You may soon be able to push the “donate” button on the Cowichan Valley school district website as the district moves to join other organizations in finding creative ways to fill its coffers.
Karen Blow, assistant secretary treasurer for the district, told the school board Oct. 4 that “developing online solutions” to encourage donations to the school district has been identified as a priority.
“The school district is already a registered charity but you have to keep in mind that a charitable donation is only of value to you or I as individuals. So, if a business donates, it’s not of value to them to receive a charitable donation receipt. Sometimes they ask for one, but often they don’t,” she said.
In 2015/16, the school district handed out receipts for $97,000 in donations. In 2014/15, that number was $145,000 while in 2013/14, it was $140,000.
At present, about 10-20 per cent of the receipts are for goods donated rather than actual cash, Blow explained.
“Schools receive vehicles, they receive lumber. An elementary school may receive a piano. Those are examples,” she said.
“What we’ve been looking into is an online solution so we can have a button on our website that says: ‘Click here to make a donation.’ It would encourage donations as well as raising our profile as a charity.”
Both Blow and secretary-treasurer Jason Sandquist have been talking with other school districts.
“I’ve talked with our existing software providers and if you Google it there are lots of solutions out there to help us get our donations. We’re at that research stage of gathering information,” she said.
Trustee Elizabeth Croft asked, “Does the charity have anything to do with sponsorships? That could be considered a business expense.”
Blow replied that those funds would “usually go directly to the school and we wouldn’t know about any of that happening. The only business that will ask us for a charitable donation is another charity. So, the United Way, or the Royal Bank which has a foundation, for example, if they give us money, they will require a proper receipt to prove to Revenue Canada that they have gifted their donations to us.”