Top Takeaways for Fundraisers from the Special Senate Committee Report
On June 20, 2019, the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector released its report Catalyst for Change: A Roadmap to a Stronger Charitable Sector. Within the report’s 190 pages, the committee outlined 42 recommendations for the federal government to implement with the intention of strengthening the nonprofit sector. The report was the culmination of 18 months of public hearings and written briefs. More than 150 witnesses, including several AFP members, appeared before the Committee, and over 90 individuals and organizations submitted briefs.
Many fundraisers have asked what the report’s recommendations mean for them. AFP has put together the top takeaways from the report with the potential to have a huge impact on the fundraising profession.
- Ensure financial security for fundraisers into retirement.
Recommendation 5 (p. 36) That the Government of Canada, through the Minister of Finance and federal-provincial-territorial meetings of Ministers of Finance, support the development of pensions for the charitable and non-profit sectors that are portable across provincial and territorial jurisdictions.
Many nonprofits and charities are unable to offer their employees pensions and other retirement benefits–or if they do, they are not very significant, especially at smaller organizations. However, as more and more employees consider total compensation rather than just salary, the lack of these programs contributes to turnover both in the fundraising profession and overall nonprofit sector. Recommendation 5 and other similar proposals would help small and medium charities attract and retain top fundraising talent.
- Unlock more giving by incentivizing gifts of private shares and real estate.
Recommendation 34 (p. 108) That the Government of Canada, through the Canada Revenue Agency, develop, implement and evaluate a pilot project on the impact on the charitable sector of exempting donations of private shares from capital gains tax.
Recommendation 35 (p. 108) That the Government of Canada, through the Canada Revenue Agency, study the extent to which the donation of non-environmental real estate could be incentivized without undermining the Ecological Gifts Program.
In 2006, changes to tax law eliminating capital gains on gifts of public securities to charities fundamentally changed giving and substantially incentivized donors to make major gifts of public securities. Making similar changes to incentivize gifts of private securities and real estate also has the potential to increase giving, particularly in urban areas where land and property values have increased dramatically in recent years.
The recommendations in the Senate report can significantly change the nonprofit sector for the better. Though these recommendations are just suggestions for now, moving forward any of the 42 ideas would demonstrate a serious commitment by the federal government to a sector that in 2017 contributed 8.5 percent of Canada’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), equivalent to $169.2 billion, and employed 2.4 million Canadians.
AFP Canada has prioritized the report’s 42 recommendations and will continue to work with our sector partners–Imagine Canada and CAGP, for example–to ensure these recommendations become reality for the benefit of all fundraisers, charities and Canadian society as a whole.
If you are interested in learning more about AFP Canada’s advocacy efforts, visit our Impact & Advocacy webpage.
Jessica Wroblewski, MPNL, CFRE, is the associate director, annual giving at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont., and the chair of the AFP Canadian Government Relations Committee. Andrea Wright is executive director of the Vancouver Police Foundation in Vancouver, B.C.