As of May 1, 1995, the Charitable Fund-Raising Act came into effect. It specifically lays out the rules that must be followed when asking for charitable donations in Alberta. These rules are present to protect people who are asked to contribute to charities by ensuring they have enough information to decide whether or not to give, and by protecting them from fraudulent, misleading or confusing requests for contributions. The Act also sets standards for charities and professional fund raisers when asking for contributions.
This Act applies to any organization, incorporated or not, that has been formed for a charitable purpose. A charitable purpose is defined as a philanthropic, benevolent, educational, health, humane, religious, cultural or artistic purpose.
A charitable organization must be registered if a professional fund raiser is going to be used and/or the charity is intending to raise more than $10,000.00 in gross contribtions in its financial year.
To find out if a charity is registered, you can call Service Alberta at 1-800-427-4088 and ask for the consumer service division. To check Federally licensed charities you may call the Charities Directorate at 1-800-267-2384.
If you are approached for a donation, you are entitled to the following information, before you agree to donate:
- The name of the charitable organization.
- The corporate and operating name of any fund raiser(s) involved.
- How the fund raiser is paid, by percentage of gross contribution or by a specified dollar amount.
- The charitable purpose for which contributions will be used.
- How much the campaign will cost, and how much the charity expects to raise.
- The corporate and business address of the charity and the place of incorporation, if any.
- The name and phone number of a contact person employed by the charity whom the donor can call for further information.
If you wish for more information before consenting to donate to a charity, you also have the right to request information on how and where the money will be spent, and how much of the gross contribution goes to the charitable cause, and how much is administrative costs.
If you make a cash contribution, the charity is required to issue a receipt.
The above information was supplied by Service Alberta.