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Emailing Canadians? Read this First

October 9, 2014 Posted by Jessica Shofler in Fundraising, News, Nonprofits

CanadiansDoes your organization send fundraising emails to Canadians? Before you hit send, make sure that the correspondence is compliant with Canada’s new Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), which went into effect on July 1, 2014.

CASL doesn’t apply to all emails. If your nonprofit is simply emailing to request a donation then the law doesn’t apply. But if that message also includes a promotion or offer of a product, good, service, business, or gaming opportunity, then the email is subject to CASL.

If CASL applies, it requires a nonprofit get consent from all message recipients. For now, that consent is implied if the recipient has recently made a donation, served as a volunteer, or is a member of the nonprofit. But implied consent will only last so long. For contacts made before July 1, 2014, implied consent will expire on July 1, 2017, and for contacts made after July 1, 2014, implied consent will expire two years after the initial contact.

If and when express consent is needed, it won’t be easy to get. Express consent cannot be requested by email. Instead, it must be requested by paper or orally or the recipient must provide consent on the nonprofit’s website. If this last method is used, the recipient must actively check a opt-in box on the nonprofit’s website, it must not be pre-checked.

Even after your nonprofit receives consent, the hoops aren’t finished. Each message to a Canadian recipient subject to CASL must identify the sender and its contact information and must include an unsubscribe option. If an unsubscribe request is received, the nonprofit must carry it out within 10 business days.

Noncompliance with CASL will incur steep repercussions. Each violation brings up to $10 million in penalties for an organization and up to $1 million for an individual. If directors or officers of a nonprofit are involved with the noncompliant messaging, they may be held individually liable.

How will the CASL affect your organization? If so, how will your organization change its conduct to comply with its requirements?

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