In CRA charities Newsletter 33 the Charities Directorate advises:

Receipts and good governance

Improper receipting can also occur when a donation receipt is issued with the unauthorized use of a charity’s registration number. It may be difficult to prevent an individual or another organization from either using your charity’s registration number to produce counterfeit receipts, or impersonating members of your charity in fraudulent fundraising campaigns. After all, a charity’s registration number is publicly available. However, there are steps a charity can take to minimize these risks.

The governing body (directors, trustees, or like officials) of a charity should develop a code of conduct and administration, and follow it at all times.

The following list of internal controls can be used by a charity to guard against the inappropriate or unauthorized use of its official donation receipts. This is a general list of best practices, and is not a statement of a charity’s legal requirements or of CRA policy:

  • Provide training on receiving gifts and issuing donation receipts to your charity’s directors, officers, staff, and volunteers involved in these activities.
  • Limit the number of individuals authorized to issue receipts on your charity’s behalf.
  • Carefully monitor the delegation of receipting authority to outside individuals, organizations, and fundraising agencies.
  • Regularly review the delegation for receipting authority.
  • Assign the responsibility for issuing receipts and for banking duties (for example—deposits, signing authority) to different individuals.
  • Keep serial numbers in sequential order to help track your receipts.
  • Keep receipt books and copies of receipts in a safe and secure place.
  • Make sure that any receipt books given to people collecting donations are returned, and make sure you can account for the receipts that have been issued.
  • If you discover lost or stolen receipts, notify the Charities Directorate.
  • Restrict access to computerized receipting software.
  • Ensure that receipting software is tamper-proof and that computer-generated receipts cannot be altered.
  • Establish a donation policy and/or receipting guidelines for your charity’s donors, directors, officers, staff, and volunteers.
  • Tell your donors about the fundraising campaigns that you will be conducting, and how you normally solicit funds, so they might realize when they’re being approached by an impostor.
  • Give contact information (such as a telephone number) on your charity’s Web site so that prospective donors can call to confirm the legitimacy of a solicitation.
  • Alert the authorities if your charity becomes aware of persons posing as fundraisers using your charity’s name without consent or if unauthorized receipts are being issued in your charity’s name.
  • Get an appraisal from a professional for all non-cash gifts with a possible fair market value higher than $1000 before issuing a donation receipt.
  • Good governance also involves the maintenance of books and records. Keeping adequate books and records is essential to the financial administration of a charity and beneficial for donors. Also, keeping books and records is required in order to maintain registered status. Failure to keep adequate books and records is a serious breach of the requirements of the Act and is grounds for revocation. Adequate books and records allow the CRA to verify donations made to a charity and to ensure proper use of charitable resources. Inadequate books and records can range from minor oversights on the part of a charity, to very serious infractions, including records that are deliberately altered, destroyed, hidden, or not collected in order to conceal non-compliance. For more information, see Books and records.