Fundraising & Grant Information
Where to start:
Incorporate a Society:
The primary goal for any department or association wanting to obtain funds through grants or donations is to incorporate as a not for profit society with the Province of Alberta. Incorporation ensures that the Society abides by it's bylaws and is open and transparent with its funds. It ensures that fundraising and proceeds are used for 'charitable' purposes and also ensures that the proceeds are directed towards the Societies objectives.
What is required:
- Goals and objectives that meet charitable or not for profit status
- Society Name
- NUANS Report (name search and reservation)
- Completed forrms (address, registration, & bylaws)
- 5 Members & signatures
- Registration fee
Optional activities: (as a Society)
Obtain a Charitable Gaming License (AGLC):
Registered not for profit Societies can apply for a charitable gaming license. Through a process managed by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission (AGLC), Societies can perform various charitable gaming activities such as:
- Casinos (several volunteers work a 2 day casino at a local registered casino)
- *Note: For a casino license you must have record of activity for at least 2 years.
- Pull Ticket (a type of raffle)
- Raffle (such as 50/50, prize draw, etc)
- Bingo (several volunteers work a bingo at a local bingo establishment)
Funds obtained from casinos vary depending on the area that your organization qualifies for. Fire Departments and similar organizations who deliver service to a local area typically qualify for the casino pooling for their local area.
Casinos are generally the main source of revenue for many Societies and similar organizations. The other 3 various types of charitable gaming generally are area and event specific and the amount of work vary depending on the prize and audience.
Apply for Charitable status with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA):
Operating a volunteer fire department is considered a charitable activity by the CRA. Registering as a charity has several two fold benefits:
- Establishing strict guidelines for the use of charitable funds (Society funds)
- Ensuring accounting documentation is maintained
- Ensures a high level of scrutiny to ensure the reputability of charities
- Ensures transparency with Society accounting
The benefits of being a registered charity result in:
- Increased incentive for potential sponsors/donors to donate or assist
- Ability to provide tax receipts for donations to the Society
- Increased reputability as an organization
Word of Caution: CRA Registration is a time consuming process that requires
Fundraising by departments, for the needs of the department, may be a controversial topic in some areas. Often times the service that is provided by the department may not be fully funded or lacks funding. This only hinders the department's service to the community and can severely affect the departments image, recruitment/retention, and at times, the safety of the department members.
The controversy surrounds the theoretical idea that a department who is organized or run by the municipality, should be fully funded by the municipality.
Departments and municipalities who have established excellent funding models should be applauded for their efforts in promoting the requirements of a fire department to ensure that the citizens are afforded the highest levels of service and that firefighter safety is paramount.
It is of the opinion of Alberta Fire Aid that while it would be desirable for all departments to be fully funded by the municipalities they serve, the reality remains that a significant amount of municipalities and departments are unable to obtain or set funding to adequately meet the needs of the fire service.
Until a provincial funding model is established, departments need to to ensure that they offer the highest levels of service available. This means that, similarly to various hospital or health related fundraising, that it will also remain a significant aspect of many departments or years to come.