Registering the Non-Profit Organization

Registration with Revenue Canada

In the case of a non-profit organization, 'registration' refers specifically to registration with Revenue Canada for income tax exemption. If your organization has no need for tax-exempt status, if it will not be accepting gifts and issuing official receipts for income tax purposes, then your organization does not need to register.

Qualifying for Registration

If your organization does need to register with Revenue Canada, first you will need to demonstrate that your organization truly qualifies as a non-profit. There are two principle factors that disqualify your organization for registration.

1. The income of the organization may not personally benefit any proprietor, member, shareholder, trustee or settlor of the organization. This does not prevent the organization from paying for services rendered.

2. Your organization may not espouse, promote, support or seek to achieve any political agenda, party, purpose or doctrine, nor may your organization seek to persuade the public to adopt a particular social view or attempt to bring about or oppose changes in the law or government policy.

Advantages of Registration

There are two basic advantages to being a registered non-profit organization. First, the organization will be able to issue receipts for gifts received. These receipts reduce the tax payable for the individual donor, or, in the case of a corporation, reduce the taxable income. The second benefit is that, upon registration, the organization is exempt from paying income tax.

Obligations of a Registered Charity

Of course, along with the benefits, there are requirements that a non-profit organization must meet in order to maintain its registration. First, the organization must donate its resources to charity. Second, it must continue to meet the requirements that qualified it in the first place. Third, a Registered Charity Information Return must be filed within six months of each year-end.

Starting up a non-profit organization is the same as starting up a new business. The key to success is a solid idea and a well thought out long-term plan; this is also the key to getting grants. The first thing you need to do is write up a business plan that answers the following questions: Do people need this new organization? Are there people who will support you? Where will you get the funding necessary to operate? Why are you the right person/people to do this project?

Remember that Bow Valley Credit Union is here to provide the advice you need and to help your non-profit grow from a start-up to a self-sufficient operation. Reach out to one of our Account Managers who will help you open an account and get on track to meeting your organizations' goals.

Getting Grants

There are two major types of grants available to a non-profit organization. They are government grants and foundation grants, and the amount of money they contribute varies. Foundation grants, for example, contribute less than 10% of all non-profit revenue. Grants can be a big help in starting, and continuing, a non-profit organization, however they are not to be viewed as a major means of support.

It starts with an excellent business plan, apply for the grant money you need to start the organization, and now the hard work begins. It's important to have an up to date budget at least once a year. This will ensure your board of directors are engaged and up to speed in the finances of your organization, and it's essential to maintaining and improving future operations in a timely manner. Most importantly, if you're applying for continuing grants, organizational budgets are a necessity. The people giving you the grants need to see that you are using the money to achieve what you set out to do.

Remember that Bow Valley Credit Union is here to provide the advice you need and offer various accounts to suit your organizations needs. Depending on your daily transactions and cash flow, we will help to find a suitable account to help your non-profit grow from a start-up to a self-sufficient operation. Reach out to one of our Account Managers who will help you get on track to meeting your goal.

Other Resources

There are many resources available to someone starting a non-profit organization.  The internet is an invaluable resource. The Government of Canada webpage has many resources and helpful information available to begin your search.

The internet is an invaluable resource to any non-profit organization. You can find out about consumer trends and get up to date market analyses, which will be able to help you plan your organization and assess your market. Learn how to obtain funding for your project from the government or private resources.

One thing to be careful of when researching online is that you focus your search on the right region and get the information that's relevant to you. The internet is international, so what applies in one province or country, may not apply in another.

Government agencies have information packages available to help you as well. Contact them and they forward you the materials you require. Remember that Bow Valley Credit Union is here to provide the advice you need and to help your organization grow from a start-up to a self-sufficient operation. Reach out to one of our Account Managers who will help you get on track to meeting your goal.

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Marla Schlachter

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mschlachter@bowvalleycu.com