Q: What do Google and the CRA Charities Directorate have in common?

publication date: Oct 2, 2012
author/source: Yvonne Chenier
A: They both have "Quick View."

Yvonne Chenier photoIn the case of Google, Quick View is a snapshot of actual pages that could be downloaded.  In the case of the Canada Revenue Agency Charities Directorate it is a filtered and one might say distorted view of pages they have on file.   It is a view (in full colour pie chart form ) of what CRA considers  someone looking for information about a charity would be most interested in; i.e., how and where it gets its revenue, how it spends it and how much is going to the big salaries and consulting fees.    

So now with the CRA, just like with Google, there is no need to download and analyse a full document when looking for information.  A picture has already been taken (or painted in the case of the CRA) for you. Check it out by searching your favourite charities at http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/chrts-gvng/lstngs/menu-eng.html  and clicking on the T3010 link for recent returns filed.  This will make comparing charities very interesting for sure.  The media will no doubt have a field day. 

Listen to your mother 

So charities, be warned.  As many mothers would say, don't do anything that you don't want to see on the front page of the national newspaper.  This applies to charities that have no choice but to place their information on a public website for all to manipulate.  Remember the "garbage in garbage out" theory. In this case, all charities should go on line now and view the Quick View of their information that is being presented. 

Is your Quick View accurate? Check the following: Is the information on Quick View an accurate reflection of the charity's revenue sources and expenditure categories? 

If it is not, then review the relevant T3010 forms that have been signed by someone in the organization and submitted to the Charities Directorate, as that is where the information comes from.  

If the information submitted is not correct, then charities can ask the CRA to correct errors in a previously submitted T3010 return by completing form T1240, Registered Charity Adjustment.

Take steps to ensure that all future T3010 forms that are submitted are put through your own Quick View filter before they are sent in.  

Keep all information sites consistent 

In other words, someone should look at the public display of information very carefully! An overall caution is to make sure that all sources of information about a charity should be accurate and consistent.  Whether it is on Quick View, a charity`s own website, a printed annual report or a blog, twitter, Facebook  or any new social media place yet to be invented, the information should be the same.     

Yvonne Chenier prefers to work for clients in the philanthropic and aboriginal sectors, acting as general legal counsel and advising on planning, organizational, regulatory and governance matters. She has served as a trustee, board member or founder of numerous organizations. She is actively involved in her professional associations and speaks frequently to various groups on topics ranging from legal to financial matters. Contact her at ychenier@drache.ca; www.drache.ca

Like this article?  Join our mailing list for more great information!

Copyright © 2011-Current, The Hilborn Group Ltd. All rights reserved.

Free Fundraising Newsletter
Join Our Mailing List