AFS is a non-profit organization. To this end, our team dedicates its energy to keeping costs low while offering high quality services for exchange students. To do this, we ask all participants to collect donations. These donations are an integral part of AFS’s learning, preparation and engagement program.
The community benefits from these donations in many ways:
- Scholarships are given to many participants whose financial resources are limited so they can take part in the AFS programs;
- Intercultural trainings in schools and other institutions are constantly improved and updated;
- AFS volunteers receive intercultural training to better support the participants;
- The publication of manuals;
- A certification program in intercultural competencies is offered;
- Intercultural education mentors are recruited and trained to support the participants.
AFS Interculture Canada is a registered charity (number 100071927RR0001). As such, it is authorized to solicit donations from the general public, businesses and foundations and to provide charitable donation receipts to donors who can then benefit from tax reductions.
AFS also solicits donations to implement program that allow the participants to reach their fundraising goals.
When participants are accepted into an AFS program, they receive a letter that authorizes them to collect donations under AFS’s name. We suggest that fundraising plans are made as soon as possible. Donors can send their donations directly to AFS Interculture Canada by making note of the name of the participant or fundraiser.
AFS Interculture Canada provides charitable tax receipts to individuals, businesses and foundations that make donations of $20 or more. Cheques should be made out to AFS Interculture Canada. Receipts are issued in the month after the donation is received and they are sent directly to donors so it’s very important to make sure that the address and full name of the donor are written on the cheque or in an accompanying letter.
You can also create an account to receive donations on our online platform: https://www.afscanadadonations.org/
Note: There are absolutely no fees associated with our online donation platform.
Before approaching potential donors, you need to understand and be confident about why they should support AFS Interculture Canada. Be prepared to respond to the following questions:
- What is AFS Interculture Canada?
- What are the goals, objectives and components of the program?
- What are the benefits of an AFS experience?
- Are there others in your community who have participated in this program?
Your role as a fundraiser
Your best assets for fundraising are your ENTHUSIASM and your PREPARATION.
- Inform yourself about the program. If you don’t know the answer to a question that you’re asked, you can find it on our website, ask your volunteer, a past participant or a staff member and then get in touch with the person who asked you the question.
- Set realistic goals based on the amount you need to raise.
- Make lists: Make lists of people you can help you, not only people who you think may be donors. Start by making a list of people you and your parents know. Do any of them work for a business that might be able to make a donation?
- Meet with donors: Figure out which people within a business are mostly likely to help you (for example, people in human resources or the director of public relations) and send them a letter or email then make a follow-up phone call to request a meeting. At that meeting, use the AFS promotional materials to give your request more credibility.
- Allow time to answer questions. Thank everyone you meet with, even if they decide not to make a donation.
- Recognize the contributions of donors: When people help you reach a goal, they like their support to be recognized. By recognizing the contributions of your donors, you show your gratitude and make them proud of their decision to donate.
- Record-keeping and forms: Keeping your books up to date is important to keep track of your progress and do proper follow-ups. Keep all the originals in case you need extra forms and need to make copies. You’ll find a record-keeping form in the annex of this guide.
- Personal network: your family, friends and neighbours.
- Businesses: businesses and organizations that are active in your region are the best targets for your fundraising. Many businesses have a budget to support community activities.
- Education: If you’re still in school, communicate with your teachers, student association and other university groups. Make sure to reach out to the alumni association too because that can be a good source of funding.
- Religious organizations: Religious organizations are often able to make financial donations.
- Social clubs: Social clubs have funds available to support projects like yours. Throughout the year, many of them have offered very generous support to AFS participants. These clubs meet regularly and they often invite speakers.
- Development sector: Subsidiaries of national and international organizations that promote peace, environmental protection and other causes exist in all regions. If you participate in their events, they might agree to make a contribution toward your fundraising goal if you make a presentation to their members after you return to your country. Example: multicultural organizations.
- Political groups: In the past, many elected officials have become valuable allies for the participants, even though they are very busy. What’s more, you can generally count on them if you want to get some Canadian, provincial or municipal pins. You can give these as gifts when you are abroad.
Questions about donations
Who can make a donation?
Anyone, as well as all Canadian businesses and foundations.
Is there a donation limit?
There is no donation limit except for donations from the parents of the participants, which cannot be more than $3,500 from each parent.
Are donations refundable?
Are donations refundable? Under the Canadian Tax Act and government requirements, donations are non-refundable, even if the participant withdraws from the program. Donations do not belong to the participant or fundraiser, but to AFS Interculture Canada.
What happens if you collect more than needed?
We strongly recommend collecting more than the minimum amount required by AFS because these funds will be used by AFS to offer trainings, scholarships and other services in the community. Supplementary donations remain with AFS Interculture Canada. They cannot be used to reduce someone’s participation fees.
What is a donation and what is not eligible for a tax receipt?
A donation is an amount of money or goods given freely by a donor without any compensation. Money received for the sale of a good or service is not a donation. Even though they are not eligible for tax reductions, they are still an important part of fundraising efforts to cover participation costs and raise money for AFS.