Charities Directorate fills service gaps for small and rural charities

publication date: Oct 24, 2012
author/source: Janet Gadeski
Better training for its client service agents tops the list of improvements that the Charities Directorate of Canada Revenue Agency has implemented in response to feedback received during a national consultation initiative in 2008.

A review of its progress report here turns up some surprising conclusions about what had been lacking. When an agency notes that its agents have developed and adopted a client service manual, that they have all been trained to give consistent answers to the most common questions, and that it has designated some agents to answer complex questions and give their direct contact information so that clients can continue to reach them - all that suggests that such measures may not have been fully addressed in the past. 

Filling such gaps is a major project with huge benefit not just to charities, but also for Charities Directorate agents, who presumably want to satisfy their callers. 

Other measures reflect greater understanding of the working conditions for small and rural charities. If a charity's authorized representative does not respond to a compliance letter, for example, the directorate now sends a copy to the president. The annual reporting paperwork has been simplified for charities with revenue under $100,000, A long list of new online resources addresses common reporting mistakes, presents acceptable formats for financial statements and tax receipts, and helps volunteer officers understand their responsibilities. 

The Directorate has also organized webinars on compliance topics across Canada and placed them in an online archive for continued access. 

For these resources and others from the Charities Directorate, visit its webpage Progress status of the joint action plan.

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