Donor Bill of Rights

Philanthropy is based on voluntary action for the common good. It is a tradition of giving and sharing that is primary to the quality of life. To ensure that philanthropy merits the respect and trust of the general public, and that donors and prospective donors can have full confidence in the nonprofit organizations and causes they are asked to support, we declare that all donors have these rights:

I. To be informed of the organization's mission, of the way the organization intends to use donated resources, and of its capacity to use donations effectively for their intended purposes. 

II. To be informed of the identity of those serving on the organization's governing board, and to expect the board to exercise prudent judgement in its stewardship responsibilities. 

III. To have access to the organization's most recent financial statements.

IV. To be assured their gifts will be used for the purposes for which they were given. 

V. To receive appropriate acknowledgement and recognition. 

VI. To be assured that information about their donation is handled with respect and with confidentiality to the extent provided by law. 

VII. To expect that all relationships with individuals representing organizations of interest to the donor will be professional in nature. 

VIII. To be informed whether those seeking donations are volunteers, employees of the organization or hired solicitors. 

IX. To have the opportunity for their names to be deleted from mailing lists that an organization may intend to share. 

X. To feel free to ask questions when making a donation and to receive prompt, truthful and forthright answers. 


Donor information has privacy protection rights

Donors also have rights to privacy. Here are your rights about the use of personal information used for fundraising. A friend of Ci shared this information from Canada's privacy commission with us. Donor rights are clearly being abused by fundraising. Until action is taken, sadly donors are on their own.

Your privacy rights fall under two acts, FIPPA, the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act (FIPPA) and Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). 

For universities and health charities to use your personal information for fundraising

(2) In order for an educational institution to use personal information in its alumni records or for a hospital to use personal information in its records, either for its own fundraising activities or for the fundraising activities of an associated foundation, the educational institution or hospital shall,

(a) give notice to the individual to whom the personal information relates when the individual is first contacted for the purpose of soliciting funds for fundraising of his or her right to request that the information cease to be used for fundraising purposes;

(b) periodically and in the course of soliciting funds for fundraising, give notice to the individual to whom the personal information relates of his or her right to request that the information cease to be used for fundraising purposes; and

(c) periodically and in a manner that is likely to come to the attention of individuals who may be solicited for fundraising, publish a notice of the individual’s right to request that the individual’s personal information cease to be used for fundraising purposes.  2005, c. 28, Sched. F, s. 5 (2); 2010, c. 25, s. 24 (10).

Check your fundraising mail. Have you received notice that you have the right to request that your personal information not be used? 

Have you received notice of your right to have the fundraising information cease?


PHIPA: Personal Health Information Protection Act


32 (1) Subject to subsection (2), a health information custodian may collect, use or disclose personal health information about an individual for the purpose of fundraising activities ONLY where,

(a) the individual expressly consents; or

(b) the individual consents by way of an implied consent and the information consists only of the individual’s name and the prescribed types of contact information.  2004, c. 3, Sched. A, s. 32 (1); 2007, c. 10, Sched. H, s. 9.

Requirements and restrictions

(2) The manner in which consent is obtained under subsection (1) and the resulting collection, use or disclosure of personal health information for the purpose of fundraising activities shall comply with the requirements and restrictions that are prescribed, if any.  2004, c. 3, Sched. A, s. 32 (2).


How to report donor breaches of data privacy:

Please let us know about any breach of privacy.  As charities are federally regulated, please also report your concerns to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada here.

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Charity Intelligence researches Canadian charities for donors to be informed and give intelligently. Our website posts free reports on more than 800 Canadian charities, as well as in-depth primers on philanthropic sectors like Canada’s environment, cancer, and homelessness. Today over 500,000 Canadians use our website as a go-to source for information on Canadian charities reading over 1.6 million charity reports. Through rigorous and independent research, Charity Intelligence aims to assist Canada’s dynamic charitable sector in being more transparent, accountable and focused on results.


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