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Abridged Version: Imagine Canada Ethical Fundraising and Financial Accountability Code

Donor policies and public representations

  • The charity will issue receipts per Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA) regulations and will, in writing, acknowledge non-receiptable gifts per Board policy.
  • All fundraising solicitations (printed or online) shall disclose the charity’s name and purpose for which funds are requested.
  • Upon request, the charity shall provide:
    • Annual Report and financial statements
    • CRA registration number
    • Public portion of the CRA T3010A information return
    • Investment policy
    • Names of members of governing board of directors
    • A copy of this Ethical Code.
  • The charity or those fundraising on its behalf will disclose, upon request, whether an individual or entity soliciting contributions is a volunteer, an employee or a contracted third party.
  • Donors will be encouraged to seek independent advice if the gift is a Planned Gift or might significantly affect the donor’s financial position, taxable income, or relationship with family members.
  • The charity will honour donors' requests to remain anonymous
  • The privacy of donors will be respected and records will be kept confidential. Donors have the right to see their own donor record.
  • A donor’s request to be excluded from a fundraising list will be honoured.
  • Charities will treat donors with respect. Requests to limit or discontinue solicitations will be honoured.
  • Recognition mechanisms created due to a gift will not be arbitrarily changed or withdrawn.
  • The charity will respond promptly to a complaint by a donor or prospective donor about any matter that is addressed in this Ethical Fundraising and Financial Accountability Code.

Fundraising Practices

  • Fundraising solicitations will be truthful and accurately describe intended use of funds.
  • The charity will not make claims that cannot be upheld, make misleading representations, nor exploit or be insensitive to beneficiaries.
  • Charities will comply with the Canadian Code of Practice for Consumer Protection in Electronic Commerce.
  • When making face-to-face solicitations, the solicitor will provide verification of their affiliation with the charity and will secure and safeguard any confidential information.
  • Volunteers, employees and third party consultants/solicitors who solicit or receive funds on behalf of the charity shall:
    • adhere to the provisions of this Code
    • act with fairness and integrity
    • adhere to the provisions of applicable professional codes of ethics and standards of practice
    • cease solicitation of a donor at the donor’s request
    • disclose any conflicts of interest or loyalty to the charity
    • not accept donations for purposes that are inconsistent with the charity’s objects or mission
  • The charity will provide, upon request, its best available information on revenues, costs and proceeds of any fundraising activity.
  • Paid staff or consultants will not be paid commissions based on the value of funds raised.
  • When undertaking cause-related marketing, charities should disclose how the charity benefits from the sale of products or services.
  • The charity shall not sell its donor list. If lists are rented, exchanged or shared, the lists will exclude the names of donors who have so requested.
  • The charity’s board of directors will be informed at least annually of key data summarizing complaints received about matters addressed in this Code.

Financial practice and transparency

  • The charity's financial affairs will be conducted in a responsible manner.
  • All donations will be used to support the charity's objects, as registered with CRA.
  • All restricted or designated donations will be used for the purposes for which they were given.
  • Charities should produce annual financial reports that are factual and accurate and disclose information that is useful to the donor.
  • The cost-effectiveness of fundraising programs will be reviewed regularly and no more than necessary will be spent on administration and fundraising.
  • The charity will, upon request, disclose the revenue and expense assumptions for its fundraising activity as approved by its Board in its annual budget.
  • Financial statements will be audited by an independent public accountant.
  • The charity shall have an investment policy.
  • The charity shall have a Gift Acceptance Policy for the receipt of gifts-in-kind.

For more information, please read:

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Charity Information Returns 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Investment Policy and Process (PDF, 76 KB)

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Complaints Procedure 

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Board of Directors

For further information regarding the Imagine Canada Ethical Code or for a full version of the Code please visit