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New Survey Profiles Canadian Fundraisers

(Aug. 21, 2006) A new survey of Canadian fundraisers shows that a large majority abides by a code of ethics, but only half have a Donor Bill of Rights in place as a formal measure in their organization.

The survey, conducted by Innovative Research Group Inc., for Canadian Fundraiser newsletter, is based on the results of more than 1,000 participants in an online survey and contains a variety of data about fundraiser demographics, performance and attitudes.

More than nine in 10 respondents (91 percent) abide by a code of ethics, although less than half (48 percent) refer to and use a Donor Bill of Rights in their fundraising activities. Hospital foundations are most likely to have a formal Donor Bill of Rights (73 percent), while religious organizations are least likely to have such a document (27 percent).

On the subject of percentage-based compensation, 76 percent believe that such compensation encourages abuse, compromises the integrity of the voluntary sector and undermines philanthropic values. Ninety-four (94) percent of respondents’ organizations do not pay their fundraisers a finder’s fee.

Interestingly, respondents were split on the issue of incentive-based compensation—payment and bonuses for reaching certain fundraising levels (and not based on a percentage of funds raised). Almost half (49 percent) support such arrangements and 44 percent oppose them. This type of incentive-based compensation is allowed under the AFP Code of Ethical Principles and Standards of Professional Practice.

Fundraising Usage

The most popular type of fundraising method is seeking corporate donations, used by 87 percent of respondents. Direct mail is close behind at 81 percent.

The least popular methods are collection boxes (20 percent) and door-to-door solicitations (10 percent).

Fundraisers cite planned giving and major gift campaigns as the fastest-growing techniques, while door-to-door solicitations and telemarketing are on the decline.

A large majority of respondents (75 percent) report using Internet fundraising, although most organizations indicated that such solicitations accounted for 20 percent or less of their overall charitable revenues.

Capital Gains Elimination

While 85 percent of respondents overall had heard of the elimination of the capital gains tax on contributions of securities, those who belong to professional philanthropy associations were more knowledgeable about the law (95 percent) than those who do not (just 69 percent were aware of the change in the law).

Nearly half of respondents (46 percent) reported belonging to AFP, with 26 percent belonging to the Canadian Association of Gift Planners. Nearly a third (32 percent) of the respondents said they do not belong to any association.

A slight majority of respondents (55 percent) believe that the elimination of the capital gains tax on gifts of securities will lead to increased gifts to their charities. The average level of estimated increase was 23 percent.

Finally, 79 percent of respondents reported raising more money in 2005 than in 2004, and 78 percent believe they will raise even more money in 2006.

About the Survey

An article about the survey is available online at the Canadian Fundraiser website, and a full report will be available later this year.

Invitations to participate in the survey were sent to 8,563 fundraisers employed by registered charities in Canada, with 1,072 responding. The response rate was 14.7 percent, and the completion rate was 12.5 percent. Participants took the survey between May 24 and June 2, 2006.

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