The Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee in its publication Charitable Fundraising: Tips for Directors and Trustees sets out a number factors for charities to consider before signing a fundraising contract.  If the fundraising contract is potentially large or you are uncertain about legal requirements relating to fundraising it may be best to retain a charity lawyer that is knowledgeable about legal requirements for Canadian charities.

Appendix A: Factors to Consider Before Signing a Fundraising Contract

Has the fundraiser provided references from other charities for which similar campaigns have been conducted?  Were those charities satisfied with the results that were achieved?

Are the fees and charges reasonable?  If potential donors were aware of the fees and charges associated with a donation, would they still make the donation?

Does the fundraiser subscribe to a code of ethics?

Are the terms of the contract clear and well understood?

Are acceptable fundraising methods specified in the contract? Are the fundraising methods consistent with the written fundraising plan?

Will the fundraising campaign generate sufficient revenue to allow the charity to engage in activities related to its charitable purpose?

Are canvassers required to provide accurate information to potential donors about the proportion of the donation that will be used for charitable purposes?

Are canvassers required to identify themselves as commercial fundraisers? Are they prohibited from representing themselves as employees or volunteers of the charity?

Will fundraisers provide donors with receipts? Is the fundraiser required to keep receipt books secure and safe? If the charity is not registered under the Income Tax Act, will canvassers make this fact clear to donors?

Will the donor list remain the exclusive property of the charity?

Will the donation bank account remain under the sole control of the charity?

How will fees and charges be calculated? If there is a disagreement, how will it be resolved?

Will the fundraiser provide a full accounting for expenses and funds received? Will the fundraiser provide periodic accountings to enable the charity to monitor the performance of the campaign? Will receipts and vouchers be provided to document all disbursements?

When does the contract terminate? Are there any penalties for terminating the contract early if the charity is not satisfied with the services that are provided?

See the PGT website for further information: http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/family/pgt/charbullet/bulletin-8.asp