Meeting: July 22, 2016 Charitable Status, Fundraising & Advocacy

The following Mission Statement was adopted:

Who We Are:

  • A non-profit volunteer group supporting atypical & Autism Spectrum post-high school adults and their families.
  • Our goal is independence for our supported adults; therefore, our focus is on the following issues as key to achieving this goal:

Employment, Post-Secondary Education, Housing, Finances, and Life & Social Skills.

What We Offer:

  • Information dissemination pertaining to the above issues.
  • Emotional support for our individuals & families.
  • Alliances with funded service agencies, who may partner with us to host meetings or provide workshops on issues of common interest.
  • Advocacy to push for Government policy change.

Membership approved the appointed Board for one term only

            President:                               Joette Heuft

            Vice-President:                      Louvain Chalmers

            Secretary:                               Sue McIntyre

            Treasurer:                               Mahmoud Rezaee

            Board Member 1:                  Catherine Alcee

            Board Member 2:                  Fred Michael

Election of Board Member 3

            Board Member 3:                  Sam Guenther nominated and elected .

Subsequently, all Board Members are to be elected, in keeping with terms specified below:

We became a BC Non-profit Society May 30th 2016. Therefore, we designated May 30th as our year end, with elections and an Annual General Meeting to be held In June or July. Board Members terms are to be 2 years, with the election of Vice-President, Treasurer, and Board Member 2 to be held in June/July of 2017. The election of President, Secretary, and Board Members 1 & 3 to be held in June/July of 2018.

 

Business of Meeting was to review Charitable Status, Fundraising & Advocacy

Video:  http://sectorsource.ca/resource/video/what-charitable-status

Having Charitable status:

Pros:

  • Would enable us to issue tax receipts to donors
  • May legitimize us as an organization, thereby attracting donors who would not otherwise consider supporting us (seen as vetted by CRA).
  • Some funders (government agencies, foundations) are prohibited from donating/sponsoring organizations that do not have charitable status.
  • Income tax exemption.

Cons:

  • More admin: regular minutes, an AGM, Board, accounting of time and money spent on various activities.
  • More bookkeeping, showing income & expenditures, accounts sent to Minister. Form T3010 Registered Charity Information Return needs to be submitted; Registered Charities Official Receipts need to be issued for your donors to claim a Charitable Tax Credit.
  • All monies paid into separate accounts, and all accounts need to be open to inspection.
  • Neither fundraising nor advocacy are considered to be activities primary to the purposes of a Charity. Both are restricted to 10-20% of the Charity’s activity. All activities of all members would need to be documented to track time & resources dedicated to each of these activities.

http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/vdgllry/chrts-gvng/fndrsng-eng.html

CRA’s Rules for Advocacy for Charities

  • Charities can engage in political activities so long as they advance, but do not supersede its charitable purpose. As part of their general activities, charities can engage in public awareness campaigns, can communicate with an elected or public official, and can share the entire text of a communication with an elected or public official, as long as there is no specific call to action within it.
  • Political activities can comprise 10-20% of the Charity’s activities, so long as the activities are non-partisan, connected to, and subordinate to the charities purposes.
  • As part of their political activities a Charity can explicitly communicate a Call to Action to an elected or public official, urging them to retain, oppose, or change a law or policy or decision of any level of Govt, including a foreign country.
  • As part of their political activities a Charity can explicitly indicate in its materials, that the intention of its activity is to incite, to organize or to put pressure on any level of Govt, including a foreign country in order that law or policy or decision be retained, opposed, or changed.

Prohibited Political Activities for Charitable Organizations

  • Can promote a gov’t policy, but can’t directly or indirectly support a political party or candidate
  • Can provide information to its supporters or to the public on how officials voted, but can’t single out how any one official or party voted on any single issue.

Operating as a Non-profit:

Pros:

  • Political activities are less regulated.
  • Fundraising events are less regulated, in that they are not limited to a certain percentage of the overall activities, and they do not require specific receipting procedures.
  • Less record-keeping of activities for the purposes of conformity to primary purposes of the organization.

Cons:

  • Cannot issue tax receipts to donors.
  • Cannot claim tax exemption.
  • Cannot appeal to donors who require Charitable status.
  • If we appeal to other agencies, who have funding and Charitable status to assist us with funding our programs or activities, our agenda must align or over-lap theirs. (ie, we will not get funding from inclusive service providers for programs specific to people with Asperger’s).

How/why this matters to us:

I asked that we weigh the above against how we view our role as advocates, and how much and for what purposes we require funding.

Advocacy: We can form an Advocacy committee within SPS. We can select interested members of SPS to work on this issue with other interested groups, with us identifying issues relevant to us, and with our delegates reporting back to us (Catherine, Nicole, Bruce?).

Fundraising: I do not want to fundraise for programs that exist, that with good networking and alliances we can participate in. I am willing to fundraise for programs relevant to our supported individuals, which do not currently exist. I cannot see our fundraising needs being greater than $8000.00/per year. This amount would give us enough each year to run 2 programs, and pay honorariums and/or expenses to some speakers and/or volunteers/hosts for programs or activities (ie, volunteer chefs for cooking club).  For the upcoming Relationships & Dating workshop, the entire budget of $4000.00 is secured. (Sponsors are Spectrum Society, PosAbilities, Simon Fraser Society, Community Living Society, Family Support Institute, Burnaby Association for Community Inclusion, & Community Living BC). A modified PEERS workshop likely would have to be funded ourselves, as it was designed specifically for High-functioning Aspergers.

After some discussion the Members present voted in favour of Option 2:

  1. Apply for Charitable Status.
  2. Operate as a Non-Profit Society; Fred Michael to proceed with fundraising for Modified PEERS program to start March 2016.
  3. Additional information required. Table this vote until the September 22 meeting, with report from Fred Michael at that time.

Vote on above two options at that time.

Member Participation: 

How We Need Your Help:

  • Chat about us to everyone you know – hand out our card. (about to be revised)
  • Encourage your kids to become involved: social gathering, cooking club, relationship & sexuality workshop, PEERS workshop, or Website postings – New webpage is soon to be added to our Website. This will provide space for our members to submit thoughts, reviews, and creative work. Member needed to post these submissions.
  • Advocacy Team
  • Assist Fred with specific funding requests. We need funds for PEERS, and for honorariums for our Cooking Club chefs.
  • A Square Peg parent to be a follow up on Ready, Willing & Able’s progress with our individuals.

How you are Helping: (Thanks!)

  • Catherine is going to update Resources on Website. Meeting with Derik (BACI) August 24th.
  • Sue is going to do the food shopping and be the volunteer parent for the Cooking Club; I will do the booking.
  • Laya, Nima & Mahmoud will continue to host the social gatherings.

Fred will proceed with fundraising. I will help with appeals to service agencies.