Standard 5: Philanthropy and Fundraising
The land trust conducts philanthropy and fundraising activities in an ethical and responsible
Raising money through philanthropy and fundraising activities is a critical and ongoing activity for every active land trust. Philanthropy is a voluntary gift eligible for a tax receipt. Fundraising activities generally include some type of benefit to the supporter such as at a special event, lottery or gaming, for which no receipt may be issued. Land trusts should approach fundraising as a way to build longtime supporters and friends of their conservation mission. Charitable solicitations and fundraising activities should be undertaken not only with an eye toward meeting short-term needs, but also with an understanding of how philanthropy and fundraising practices affect the long-term credibility of the land trust. A good source of charitable giving standards is Imagine Canada, an organization formed in 2004 with the joining of the Canadian Centre for Philanthropy (CCP) and the Coalition of National Voluntary Organizations (NVO). Imagine Canada’s standards can be found on the website: www.imaginecanada.ca
- Canada Revenue Agency policy interpretation of Income Tax Act, SC 1985, c. I; see
- Canada Revenue Agency policy interpretation of Income Tax Act, SC 1985, c. I; see:
- Personal Information Protection Act, SBC 2003, c. 63
- Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, SC 2000, c. 5.
B. Accountability to Donors
The land trust is accountable to its donors and provides written acknowledgement of gifts as required by law, ensures that donor funds are used as specified, keeps accurate records, honours donor privacy concerns, complies with applicable privacy legislation and advises donors to seek independent legal and financial advice for substantial gifts, whether they be land or monetary gifts.
Strong relationships with donors are crucial for the land trust to secure charitable gifts. Land trusts are accountable to their donors for how donated funds are spent. Thorough recordkeeping practices are integral to donor accountability. This practice includes a reminder that federal law contains requirements to establish the Fair-Market Value of all non- cash gifts with an independent third party appraisal of gifts over $1000. Land trust solicitations must specify for what purpose funds are being raised, and then the funds must be used for that purpose. Likewise, donor-restricted funds must be used for the purposes indicated by the donor. Substantial gifts of cash or other assets can have significant tax and legal consequences for the donor; thus, it is prudent for the land trust to advise potential donors to consult their lawyer and financial advisor when considering such gifts. Some provinces require donations that are solicited for a certain purpose to be held and managed separately from operating and other funds. Land trusts should be aware of any legislation that exists in their jurisdiction.
A Donor Bill of Rights was developed by four professional organizations: the American Association of Fund Raising Counsel (AAFRC), Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) and the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). It has also been widely endorsed by other professional organizations and individual charities. It is recommended that land trusts develop and adopt a Donor Bill of Rights.
BC Assessment Questions
- Does the land trust provide a written acknowledgement of all donations?
- Does the land trust understand and abide by BC’s privacy legislation when managing and acknowledging donations?
- Does the land trust advise donors, in writing, to seek independent tax and legal advice before making a substantial donation?
- Does the land trust seek an independent valuation of in-kind gifts greater than $1000?
CLTA Assessment Questions
- Does the land trust provide a timely written acknowledgement of gifts received consistent with federal and/or provincial law?
- Do the land trust’s fundraising materials conform to any provincial and/or federal legal requirements and clearly indicate which portions of a donor’s gift will generate a tax credit?
- Are all funds spent for the purposes stated or consistent with the donor’s wishes and tracked accordingly?
- Does the land trust ensure that donor privacy concerns are honoured?
- Does the land trust advise donors to seek independent financial and legal advise for substantial gifts?