How the CRA is Unleashing the Power of Big Money into the Charity Sector as it Plows Ahead on Deregulation

The Department of Finance Canada is about to lift regulations that allowed charities to spend only 10% of their revenue on political activities. “Some charities have argued that the rules on political activities are confusing, overly restrictive and hard to apply in practice while denying charities the ability to participate fully in public policy development,” a […]

Violence against women: A charity case?

My entry point into the charity sector came by way of working at a shelter for assaulted women and children—Interval House, the first shelter for abused women in North America— where I spent eight years at a counsellor. We didn’t call it charity work at the time. To tell the truth, the last thing we […]

Your 12-Step Guide to Addressing Charity Challenges

The Canadian Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector heard presentations this week. A lot was put forward, a significant amount of that having to do with fundraising, less so on how charities can have a more lasting impact. I don’t mind admitting that I wasn’t invited to appear and I confess to not knowing […]

The Role of Ultra-Wealthy Charities in the Growing Gap Between Rich and Poor

“To him that hath, more shall be given; and from him that hath not, the little that he hath shall be taken away.” (Percy Bysshe Shelley) I come bearing poetry. I come bearing facts. In this case the breaking news does require some imagination. The rich are getting richer. By a lot. In July the […]

The 5 Myths of Charities and Political Activities

The July 16, 2018 decision of the Ontario Superior Court in the case of Canada Without Poverty vs. the Attorney General of Canada ruled that charitable donations were a free speech issue and that limiting the amount of money a charity can spend on political activity curtails freedom of speech. Unfortunately, opening the door to unlimited […]

How an Ontario Superior Court Decision Has Remade the Charity Sector, Failed Vulnerable Canadians and Why Some People Are Cheering?

On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a controversial 5 – 4 decision on the case of Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission. The decision stated that “political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from […]

Charities’ fading moral high ground

I On April 15th, I was part of a panel at the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) international conference in New Orleans. Thirty-five hundred delegates—mostly fundraisers— attended the conference from around the world. The question to our panel was Are charities losing the moral high ground? On April 23rd, the Globe and Mail filled in […]

Will Charities Face a Day of Reckoning?

I A story about widespread sexual misconduct broke in the U.K. last week. This time it involved Oxfam, one of the world’s most respected international aid charities. According to The Guardian, the Charities Commission, the U.K. government’s charity watch dog, has asked for “an urgent clarification from Oxfam after allegations that the charity covered up […]

Trying to Live Life on Yellow Alert

“Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt.” Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau addressing the Press Club in Washington, D.C. (25 March 1969) on the matter of living […]

It’s Hard To Feel Sorry For A Neighbour Who Keeps Setting His Own House On Fire

The eyes of American lawmakers gazed miserably out from our screens yesterday as television networks provided wall-to-wall news coverage of another mass shooting. Fifty-nine dead and 527 injured this time, the largest body count ever. The response to the carnage? “Heroism,” according to news hosts from Anderson Cooper to Rachel Maddow. “It is tragedies like […]