“Charity finances: trustee essentials” - great information on financial management of a charity

March 19, 2017 | By: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) Mark Blumberg
Topics: Canadian Charity Law

The Charity Commission has recently updated  their guidance "Charity finances: trustee essentials".  It provides helpful information on finances that Canadian directors and trustees, as well as staff, should be aware of.  Keep in mind that on certain points the law in Canada is different than in England and Wales.  Unfortunately the CRA provides far less guidance on financial management and governance to the charity sector than I would like.  

Here is the introduction:

Introduction

Good management of a charity’s finances and other assets enables it to succeed in delivering its charitable aims.

To achieve this, trustees must properly supervise their resources and satisfy themselves that they have:

  • realistic funding plans and strategies
  • effective management controls and systems
  • planned for their charity’s assets and resources to be used in the best possible way for their beneficiaries

Getting this right can be very rewarding. It shows the valuable and visible results of a trustee’s commitment to their charity, beneficiaries and supporters. The Commission recognises the commitment that this requires of trustees, and the challenges they can face in serving their charities well. Trustees can delegate tasks to suitably qualified staff and/or volunteers but, whatever the arrangements, proper oversight and monitoring are vital.

Charities vary greatly in size, scale and how they operate and so trustees must decide what is reasonable, proportionate and appropriate for their charity. While common legal duties apply to all charities, how trustees interpret good practice will depend on individual circumstances.

As the charity regulator, the Commission expects trustees to take their responsibilities seriously. Trustees are not expected to be perfect - they are expected to do their best to comply with their duties. The Commission recognises that most trustees are volunteers who sometimes make honest mistakes: where they have acted honestly and reasonably, they are generally protected under the law.

Another useful resource is Building Capacity Through Financial Management: A practical guide 

Do you require legal advice with respect to Canadian or Ontario non-profits or charities?

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Charity Lawyer Mark Blumberg

Mark Blumberg is a partner at the law firm of Blumberg Segal LLP in Toronto and works almost exclusively in the areas of non-profit and charity law.

mark@blumbergs.ca
416.361.1982
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