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Letter to The Editor: End "Overhead Myth" for Charities

June 13, 2017

Re: For Charities, Cheaper Isn’t Always Better (The Winnipeg Free Press, April 21 issue)

I appreciated reading John Longhurst’s article on the recent criticism in the Free Press on the administrative costs associated with the running of charities, and in particular would like to support the comments made by Bruce MacDonald on behalf of Imagine Canada. I commend Longhurst for highlighting the importance of looking at impact in the determination of the merit of a charitable organization.

When I donate to a charity, it is because I believe in its mission and the work it does. I also understand that, as with successful businesses, successful charities have administrative costs. As president of the Association of Fundraising Professionals Manitoba Chapter (AFP Manitoba), I would like to emphasize our organization’s role in advancing ethical and effective fundraising practices so donors can give with confidence and charities can succeed in their missions. Our chapter is one of 20 Canadian chapters and more than 200 worldwide.

We believe our donors deserve to have trusting and transparent relationships with the charities they support. As such, our members commit to a Code of Ethics which guides our work, including how we steward and solicit funds, how we ensure transparency and public trust, how we safeguard confidential information, and how we receive compensation.

Our charities are tackling some of society’s toughest issues, carrying visions that build lasting legacies and investing in change both in the short and long term. To measure their value requires a much broader view than focusing on their administrative costs. We need to shed the "overhead myth" that charities that invest in administrative and operating costs are immediately judged as less worthy.

Carolyn Basha
Board President, AFP Manitoba Chapter

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