducting face-to-face fundraising should carry valid personal identification along with identification of the organization on behalf of which they are seeking funds.1

    b. secure and safeguard any confidential information, including credit card information, provided by donors – Under PIPEDA, the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act, all organizations in Canada are responsible for safeguarding the private information they collect from clients, donors, or participants.2 Organizations are obliged to protect personal information using security safeguards including physical measures such as storing information in locked filing cabinets, organizational measures such as staff training and confidentiality agreements, and technological measures such as passwords and encryptions.2 Organizations that engage staff or volunteers to conduct face-to-face fundraising must ensure that individuals are trained to understand the importance of protecting confidential information as well as the organization’s mechanisms and policies for ensuring that personal information is secure.

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. Face-to-Face Fundraising Guidelines Canada,” Association of Fundraising Professionals.
    2. The Protection of Personal Information by Charities and Not-For-Profit Organizations: A National Perspective,” M. Jasmine Sweatman, The Philanthropist, 19 (4): 2004.
  • Standard C14 Explained

    Definition: Cause-related marketing1
    Cause-related marketing (sometimes called social marketing) is a venture with a non-charitable partner to promote the sale of items or services on the basis that a portion of the revenues will be directed to a charity or charities.

    Why is it important for charities and nonprofits that have entered into a cause-related marketing agreement to disclose in all related materials how the organization benefits from the sale of products or services and the amounts payable under the arrangement? Cause related marketing can benefit both businesses and charities, helping businesses to establish trust with their customers by associating their brands with social responsibility while creating revenue for a charity or cause.2 Increasingly, the media and the general public are critical of for-profit companies that raise funds for charities and nonprofits, arguing that too much money goes to the business and not enough to the cause itself.

    Being transparent about the details of cause-related marketing agreements can help nonprofits and charities avoid accusations of unethical dealings with businesses that assist them to raise funds. An essential component of transparency is being clear with customers about what social benefit an individual’s purchase of a product or service actually accrues.2 Being upfront about how third-party organizations benefit from the sale of products or services and the minimum or maximum amounts payable helps the public understand the social benefit of their purchase.

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. Standards Program Definitions,” Imagine Canada, May 2011.
    2. Cause Marketing: 10 Cautionary Principles for Nonprofits,” Gayle L. Gifford, Cause & Effect, Inc. 2008.
  • Standard C2 Explained

    Why should organizations refrain from selling their donor lists? PIPEDA, the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act, allows for the selling, bartering, or sharing of fundraising or donor lists as long as consent is obtained from all individuals prior to the lists changing hands.1 Imagine Canada, however, requires nonprofit and charitable organizations to meet a higher standard than that required by law, prohibiting organizations from selling their donor lists.

    When an organization sells its donor list, it relinquishes control over the data and risks having the information used for a purpose other than that for which it was collected. An organization’s donor list is an asset of the charity or nonprofit, and relinquishing control over the list could be seen as a breach of the directors’ legal responsibility to protect the assets of the organization. In renting donor lists, on the other hand, organizations are able to set the terms of the rental agreement and retain more control over the use of the data. If renting or exchanging donor lists, organizations operating in Alberta must adhere to the province’s Personal Information Privacy Act (PIPA), which classifies bartering or leasing of membership, donor, or other fundraising lists as “commercial activities.”1

    What is the Canadian Marketing Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice?2 The Canadian Marketing Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice presents guidelines for the conduct of marketing professionals across Canada. The code applies to all CMA member organizations regardless of sector or marketing medium, and provides a set of ethical principles and best practices to be followed by Canadian businesses in order to ensure that marketing activities are carried out with integrity. Although written in a for-profit language, the code also applies to nonprofit and charitable organizations.

    What does the Canadian Marketing Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice say about renting donor lists?2 The Code states that all marketing must be conducted in accordance with PIPEDA, the Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act, (see Board Governance Standard A13.). It advises marketers to rent lists only to organizations that have signed a contract to abide by all relevant Canadian privacy laws and that agree to use CMA’s Do Not Contact Service, which allows individuals to limit the frequency of marketing offers they receive by mail.

    Why must nonprofit and charitable organizations honour donors’ requests to be excluded from rented lists? Section J, Protection of Personal Privacy in the Canadian Marketing Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice states that individuals must be informed of the uses to which personal information will be put at the time of collection and that personal information shall not be used or disclosed for other purposes without consent. While individuals are free to opt-out of receiving solicitations at any time, at least once every three years they must be presented with “an easy-to-see, easy-to-understand and easy-to-execute opportunity to decline further marketing use of their name or other information.”

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. The Protection of Personal Information by Charities and Not-For-Profit Organizations: A National Perspective,” M. Jasmine Sweatman, The Philanthropist, 19 (4): 2004, p. 308.
    2. Canadian Marketing Association Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice
  • Standard C3 Explained

    Why must organizations honor donors’ requests to remain anonymous? Donors may have many legitimate reasons for wishing to remain anonymous, and it is essential that nonprofits respect these requests. A study conducted by The Chronicle of Philanthropy found that only 10 months after the recession hit in 2008, the percentage of anonymous gifts over a million dollars increased dramatically (nearly 20% of all gifts over $1 million were made anonymously compared to only 3-5% over the previous 10 years).1 In times of recession when the donor pool gets smaller, individuals may wish to remain anonymous to avoid attracting greater pressure from charities or because they feel uncomfortable making a public display of wealth when so many are in financial crisis. Donors may also wish to remain anonymous if they are supporting a cause for the first time or if they feel they may not be able to contribute in future years.1

    Indiana University’s Center on Philanthropy found that donors most often cite avoiding solicitation from other charities and keeping donations secret from friends and family as the most common reasons for wishing to remain anonymous.1 Ensuring that donors’ wishes to remain anonymous are honoured is an important way for nonprofits and charities to form relationships with donors that are based on mutual respect and trust.

    Nonprofits and charities will honour donors’ requests to remain anonymous both in terms of:2

    1. The amount of their contribution and;
    2. Having their name publicly released as a supporter of the organization

    In certain cases, accepting an anonymous donation could be risky for a charity and should be considered carefully. For instance, the source or amount of a donation may be perceived to affect the independence of the charity. In these cases the organization may seek to negotiate the terms of public disclosure with the donor.2

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Anonymous Giving Gains Popularity as the Recession Deepens,” Ben Gose, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 30th 2009.
    2. Ethical Code Handbook,” Imagine Canada, February 2011.
  • Standard C4 Explained

    Definition: Planned Gift1
    A planned gift is any major gift, made in lifetime or at death, as part of a donor’s overall financial and/or estate planning.

    Why must organizations encourage donors to seek independent advice before conferring a Planned Gift or a gift that could significantly affect a donor’s financial position? Most fundraising professionals are not trained lawyers or financial experts. As such, though they might provide useful advice about the implications of a donation, it is good practice to refer clients to other professionals who are able to provide sound legal or financial council.2 Cultivating trusting relationships is an essential component of effective fundraising, and charities must ensure that they do not pressure potential donees who could be elderly or inherently trusting and thus vulnerable to manipulation.3 Organizations should respect a donor’s ability to make decisions regarding their estates while encouraging them to seek council from close family members and estate planning professionals.3

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Standards Program Definitions,” Imagine Canada, May 2011.
    2. Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Principles and Standards,” Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2004.
    3. Creating a Planned Giving Program: A Legacy Building Plan for Small to Medium Community Based Organizations,” Niagara Community Foundation, 2006.
  • Standard C5 Explained

    What is a gift-in-kind? A gift-in-kind is a gift of any property excluding cash. Gifts-in-kind could include gifts of real property (land or buildings), personal use property (an item used in a personal rather than a business context, for example clothing), intangible property (investments), or intellectual property (patents, licenses).1 In order to issue an official income tax receipt for a gift-in-kind, an organization must first determine the fair market value of the gift, as well as the advantage the donor received for making the gift.2 “Determining the Value of Gifts” in the Gifts & Receipting section of Imagine Canada’s Charity Tax Tools contains tools, tips, and examples to help you ascertain the value of gifts-in-kind.

    For Charities: Why must charities issue official income tax receipts for monetary gifts and gifts-in-kind? Charities must issue official income tax receipts for all gifts. In order to qualify as a “gift,” a donation must be voluntary and involve a transfer of property (cash, land, stocks, clothing, etc). In order to be eligible for a tax receipt, a gift must be able to be valued and must “enrich the charity.”3 Issuing improper or incomplete donation receipts is illegal under the income tax act and can incur consequences from CRA,4 impacting an organization’s charitable status as well as its reputation in the broader community.

    What must be included on an official income tax receipt? To be acceptable to CRA, official income tax receipts must include:5

    • a statement that the receipt is an official receipt for income tax purposes;
    • the name and Canadian address of the charity that are on file with the CRA;
    • the charity's charitable registration (business) number;
    • the serial number of the receipt (all receipts must be numbered);
    • the place where the receipt was issued;
    • the date the donation was received;
    • the date on which the receipt was issued if it differs from the date of donation;
    • the full name and address of the donor;
    • the eligible amount of the gift;
    • the signature of an individual authorized by the charity to sign receipts; and
    • the name and Web site address of the Canada Revenue Agency (www.cra-arc.gc.ca/charities).

    Receipts for gifts-in-kind must also contain:5

    • a brief description of the property transferred to the charity; and
    • the name and address of the appraiser (if the property was appraised).

    For Nonprofits: Why should nonprofit organizations make it clear to potential donors that they cannot issue Official Income Tax receipts? The general public may not be aware of the difference between a registered charity and a nonprofit organization. As such, they may assume that they are able to receive an Official Income Tax receipt from a nonprofit, and their decision to donate may be influenced by this assumption. In order to avoid misleading potential donors, nonprofits must make it clear that they cannot issue income tax receipts for donations.

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Gifts in Kind” in Gifts & Receipting, Imagine Canada Charity Tax Tools, 2009.
    2. “Determining the Value of Gifts” in Gifts & Receipting, Imagine Canada Charity Tax Tools, 2010.
    3. “Is a gift eligible for a receipt” in Gifts & Receipting, Imagine Canada Charity Tax Tools, 2010.
    4. Fundraising by Registered Charities: Guidance,” Canada Revenue Agency, April 20th 2012.
    5. Excerpted from: “Information included on a receipt” in Gifts & Receipting, Imagine Canada Charity Tax Tools, 2010.
  • Standard C6 Explained

    Why is it essential that all fundraising activities conducted by or on behalf of charitable or nonprofit organizations:

    a. be truthful – The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Donor Bill of Rights states that any donor to a charitable or nonprofit organization has the right to “ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful, and forthright answers.”1 In addition, CRA may deem any untruthful statements made in the course of fundraising to constitute “deceptive fundraising,” which can lead to legal sanctions or the revocation of charitable status.2

    b. accurately describe the organization’s activities – Donors want to know how their funds will be used, and being able to demonstrate the relationship between your organization’s activities and its impact in the community fosters increased understanding, engagement, and trust between your organization and its donors.

    c. disclose the organization’s name – CRA states that organizations must not misrepresent the charity which will receive solicited donations.2 As such, all fundraising activities must clearly present the name of the organization that will receive the funds being collected.

    d. disclose the purpose for which funds are requested – The Association of Fundraising Professionals’ Donor Bill of Rights states that any donor to a charitable or nonprofit organization has the right to “be informed of the organization’s mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purpose.”1 In addition, Alberta’s Charitable Fundraising Act 9(1) states that organizations must make information on how donations will be spent available to any person who requests it.3 Understanding why funds are being requested, both in terms of the impact an organization seeks and the specific activities that will be undertaken to achieve this impact helps donors to make informed choices regarding which organizations to support.

    e. disclose the organization’s policy with respect to issuing Official Income Tax receipts including any policy on minimum amounts for which a receipt will be issued – Disclosing your organization’s policy with respect to issuing Official Income Tax receipts is a good practice as it avoids misleading donors who may believe they will be able to claim a gift that in reality they will not be able to claim. If your organization, for example, only issues Official Income Tax receipts for donations over $50, being clear and upfront with potential donors about this policy helps to avoid misunderstanding, which can be damaging to relationships and negatively impact future fundraising efforts.

    f. disclose, upon request, whether the individual or entity seeking donations is a volunteer, employee or contracted third party – CRA requires that all fundraising organizations disclose whether those soliciting funds are internal staff, volunteers, or third-party fundraisers. Potential donors also have a right to know how fundraisers are compensated and what percentage of charitable funds will go to charitable work.2

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. A Donor Bill of Rights,” Association of Fundraising Professionals.
    2. Fundraising by Registered Charities: Guidance,” Canada Revenue Agency, April 20th 2012.
    3. Charitable Fundraising Act, Province of Alberta, Alberta Queen’s Printer, November 1st 2010.
  • Standard C7 Explained

    Why is it essential for organizations not to make claims that cannot be upheld or that are misleading? To develop a robust donor base, an organization must represent its activities truthfully. Making claims that cannot be upheld or that are misleading is unethical and can damage an organization’s reputation, making it extremely difficult to attract the resources it needs to make an impact in its community. Donors who find that organizations they have contributed to were unable to follow through on their promises are unlikely to support the organization in the future.

    Making misleading claims can also incur consequences from CRA if the organization is found to be acting contrary to public policy or to be violating provincial consumer protection legislation or the federal Competition Act.1 CRA could also see misleading claims as evidence of “deceptive fundraising,” which can result in legal sanctions including the revocation of charitable status.1 To avoid misleading potential donors, The Association of Fundraising Professionals requires its members to accurately disclose the organization’s mission and the use of solicited funds on all fundraising materials.2

     

    Examples of misleading claims:

    a. It would be misleading for an organization working to cure cancer to suggest that by reaching their fundraising goal, they will be able to cure the disease. The organization cannot guarantee this kind of outcome. When discussing the impact of donations, organizations must not guarantee outcomes that are beyond the organization’s control.

    b. It would be misleading to state that all donors who contribute over $200 will be invited to a special reception to thank them for their donation and then neglect to host such a reception.

    c. An organization that already has significant reserve funds but launches a new fundraising campaign that gives the impression that the organization is in desperate need of funds is misrepresenting the financial status of the organization. CRA could consider this to be an example of “deceptive” fundraising.1

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. Fundraising by Registered Charities: Guidance,” Canada Revenue Agency, April 20th 2012.
    2. Association of Fundraising Professionals Code of Ethical Principles and Standards,” Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2004.
  • Standard C8 Explained

    What does it mean for an organization to “exploit its beneficiaries”? Exploiting beneficiaries in order to attract donations can involve depicting individuals in a way that upholds stereotypes, is demeaning, or that disregards a person’s dignity.1 A UK study by the Center for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy found that the beneficiaries of charities are concerned about the way they are represented, wishing to be depicted in fundraising campaigns without organizations resorting to the use of “stereotypes, clichés or prejudices.”1

    Why is it important for organizations to be sensitive in describing those they serve and to fairly represent their needs and how these will be addressed? Nonprofit and charitable organizations exist to serve their beneficiaries. When organizations represent those they serve using images, graphics, and text, they influence not only donors’ desire to give, but also their understandings of complex social issues and of the individuals the organization serves.1 A UK study that explored the way homeless people felt about depictions of homelessness in fundraising campaigns found that beneficiaries favoured storytelling about individuals in need as well as images aimed at inciting empathy and “a recognition of common humanity” as opposed to eliciting guilt or pity as a motivation to give.1

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. User Views of Fundraising: A Study of Charitable Beneficiaries’ Opinions of Their Representation in Appeals,” Beth Breeze and Jon Dean, Center for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy, 2012.
  • Standard C9 Explained

    Why is it important for all fundraising materials to include an organization’s address or other contact information? Fundraising materials including print or e-mail solicitations must include the organization’s address and / or other contact information to ensure that individuals who wish to learn more about the organization or to make a donation are able to contact the organization. CRA states that organizations must not misrepresent the charity which will receive solicited donations.1 Without contact information, fundraising materials may appear suspect and individuals may doubt the validity of a nonprofit or charity distributing such materials.

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section C: Fundraising,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. Fundraising by Registered Charities: Guidance,” Canada Revenue Agency, April 20th 2012.
  • Standard D1 Explained

    Why is it important to have written HR policies? HR policies detail your organization’s expectations of its staff and ensure that employees are treated ethically and in compliance will all applicable legislation. HR policies also help to formalize your organization’s unique work culture, implement best practices, and ensure that decisions and actions taken by management are fair and consistent.1

    What kinds of HR policies does my organization need? Common HR policies include policies addressing:1

    • Employee information 
    • Performance management 
    • Hiring 
    • Holidays and vacation 
    • Hours of work
    • Leaves of absence 
    • Overtime 
    • Termination 
    • Health and Safety

    What legislation does my organization need to comply with? Nonprofit and charitable organizations must comply with legislation related to:1

    • Employment / labour standards 
    • Occupational health and safety 
    • Human rights 
    • Labour relations
    • Privacy of personal information

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. "HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
  • Standard D10 Explained

    Why is it important to assess the performance of each employee at least annually? Assessing an employee’s performance helps ensure that they are accomplishing the goals of their position, contributing to the strategic direction of the organization, and acting in alignment with your organization’s culture.1 Effective performance assessments offer meaningful feedback to employees and can contribute to the creation of a positive work environment.2 Performance assessments can play a role in succession planning and can enable management to intervene if a staff member is encountering challenges. Performance assessments help ensure that any issues are identified and addressed before they negatively impact the organization as a whole or jeopardize the individual’s employment.3

    What should be included in a performance review?3

    • An assessment of how the employee contributes to your organization’s operational and strategic plans 
    • Mechanisms for encouraging performance excellence 
    • A way to determine and address aspects of performance that could be improved 
    • Identification of personal or professional development needs 
    • Opportunities for promotion or other work assignments if applicable 
    • Description of work or career goals 
    • Consideration for increases in compensation

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Human Resources Q & A: Making Performance Management Easy,” Kathline Holmes, Charity Village, August 8th 2011.
    2. “Trends & Issues: The Art of Performance Management, Nonprofit Style,” The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2010.
    3. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
  • Standard D11 Explained

    Why is it important to assess the development needs of all fulltime employees and to develop plans to address any gaps? Ongoing professional development helps employees improve their performance in their roles and build the skills they need to advance.1 In a job market in which nonprofits compete with the public and private sector for qualified employees, opportunities for learning and development become an important part of employee attraction and retention strategies.2

    The benefits of offering professional development opportunities include:3

    • Increased ability to meet organizational goals 
    • Increased productivity 
    • Increased motivation 
    • Decreased need for supervision in well-trained staff
    • Training employees can be part of an organization’s succession planning efforts 
    • An environment of continuous learning promotes effective responses to challenge and change 
    • Staff can more effectively contribute to new initiatives 
    • Improved attraction and retention of employees

    The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector suggests that development plans address the following categories of learning:1

    • Essential – skills that are required to perform effectively in the employee’s role, including learning that addresses performance issues or that prepares a person to take on new responsibilities
    • Enhancement – learning that will benefit an employee in their current or future role within the organization
    • Career Development – learning that is desired by the staff member but that may not provide direct benefits to the organization

    For level 3 organizations: Why is it essential for staff with supervisory roles to be provided with opportunities to develop these skills? Managing and supervising staff is a distinct skill set that must be actively developed.1

    Management skills include:1

    • How to motivate and engage others
    • How to work together to set goals
    • How to assess an employee’s performance
    • How to delegate tasks and manage work

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
    2. “Factors Affecting Working and Learning,” Learning, Training and Development, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
    3. Getting Your Organization Ready for Employee Training and Development,” Learning, Training and Development, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
  • Standard D12 Explained

    Definition: Succession Plan1

    A succession plan sets out how potential departures of key personnel would be dealt with in the short-term and long-term through internal or external candidates. It could define key competencies, identify pools of talent and outline how current staff members are being developed to fill positions.

    Why is it important to identify critical positions and to develop succession plans for these positions? A succession plan describes how an organization will respond to the expected or unexpected departure of critical staff members. Being strategic about whom you hire is essential in the nonprofit sector, especially in small organizations where every individual has a significant impact on the overall effectiveness of the organization.2 Having a succession plan in place for critical positions promotes resilience within your organization and helps to mitigate against the disruptions that occur during employee transitions.3

    The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector recommends that if possible, succession plans should seek to develop talent from within your organization.4 Ongoing learning and professional development activities can then be tailored to enable staff members to take on new roles or responsibilities in the case of the departure of a key staff person.4

    Benefits of succession planning include:3

    • Ensuring that your organization can continue to deliver services in the event that a key employee leaves 
    • Developing a pool of people who have the skills and abilities to move into newly vacated roles 
    • Promoting alignment between your organization’s vision and its human resources strategy, helping your organization accomplish its strategic goals 
    • Improving attraction and retention among employees who see opportunities for advancement within your organization 
    • Establishing a reputation for investing in employees and ensuring that they feel valued

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Standards Program Definitions,” Imagine Canada, May 2011.
    2. Building a Talent Pipeline,” The Bridgespan Group, 2010.
    3. “Succession Planning,” in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
    4. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector.
  • Standard D13 Explained

    Why is it essential for organizations to have a formal process to manage workplace conflicts? Workplace conflicts arise in all organizations, and having a formal process in place helps employees resolve emerging conflicts quickly before they escalate into larger problems.1 Conflict management processes that allow employees to go beyond their immediate supervisor boost employee morale and avoid the losses that can be incurred if conflicts are not addressed in a timely manner.2

    Without a formal process to manage workplace conflicts, issues can lead to employee dissatisfaction, loss of productivity, a decrease in quality of work or service to clients, increased stress and employee turnover, and/or litigation against your organization.3 Workplace conflicts pose additional risks to organizations that depend on volunteers, as volunteers often have many commitments and are unwilling to tolerate a tense environment.4

    What should a conflict resolution policy include? Conflict resolution policies outline the steps that should be taken to resolve a conflict and may provide for mediation in the case that the problem cannot be resolved by affected employees directly.1 Conflict resolution policies may institute a formal open door policy in which employees can report emerging issues, or a formal complaint process.1 In addition, conflict resolution policies should always include a statement to the effect that employees are protected against retaliation as a result of using the conflict resolution process.2

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
    2. Sample Policies on Common HR Topics: Conflict Resolution,” HR Policies & Employment Legislation, HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector.
    3. Conflict at Work,” Workplaces That Work in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
    4. “How to Effectively Manage Conflict,” Jack Shand, Charity Village, December 5th 2011.
  • Standard D2 Explained

    Why do HR management policies need to be made accessible to all employees? In order for HR management policies to be implemented effectively, they must be thoroughly understood by all staff. Ideally, the behaviours and actions outlined in your HR management policies become part of your organization’s work culture.

    Policies can be made accessible by posting them online or by ensuring that every employee has a copy. However, accessibility also requires that policies be easy to understand and written in a language that is familiar to your employees.1 Special care should be taken to ensure that your policies are accessible to people with disabilities.1

    How should HR management policies be made available to all employees? Employees are often made aware of HR management policies as part of their orientation to a new position in the organization and when policies change or are updated. They may be given a copy of all policies or directed to where they can access them online.1

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
  • Standard D3 Explained

    Why is it important to review HR management policies once every two years for Level 1 and 2 organizations and annually for Level 3 organizations? HR management policies stipulate how employees are expected to work and act as part of your organization.1 Reviewing these policies regularly and revising them if necessary ensures that your organization’s policies incorporate any changes in relevant legislation and that they continue to reflect best practices in HR management.1

    When reviewing your organization’s HR management policies, keep the following questions in mind:2

    • Have there been any changes in legislation that impact this policy?
    • How effective has this policy been since it was implemented?
    • What kinds of feedback have you received about this policy from staff?
    • Is the policy accomplishing what it was created to accomplish?

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
    2. Step 8: Policy Review and Update,” Developing HR Policies in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
  • Standard D4 Explained

    Definition: Compensation Policy1
    A compensation policy documents the organization’s philosophy and direction with regard to rewarding its employees.

    Why is it essential to have a compensation structure that fairly evaluates and compensates the value of each position? Your organization’s compensation structure reflects and influences its work culture.2 The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector suggests that compensation structures consider both internal and external equity and that all salary ranges be reviewed at least every two years or when there are significant changes to an employee’s job description.2 Although nonprofit organizations have traditionally paid lower salaries than private companies, trends toward increasing professionalism in the sector require organizations to offer competitive salaries and benefits packages in order to attract and retain employees with the right skills and expertise.3 In developing competitive compensation packages for employees, nonprofits and charities should consider the salaries of comparable positions in other nonprofit organizations, the public sector, and the private sector. It is important to remember that compensation involves much more than cash, including health benefits, pension, vacation, professional development opportunities, flex time, working hours,2 and cost of living adjustment.4

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Standards Program Definitions,” Imagine Canada, May 2011.
    2. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
    3. “Compensation: The Inside Scoop on Nonprofit Payrolls,” Julie Stauffer, Charity Village, August 15th 2011.
    4. In Fort McMurray, Alberta, certain nonprofit staff positions qualify for a cost of living adjustment depending on the source of funding.
  • Standard D5 Explained

    Why is it important for all employees to have written job descriptions? A formal job description lists all the activities and competencies required for a position and creates a structure with which to assess individual performance.1 A comprehensive and thoughtfully written job description is an essential communication tool that can help your organization recruit the best person for the job by clearly outlining the opportunities the role has to offer as well as what is required to succeed in the job.2 In addition to assisting with recruitment and selection, job descriptions play an important role in employee orientation, training, supervision, compensation, and performance management.3 They can also act as a legal defense if an employee is terminated for performing inadequately in his or her role. 3

    Job descriptions usually include:1

    • A list of the position’s duties, tasks, and responsibilities
    • A description of how the position advances the organization’s goals
    • A list of required experience and competencies
    • Any special requirements (for instance, a police check)
    • A list of key relationships to the organization’s stakeholders

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
    2. Nonprofit Job Description Toolkit,” The Bridgespan Group, 2012.
    3. Job Descriptions,” Getting the Right People, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
  • Standard D6 Explained

    Why do recruitment and selection practices need to be objective and consistent? Ensuring that all potential employees are assessed based on the same criteria ensures that the process of recruiting and selecting employees is fair and professional.1 Criteria for selecting the appropriate candidate should be based on a position’s clearly defined written job description and easy-to-measure indicators to avoid biased assessments of potential candidates.2 Selection processes may include interviews, written assessments, or relevant tests to determine a candidate’s suitability for a position.1 Interviewing can be done in teams to assist with unbiased assessment and to help determine whether a candidate would be a good fit in your organization. Selection and screening methods should focus on the position’s required skills and abilities and must comply with human rights legislation.3

    What does human rights legislation say about job recruitment and selection? The Alberta Human Rights Act protects individuals from discrimination as a result of:4

    • Race 
    • Religious Beliefs
    • Colour
    • Gender
    • Physical Disability 
    • Mental Disability
    • Ancestry 
    • Age
    • Place of Origin 
    • Marital Status
    • Source of Income 
    • Family Status
    • Sexual Orientation

    In spite of this, a study of HR management in small nonprofit organizations found that 3 out of 18 violated human rights legislation in their interview process. For instance, interview questions asking whether a candidate has a spouse or children were used as a way to gauge whether an interviewee would really be able to work overtime, while marital status and family status are both protected under the Alberta Human Rights Act.5

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
    2. “Recruitment,” Getting the Right People, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
    3. “HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011, p. 10.
    4. “Selection & Hiring,” Getting the Right People, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
    5. “Protected Areas and Grounds Under the Alberta Human Rights Act,” Alberta Human Rights Commission, February 2012.
  • Standard D7 Explained

    Why is it important to give a letter of employment to all individuals who are offered a position? Although many organizations prefer to extend offers of employment in person or over the phone,1 a formal letter of employment allows an organization to clearly communicate its expectations to new recruits, ensuring that they comprehend the terms of their employment2 including salary, benefits, reporting and supervision relationships, as well as any conditions related to the offer. A letter of employment not only ensures shared understanding between your organization and a potential employee, but creates a formal record that the terms of employment are fully understood.

    What should be included in a letter of employment?3

    • Start date of employment
    • Job title
    • Starting salary or wage range
    • Hours of work
    • Notice period for resignation and termination
    • Probationary terms
    • Instructions on how to accept the offer of employment
    • Any requirements for criminal records checks, security clearance, etc.
    • Description of employee benefits
    • Conditions of the offer if applicable
    • Reporting or supervisory relationships
    • Accommodation needs as agreed during the recruitment process if applicable
    • Information on how to access HR policies and confirmation that the employee must adhere to them
    • End date of employment for fixed term positions
    • Reference to union status if applicable
    • Cost of living allowance if applicable4

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section D: Staff Management,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Extending an Offer,” Nonprofit Hiring Toolkit,” The Bridgespan Group, 2012.
    2. “Selection & Hiring,” Getting the Right People, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
    3. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector.
    4. In Fort McMurray, Alberta, certain nonprofit staff positions qualify for a cost of living adjustment depending on the source of funding.
  • Standard D8 Explained

    Why is it essential for employees to be provided with appropriate orientation and training? Orientation improves an employee’s performance, strengthens their commitment to their organization,1 and can promote staff retention.2 An effective orientation process not only conveys the practical information a new employee will require to succeed in their role, but should also familiarize him or her with the organization’s social environment and its unique culture.2 Although orientation should begin as soon as an employee takes on a new position, it can take up to a year depending on the role.1

    New recruits to your organization may also need to undergo some form of training before they can fully take on their new role. Effective training improves an employee’s ability to contribute to organizational goals, to deal with challenges and change, and to manage or work on new initiatives.3 Training also improves staff productivity, motivation, and retention, and leads to a decreased need for supervision.3

    Orientation can include information on:1

    • HR management policies
    • Information on employee benefits
    • The organization’s mission
    • The organization’s governance, management, and reporting structures
    • The organization’s funding structure
    • The organization’s programs and services
    • Expectations of the job
    • Resources available to support the employee
    • Roles and responsibilities of volunteers and staff
    • The organization’s culture and values2
    • The organization’s stakeholders (clients, donors, board, media, etc.)

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
    2. “Orientation,” Getting the Right People,” in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
    3. “Getting Your Organization Ready for Employee Training and Development,” Learning, Training and Development, in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
  • Standard D9 Explained

    Why is it important for organizations to have a work plan or performance objectives? Work plans and/or performance objectives are a key ingredient of any performance management process and can help employees to be more effective in their roles.1 Individual work plans and performance objectives should align with your organization’s strategic plans and annual work plans.2 This will ensure that your organization is engaging all staff to work toward accomplishing its mission.

    The HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector suggests that performance objectives should be SMART:1

    • Specific – clearly articulate what, who, and when
    • Measurable – determine how you will know that the goal has been accomplished, using multiple measures if possible and addressing both qualitative and quantitative factors
    • Attainable – develop goals that can reasonably be accomplished
    • Realistic – goals should align with an employee’s experience and abilities as well as recognize complexity, including factors outside the employee’s control
    • Time-bound – set clear expectations for the time by which the goal should be accomplished

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. Performance Management,” in the HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector’s HR Toolkit.
    2. HR Management Standards: Second Edition,” HR Council for the Nonprofit Sector, 2011.
  • Standard E1 Explained

    Why does your organization need policies and procedures related to volunteer involvement? Policies and procedures formalize roles and responsibilities, ensuring that they are understood and carried out consistently throughout your organization.1 Having formal policies and procedures in place related to volunteer involvement demonstrates your organization’s commitment to supporting its volunteers.2 Policies and procedures are also an important component of risk management, clarifying expectations and guiding action and decision-making.3 By helping to ensure that your volunteer program is run effectively, policies and procedures can improve volunteer retention, productivity, and satisfaction.3

    Policies and procedures related to volunteer involvement must comply with national and provincial / territorial legislation including legislation protecting human rights, privacy of information, and employment standards.1

    Which volunteer involvement policies and procedures does your organization need? In developing volunteer involvement policies, it is helpful to carefully consider why your organization involves volunteers.2 According to your organization’s needs, you may develop policies and procedures related to:1 

    • Volunteer roles
    • Screening of volunteers
    • Grounds for dismissal of volunteers
    • Volunteer recruitment
    • Volunteer orientation and training
    • Reimbursement of volunteers’ expenses
    • Support and supervision of volunteers 
    • Insurance coverage for volunteers 
    • Equal opportunities 
    • Health and safety 
    • Conflict resolution 
    • Confidentiality

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.
    2. “Writing a Volunteer Policy,” Volunteering Good Practice Guide, Volunteer Center, Brighton and Hove, 2009.
    3. “Policies and Procedures,” Linda L. Graff, December 2009.
  • Standard E2 Explained

    Why does my organization need to designate at least one person to be responsible for volunteer involvement? Over the past two decades, changes in patterns of giving and volunteering in Canada have prompted nonprofit and charitable organizations to increasingly incorporate management principles into their volunteer programs.1 Recruiting, coordinating, and managing volunteers is a complex responsibility that requires a particular skill set,2 including knowledge of human resource management principles and an understanding of the value of volunteering.3 The National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations found that having a designated paid employee responsible for volunteer involvement was the most significant variable affecting an organization’s ability to effectively engage volunteers in its work.1

    Individuals responsible for volunteer involvement often play a role in:1

    • Volunteer recruitment
    • Matching volunteers with volunteer opportunities
    • Volunteer orientation and training
    • Interviewing and screening volunteers
    • Assessing the risks involved in an organization’s volunteer program
    • Supervising volunteers

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. Managers of Volunteers: A Profile of the Profession,” Fataneh Zarinpoush, Cathy Barr, and Jason Moreton, Imagine Canada, 2004.
    2. “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.
    3. Noble et al., 2003 cited in “Managers of Volunteers: A Profile of the Profession,” Fataneh Zarinpoush, Cathy Barr, and Jason Moreton, Imagine Canada, 2004.
  • Standard E3 Explained

    Why is it important for volunteer assignments to relate to the mission of your organization? Nonprofit and charitable organizations depend on volunteers to achieve their missions.1 In order to ensure that volunteers contribute to accomplishing your organization’s goals, your volunteer involvement strategy should align with your organization’s strategic direction and its plan for disbursing its resources.1

    Volunteers are most often drawn to your organization because they are passionate about its cause and feel that their contribution will help your organization to achieve its mission.2 Volunteers who understand how their work impacts the organization’s strategic goals are more likely to strive to accomplish their roles effectively.3

    Why is it important for volunteer assignments to engage volunteers in meaningful ways that reflect their abilities, needs, and backgrounds? Volunteers are busy people. Employed Canadians and those with children living at home volunteer at higher rates than others, and younger Canadians (between 15 and 44) volunteer more than pre-retirees or seniors.4 Volunteer time is a valuable resource, and volunteers are unlikely to want to spend it in a position that is not engaging and rewarding.2 Often, volunteers are looking for a role that will help them to develop skills, to use their existing skills to contribute to a cause they care deeply about,5 or to increase their employment opportunities.3 They may also be looking for a meaningful way to spend their time that enriches the community, the organization, and themselves.5

    Overall, today’s volunteers have higher expectations of their roles and less time to contribute than they have in the past.3 As such, aligning volunteer opportunities with an individual’s abilities, needs, and background will ensure that your volunteers are best able to contribute to your organization while at the same time satisfying their reasons for volunteering.

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012, p. 13.
    2. Volunteer Role Design: The Key to Your Volunteer Program,” Cheryl Humphrey-Pratt, RCVO @ Volunteer Alberta, 2006, p. 1.
    3. A Matter of Design: Job Design Theory and Application to the Voluntary Sector,” Volunteer Canada, 2001, p. 4.
    4. Volunteering in Canada,” Mireille Vézina and Susan Crompton, Statistics Canada, April 16th 2012, p. 40.
    5. Volunteer Recruitment,” Cheryl Humphrey-Pratt, RCVO @ Volunteer Alberta, 2006, p. 2.
  • Standard E4 Explained

    Why is it important for organizations to involve a diverse volunteer base? Community organizations serve diverse communities. A 2012 Statistics Canada study, Giving and Volunteering Among Canada’s Immigrants, reports that almost 1 in 5 Canadians is an immigrant.1 For many new Canadians, volunteering is a primary venue for integrating socially and economically into their communities.1

    Volunteer Canada’s Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement states that a “healthy organization” will seek to involve volunteers who reflect the diversity of the community.2 Cultivating a diverse volunteer base will improve your organization’s ability to effectively serve its community by increasing access to the skills and knowledge needed to design programs, develop policies, and make connections in your community.3

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. 28 “Giving and Volunteering Among Canada’s Immigrants,” Derrick Thomas, Statistics Canada, May 17th 2012.
    2. 30 “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.
    3. “A Guide for Cultural Competency Application of the Canadian Code,” Ontario Volunteer Center Network, July 2009.
  • Standard E5 Explained

    Why is it essential to establish appropriate screening processes for volunteers? The primary purpose of volunteer screening is to ensure a safe environment for your organization’s clients, staff, and volunteers.1 Organizations working with vulnerable populations in particular have a moral and legal obligation to screen volunteers, as stated in the concept of “Duty of Care,” which requires organizations to enact reasonable measures to ensure the safety of their beneficiaries.1

    Screening is essential to manage the risks associated with your organization’s volunteer program. However, it also accomplishes other goals such as helping to match volunteers with appropriate volunteer opportunities.1

    What does an effective screening process involve? Screening should be an ongoing process for all volunteers, and procedures must apply equally to all individuals within a particular role. Appropriate screening processes should be developed based on the level of risk associated with each volunteer role.2 For instance, a volunteer who will be supervising children will require a different screening process than a volunteer who will be collecting tickets at the registration table of a fundraising event.2

    Depending on the position, screening may involve an application form, interviews, reference checks and / or a police records check, orientation to a new position, and supervision and evaluation.3

     

    From "Accreditation Preparation Workbook Section E: Volunteer Involvement,"  Katharine Zywert, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo at the University of Waterloo, 2013.

    1. “Screening,” Volunteer Canada.
    2. “The Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement: Values, Guiding Principles, and Standards of Practice,” Volunteer Canada, 2012.
    3. Best Practice Guidelines for Screening Volunteers,” Public Safety Canada, Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2008.

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