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Fundraising Policy

Framework for ethical conduct

The Arthritis Society is a registered charity, and the recipient of a variety of outright and deferred gifts. It is the policy of The Society to ensure a strong base of ongoing financial support to The Society by securing donations from a wide range of sources.


  • To ensure that the Arthritis Society’s national fundraising policies are in line with best practices as outlined by Imagine Canada’s Ethical Fundraising Code
  • To meet all requirements as outlined by Imagine Canada’s Gift Acceptance Policy.
  • To ensure that The Society’s stakeholders understand our policy regarding the selling, trading and rental policies regarding donor mailing lists.
  • To ensure that The Society’s stakeholders understand what is disclosed to a 3rd party and how the organization benefits from the sale of products or services.
  • To ensure that The Society’s stakeholders understand the organization’s policy regarding face to face fundraising and steps taken to ensure that these standards are met.
  • Gift Acceptance Policy


    This policy provides a framework through which the Arthritis Society can accept gifts while ensuring we are operating with the highest integrity, meeting or exceeding legal and legislative requirements, preventing conflicts of interest and proactively managing situations which might lead to perceived or real conflicts of interest, and meeting our ethical and social responsibilities.

    Policy Application and Scope

    This policy applies to all relationships at any level of the organization including but not limited to:

    • corporations;
    • professional organizations;
    • individual donors;
    • industry groups;
    • third-party fundraising aligned with a corporation’s employee groups operating under their corporate banner of corporate foundations;
    • vendors and distributors; and
    • clients of the therapy program.

    From these relationships, the Society may benefit in the following ways:

    • financial support (including donations, sponsorships, foundation grants, corporate matching gifts, volunteer grants, in memoriam donations and employee giving);
    • gift-in-kind (GIK) support (a gift of goods or services);
    • joint relationships or partnerships to raise funds;
    • gifts from vendors.

    Key Principles

    1. The interests of people affected by arthritis are at the centre of all of the Society’s work.
    2. We are committed to forging relationships with individuals, corporations, partners, vendors, and third-party funders that support our work in ways that benefit people affected by arthritis and that in no way inappropriately influence or bias the nature, quality, transparency and/or content of the programs and information we deliver, research we fund, or public policy and advocacy positions we adopt.
    3. We will not explicitly endorse any products or services or practitioners of a commercial nature with the exception of design endorsement for our trademarked “ease of use” program. In the context of corporate sponsorships the sponsor may indicate that they are supporters of the Arthritis Society (cause marketing or ease of use endorsement) but we will not endorse the therapeutic value of the company’s product.
    4. The use of our name and logo (alone or in combination with a co- branded partnership logo) will be granted to corporations relative to the return, as contracted, to the Arthritis Society and the realization of the overall relationship or partnership goals. Use of the Arthritis Society logo and /or slogan and related trademarks must be pre-approved before its use is in the public domain.
    5. The Society will seek to develop and foster relationships with industry and the corporate sector that encourage and support innovation and that help to fund our mission.
    6. The Society will actively seek support from individuals and corporations that will further our ability to achieve our mission, without in any way compromising the transparency and objectivity of our efforts to support, inform, and advocate on behalf of the interests of people with arthritis.
    7. For all programs, information, research, public policy, advocacy, and other activities, the Society will be guided by objective and unbiased sources most credible for the purposes of the activity.
    8. The Society will endeavor to rely on the best available evidence and/or the advice of knowledgeable scientific and medical practitioners in presenting information and to identify that source where practical.
    9. The Society will be transparent in all activities and initiatives and will acknowledge support of sponsors and funders.
    10. While individuals or companies may have a particular interest in specific areas of the Society’s work and may therefore direct funds toward those activities or initiatives, the sponsor or funder cannot direct or influence the content of the information or activity. This includes the use of internal or third-party external market research.

    Restrictions on Gifts

    Many of the Arthritis Society’s fundraising activities are directed towards generating unrestricted funds that enable us to best meet our mission goals. We will accept gifts for specific programs and purposes, provided that such gifts are consistent with our mission strategy. In the event that a gift is restricted to a specific type of activity or initiative, the Society will make reasonable efforts to work with the donor (or executor of the estate in the case of bequests) to ensure that the gift is used in a manner consistent with the donor’s wishes and fulfillment of the mission. The Society will only enter into agreements regarding restricted gifts with the approval of the Chief Development Officer after review with the Chief Operations Officer and CEO.

    In the interests of maintaining the highest ethical standards with regard to conflicts of interest and to ensure that funding sources do not give rise to undue influence or bias, we may choose not to accept any financial or gift in kind contribution.

    Specific Guidelines for Information, Program Content, and Education

    Information, program content and education must be planned to address the needs of people affected by arthritis, their families and caregivers, and must be determined by the appropriate experts of the Society.

    Funding for information, program content and educations events must not be tied to the funder’s influence over program content, choice of speakers, or other aspects of the integrity of our information. Donors must be acknowledged at each event where the funds are used through mention of company/organization name. Exceptions to this policy will be considered at the request of the donor on a case by case basis. Choice of speakers, subjects of presentations, travel arrangements, expenses, and honoraria must all be arranged and paid through the Society or the organizers of the event and not by sponsors or their agents.

    Registration for sponsored events must be through the Society or conference management company and not through a corporation or sponsor’s representative.

    Evidence-based Criteria for Gift Acceptance

    We will not knowingly accept financial or gift-in-kind contributions or enter into a relationship with a company that manufactures any food, unregulated drug product or therapy that claims to treat or prevent arthritis that is not supported by scientific evidence.

    Avoiding Real or Perceived Conflict of Interest

    Adherence to the key principles outlined in this policy is the responsibility of all employees and the accountability of all managers of the Arthritis Society in accordance with the financial limits established by Society policy. It is therefore incumbent upon any employee receiving funds on behalf of the Society to raise any questions to the appropriate level in the organization.


    All speakers we engage must fully disclose in writing prior to the event to the Society and again at the beginning of the event, any potential conflicts of interest with corporations, including relationships with competing corporations. Potential conflicts include, but are not limited to, partnerships, receipt of consultation fees, membership on advisory boards or speakers’ bureaus, and funding for research.

    Relevant conflicts include those of immediate family members: spouses/partners, children, and parents.

    In presentations, written, and AV materials, the use of generic names for drugs, devices, or other products is preferable to the use of trade names. If a trade name is used, the generic name should also be given and other commonly available alternatives should also be mentioned.


    Funding Agreements

    In accordance with our financial and signing authority policies, the Arthritis Society will have a written agreement in place with supporting donors and sponsors. The agreement must recognize the Arthritis Society’s sole responsibility for the identification of needs, determination of objectives, selection of content and speakers (where such are used) and execution of programs and projects and research activities that are supported by the corporation.

    Authority to sign agreements

    The appropriate member of the senior leadership team is authorized to sign or delegate the signing of agreements with all corporation consistent with the overall signing authorities outlined in our finance and operations policies, provided the individual who is signing is aware of and understands requirements under this policy.

    Recognition of support

    The Arthritis Society will acknowledge support by corporations for all sponsored programs and projects. Anyone in any capacity (speakers, researchers, or others working for or in partnership with us) will disclose to the audience any financial relationship they have with corporations. The donor or sponsor must secure advance permission for use of Arthritis Society assets (logo, brand, materials, etc.).

    Privacy and confidentiality

    The Arthritis Society will maintain the privacy and confidentiality of people affected by arthritis as per our Privacy and Confidentiality Policy. Staff and volunteers will not provide company representatives with names and other contact information of people affected by arthritis, including lists of any kind, except where there is express written consent.

    Gifts and honoraria

    The Arthritis Society staff and governance volunteers, who are board directors, officers, and members of board standing committees at any level of the Arthritis Society, shall not accept honoraria of any amount from corporations while acting on behalf of the Arthritis Society. If honoraria are provided to all speakers, the honoraria to the Arthritis Society staff and governance volunteers shall be payable to the Arthritis Society.

    The Arthritis Society staff and governance volunteers may accept reimbursement for direct disbursements required to carry out their duties; however, any potential conflict of interest must be brought to the appropriate manager of the Society or to the Board Chair, in the case of board members, for review.

    Wearing or using corporate materials

    To ensure that the Arthritis Society is not endorsing or perceived to be endorsing any corporation or its products, with the exceptions noted below, staff and volunteers acting on behalf of the Arthritis Society will not wear or use articles bearing corporation names, product names, logos or other insignia that would be seen to be promoting products and services for the treatment of arthritis.

    If the corporation is a sponsor of an Arthritis Society event or program, staff and volunteers acting on behalf of the Arthritis Society may wear and/or use the labelled materials in the context of the event or program.

    If the corporation has provided a small number of the item as part of a presentation (eg. folders or pens to participants in a meeting) the staff or volunteers may accept those items as nominal/token gifts from the company for use.

    Corporate displays and materials

    In Canada, certain companies are not allowed by law to advertise drugs directly to consumers except under limited circumstances. Such companies shall not promote their products at any Arthritis Society program or event through displays or materials that include the name of the product. These companies may be sponsors and be offered the opportunity to be recognized in programs, on signage, and through verbal acknowledgement. Only the name of the company can be used, and not the product.

    Monitoring and Compliance

    The Chief Development Officer is responsible for reporting to the President and Chief Executive Officer through the quarterly compliance reports regarding compliance with the Policy.

    Related Policies, Legislation

    This policy provides the ethical framework that allows the Arthritis Society to accept support from individuals and support from corporations. For any donor or sponsor who contravenes our ethical framework, we reserve the right to end funding agreements.

    The Arthritis Society follows federal government legislation and regulations prohibiting direct- to-consumer advertising.

    Fundraising Policy Review

    The National Board of Director’s reviews the Fundraising policies every 3 years to determine the relevance and appropriateness of the organizations policies.