Charity Accountability Movement Well on its Way



    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - More than 100 charities from coast to coast have
signed on in the first phase of a newly re-launched donor assurance program.
Imagine Canada has just approved the first roster of new Ethical Code
participants.
    The Ethical Fundraising and Financial Accountability Code (The Ethical
Code) is a self-regulatory initiative that sets a framework for best practice
in fundraising and financial reporting.
    In 2007 standards in the Ethical Code were revised to reflect more
accurately how charities raise funds and report on them to their supporters.
New standards were added to address developments such as online giving and the
need for enhanced security with respect to door-to-door canvassing. At the
same time, compliance measures were enhanced in response to donor calls for
greater transparency and accountability.
    In January of this year the revised program was launched to the
charitable sector. According to Imagine Canada, a national charity itself and
the lead organization behind the Ethical Code, response has surpassed
expectations. "We are really encouraged by the level of commitment we're
seeing. Charities are not just signing on the dotted line. They're undergoing
pretty rigorous processes to make sure their commitment has legs," said
Don McCreesh, Chair, Board of Directors, Imagine Canada.
    Preliminary uptake from the sector is strong with the current list
representing 120 charities both large and small Canada-wide and an estimated
$1 billion in fundraising revenue. With many other charities in the process of
reaching compliance, Imagine Canada is projecting continued growth over the
coming months and is inviting participating charities to join them in
promoting the Ethical Code to their colleagues in the charitable sector.
    "We're building an accountability movement. Canada's charities recognize
the importance of self-regulation and the Code tells their donors that they
can be trusted," says McCreesh.
    Participating charities are clearly seeing the value of being part of
something bigger than themselves. Carolyn Tuckwell, President and CEO of Boys
& Girls Clubs of Greater Vancouver, references the benefits to her
organization:
    "As a small to mid-sized charity, we don't always have the ability to
demonstrate all of our expertise. Being part of this larger group of charities
helps us advance our practices and take advantage of the current best
practices in the sector."
    Donors can feel confident that Ethical Code participants can be trusted
to steward their contributions responsibly. The Code itself will evolve on an
ongoing basis to remain in step with current practices in fundraising and
financial management. Complaints will be reviewed by a volunteer committee of
finance and fundraising experts and all charities are required to submit an
annual report. As well, the Ethical Code works in tandem with other standards
initiatives such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals' Code of
Ethics for individual fundraisers.
    The Ethical Code is generously supported by: Great-West Life, London Life
and Canada Life.




For further information:

For further information: Marnie Grona, Senior Manager, Marketing &
Communications, 1-800-263-1178 or (416) 597-2293, extension 244

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Imagine Canada

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