Today we are launching a new course of restricted gifts for Canadian charities: “Restricted Gifts – Managing the Opportunities and Dangers of Restricted Charitable Gifts“.   For every course, I need to have a picture and for this one, I picked a horse.  Why a horse you might ask?   Is it because one of my staff people loves horses.  Perhaps.   But truthfully it is because there are two different extremes when it comes to thinking about a gift to a charity.  One can be summarized as “don’t look a gift horse in the mouth” – the donor is wonderfully generous, whatever they want we should give them, we should not ask too many questions and we should not seem in any way to be ungrateful.  On the other hand, is the image of the trojan horse – literally a donor through a “generous” gift causing tremendous problems for a charity.  Whether it is because the donor has a sketchy reputation, the donor is a very controlling personality and wants to continue controlling the funds or the donor has very specific ideas about how the funds should be spent which are at odds with those within the charity or may even seem like a great idea today but in a year or two perhaps not so much.  In the age of COVID-19 we see how tens of billions of dollars are inaccessible to help – often because of poorly thought through restricted gifts.

Most gifts to Canadian charities are unrestricted.   However, every charity will have to deal with restricted gifts and if the process is not dealt with carefully, it can create huge problems for the charity and can diminish tremendously the effectiveness and impact of the donation. So this is an issue for both donors and the charity to worry about.

Fixing a poorly crafted restricted gift can be in some cases be anywhere from difficult to impossible.    It is much better to properly deal with restricted gifts – it is good for the charity, for legitimate donors and also beneficiaries.

Here is a description of the course:

Restricted Gifts – Managing the Opportunities and Dangers of Restricted Charitable Gifts

Restricted gifts are common and can in certain circumstances undermine the operations of the charity and the precious resources donated by philanthropists.

In a highly competitive charitable fundraising environment, it is important that Canadian charities have a plan to deal with restricted gifts. Gifts may be restricted as to their purposes (e.g. Scholarships) and to the timing of their expenditure (e.g. Long-term endowments). In this course we will look at:

  • Defining restricted gifts – legal and practical definitions
  • The strategic decision as to whether and how to accept restricted gifts
  • The regulatory framework for restricted gifts
  • Structuring donor and funding agreements
  • Applying new rules on existing endowment funds
  • The dangers of restricted funds and how they can perpetually haunt you.
  • Suggestions for avoiding problems with restricted gifts and some case studies on restricted gifts

This course will be of interest to charities including their board members, fundraising staff and financial management personnel. It will also be helpful to philanthropists and their advisors considering how to have maximum impact with their gifts and avoid major mistakes with gifts.

Find out more about the course.