Fundraising and Special Events
Fundraising is important in order to finance essential items, services, and programs. This is often accomplished through a special event. Often, special events are designed to draw people together with anticipation of a donation.
Most fundraising initiatives are undertaken by volunteers. Typically, a volunteer isn’t schooled in the area of fundraising. Unless one is mentored by a seasoned volunteer, some aspects of fundraising might be overlooked or innocent mistakes made.
The organization conducting the fundraising is responsible to secure licenses, permits, insurance, and adhere to any regulations. Assessing risk and protecting people is another aspect to consider.
One form of fundraising is to hold a casino. There are rules from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC) that stipulate how a charity can apply for a casino, conduct a casino, account for revenue, and use the gaming proceeds. Other types of gaming include BINGO, pull tickets, and raffles. Eligible charitable groups need a license to hold each gaming event.
If the organization plans to fundraise 25,000 or more dollars, then it must register under the Alberta Charitable Fundraising Act (ACFA). If the organization unexpectedly raises this amount, then it must register within 45 days (you do not need to register with ACFA if the money is raised from a casino, BINGO, pull tickets, or a raffle that is authorized by the AGLC).
Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) requires registered charities to keep detailed records of fundraising activities. Examples of records are minutes of meetings where fundraising decisions were made, use of non-financial inputs (e.g. volunteer hours), documentation of procurement process, and fundraising agreements.
Did you know that Alberta Health Services (AHS) is a critical component to hosting special events? Public health inspectors must approve conditions before public access. A special event that involves food and beverages requires multiple provisions, such as potable water, hand washing stations, power, waste water disposal, toilet facilities, site map, and more. Event notification forms must be submitted at least thirty days prior to the event.
A special event might necessitate contacting local emergency response, such as the RCMP or fire department. Perhaps, a permit is required from the municipality or Alberta Transportation (department of highways). Try to think of all possible parties who should be in the loop about the special event. Perhaps, speak with another organization with special event or fundraising experience, but ultimately get decisive information right from the authority.
Non-profit organizations require insurance and most commonly have Commercial General Liability insurance. It is the most basic form of commercial insurance available. Check with the insurance provider to ask if additional endorsements are required for the special event.
Fundraising is a part of a non-profit’s survival. Hosting a special event involves a lot of moving parts, but can raise a lot of money in a short amount of time. Understanding gaming and liquor legislation, Canada Revenue compliance, health, safety, and notifying local protective services is part of the learning curve but essential to risk management and due diligence.
Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission
Alberta Charitable and Fundraising Act
CRA and charitable fundraising
Alberta Health Services and Public Health Inspection
Town of Hinton Special Events Checklist