publication date: Dec 8, 2011
author/source: Janet Gadeski
found a way for all charities to present the full story behind the numbers that
reporters and self-appointed watchdogs so often emphasize. The organization's National Summit
in Ottawa offered the
right moment to announce its new opus, Charity
by lawmakers, our neighbours and media
Imagine Canada CEO Marcel Lauzière
said he was stunned by the unawareness he
encountered when sector advocates tried to educate MPs and some media on the
issues around Bill C-470, which in its original form would have capped charity
Some MPs didn't realize that charities had staff at all, let
alone highly trained and competent staff. Personnel at the Summit swapped
similar stories - a bank manager telling them they needed a salary to qualify
for a mortgage, relatives asking when they were going to get paying jobs.
And everyone agreed that they have allowed media and
self-appointed evaluators to define and describe them, rather than speaking out
with pride and passion about their impact.
spotlights all Canadian charities
Imagine Canada expects to launch Charity Focus in January.
It's a welcome contrast to stories and information services that focus on
financial ratios, select very few of Canada's 85,000 charities for analysis,
and restrict input from the charities themselves.
The site will transform the dry data from the Canada Revenue Agency
's T-3010 forms into
graphs and other easily understood visuals. But every charity will be able to
add its choice of additional material such as annual reports, program
information, fundraising policies, videos and links to social media platforms.
"It's one response to what we've been hearing from MPs and the media about lack of
transparency in the sector," Lauzière
With this module alone, Charity Focus has the potential to
be an inclusive, fair and comprehensive site that helps donors and media
understand the complex issues charities address.
Getting the data
Many charities will welcome the new site's T-3010 prep tool that
allows them to check for mistakes and inconsistencies before reporting to the
CRA. Sophisticated and secure, it allows charities to save their working calculations
and print the final version for submission. Links to Imagine Canada's Charity Tax Tools
plain-language help for personnel struggling to understand the T-3010's
Lauzière hopes it will help reduce the error rate on T-3010s
- a rate that has stayed stubbornly high despite CRA's own efforts to simplify
both the form and its documentation.
Helping you help
have a "Donate Now" button on every charity's page. That will make it easy for
donors who like what they find to give right away. It's clear to me that Charity
Focus is potentially Canada's leading charity information site for donors,
policymakers - even for members of the media.
But it won't achieve that status through Imagine Canada's
efforts alone. Start thinking now about the kind of information and rich media
you'll upload to your page when the site goes live.
And spread the word that Charity Focus will be there for
you, and for every Canadian who's honestly curious about Canada's charities.
For more information, contact Imagine Canada at
416-597-2293, ext. 301; 1-800-263-1176, ext. 301; or firstname.lastname@example.org.