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Not So Frequently Asked Questions

Resource Center - Foundation

By Dan Brunette

Professional development is an integral and essential part of being a well-rounded professional, and conferences, webinars, educational sessions and mentorship opportunities abound. However there is one element for which they can all be faulted: they deal with best practices and the most common scenarios!

This in itself is, of course, not a bad thing. To try to build a legacy plan without integrating bequests would be a pretty major oversight, just like asking for a million dollar gift on a cold call would be absurd.

Best practices are rightly the bread and butter of the fundraising profession, but sometimes some jam or marmalade can add a nice touch.   

For example, just about every fundraiser can tell you that on any given day, there are about 86,000 registered charities in Canada and that their charitable purposes must be one of the following:

  • relief of poverty;
  • advancement of education;
  • advancement of religion,  or
  • certain other purposes beneficial to the community in a way the law regards as “charitable.”

What many people do not realize is that there are a number of "other qualified donees" who can issue official donation receipts and are eligible to receive gifts from registered charities. Here are a few examples:

  • The 120 national amateur sport-related bodies in the country, better known as Registered Canadian Amateur Athletic Associations (RCAAA). These include well-known examples such as Alpine Canada but also lesser know groups such as the Canadian Rope Skipping Federation Inc. and as of 2015, millennial favorite Quidditch Canada (Sadly it is “muggle” Quidditch without any flying!)
  • 3590 (98.5%) of the 3643 municipalities are considered a "listed Canadian municipality." This can be very important for donors and grantmakers when the municipality is providing programs (i.e. social services, arts) in the absence of charities.
  • It should also be noted that there are 238 entities who are "municipal or public bodies performing a function of government in Canada." Amongst these entities, 187 indigenous communities and groups have been granted qualified donee status since January 2012. The remainder of this category is made up of park authorities, select school boards and entities responsible for waterworks, improvement and protection services for remote districts.
  • 614 academic institutions around the world are also recognized as prescribed universities, mostly in the United States (499) and the United Kingdom (47), but also in a number of other countries (68), such as the University of Tartu in Estonia.
  • It is also possible to give to "Her Majesty in right of Canada or a province" (i.e. museum) or the United Nations and its agencies (28).
  • Lastly, there are only two "housing corporations resident in Canada constituted exclusively to provide low-cost housing for the aged" and only the Aga Khan Foundation (Switzerland) and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (USA) are entities  listed " as charitable organization outside Canada to which Her Majesty in right of Canada has made a gift."

You may not have all of the answers all of the time, but just being aware of the existence of such seemingly odd and unusual scenarios can showcase your knowledge depth and also help you serve your various stakeholders better.

Daniel Brunette has been a fundraiser for more than 15 years and currently serves as the chair of AFP’s Canadian Government Relations Committee and as immediate past-president of the AFP Ottawa Chapter. A serial volunteer and sector advocate, he currently works at the Community Foundation of Ottawa.



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