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A CNIB Fundraiser in a yellow vest and face mask waving at a donor as she closes her front door

Fundraising Safely - Protect Yourself

Door-to-Door Canvassing – Is it safe?

So you’ve encountered a fundraiser on the street or had someone knock at your door, and you want to make sure they’re legitimate and that it’s not fraud or a scam.A CNIB Fundraiser in a branded yellow vest approaching a front door

It’s important to note that fraudulent charity representatives are exceedingly rare and the safety and security of our fundraisers, and the public, are our highest priorities as a fundraising organization.

Our canvassers are passionate about CNIB’s work and help hundreds of generous supporters join our community of monthly donors safely and securely every week. Here’s how we make it happen.

Fundraising in your neighbourhood

Whether you’re in Moncton, Vancouver or Toronto, you might get a knock on the door from one of our friendly CNIB canvassers or see them on the sidewalks of your downtown. We’re active year-round, with campaigns in places like Victoria, BC; Regina, SK; Calgary, AB; Winnipeg, MB; Montreal, QC; Halifax, NS; and across Ontario – just to name a few! Want to verify where we are right now? Contact our Donor Services team at 1-800-563-2642 or donor.services@cnib.ca.

The CNIB Foundation (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), in partnership with our fundraising partners, take many precautions to protect you as well as our hard-earned credibility as a respected Canadian institution.A CNIB Fundraiser in a yellow mask and vest, holding a tablet,

Here are some ways to confirm the legitimacy of the fundraiser you’re speaking with:

  • Fundraisers should be wearing a yellow vest or t-shirt with the CNIB Foundation logo. Some may also be carrying a CNIB Foundation-branded binder, or a CNIB-branded info card and wearing a CNIB-branded lanyard.
  • The fundraiser is well trained on our programming and should be able to answer questions about the CNIB Foundation and our programs if you ask them to.
  • The canvasser should be wearing an ID badge with their photo, the charity’s contact information, our CRA Charitable Registration Number (119219459RR0003), and a note that they do not carry or accept cash.
  • For their own personal safety, CNIB Foundation fundraisers will never ask for or accept cash donations.
  • CNIB Foundation fundraisers do not use hand-held debit machines or tap devices. They do not use paper receipt booklets. They process donations via a secure tablet device. On rare occasions, fundraisers may capture a monthly donation with a CNIB-branded paper form.
  • When asked who they are employed by, fundraisers should be able to explain that they work for a third-party fundraising organization, like TNI The Network Inc., Public Outreach, Up Fundraising, or Globalfaces Direct, and that they have been hired to fundraise on behalf of CNIB but are not directly employed by CNIB Foundation; that they receive an hourly wage and are not on any commission.
  • They don’t hand out informational pamphlets, as this is a cost-ineffective process. In the wake of COVID-19, fundraisers are not handing out any welcome materials or brochures.
  • Most fundraisers can accept one-time donations, but their focus is on monthly, and they may direct you to make a one-time donation on our website if that is your preference.
  • The canvasser will ask you to donate monthly by becoming a Partner in Vision, or to support CNIB Guide Dogs on a monthly basis.

A close view of a CNIB Fundraiser’s yellow vest and fundraising tabletHow do the secure tablet devices work?

Face-to-face fundraisers are not allowed to accept cash for their physical safety, as it would make them regular targets for mugging and robbery. There would also be a much higher risk for loss. It’s also important to note that in order to represent us, all CNIB Foundation canvassing representatives must pass a criminal record or police background check.

Donating via the tablet that the canvassers carry is the most secure way for an individual to contribute when donating via face-to-face. The tablets use a Virtual Private Network (VPN), and the tablet never stores the financial information – it is encrypted and uploaded directly to the CNIB Foundation.

The canvasser does not have access to any personal or payment information, and if the tablet is lost or stolen, no one would be able to access the information collected. The canvassers are hired to fundraise for pre-authorized monthly donations which can’t be collected in cash, and their nametags explicitly state that they are not allowed to accept cash.

A CNIB Canvasser wearing a yellow vest, carrying a secure tablet device and wearing a face mask, stands bundled up for the cold weatherSecurity Standards

Our fundraising partners comply with all federal and provincial laws relating to the storage, collection, use and disclosure of personal information. They comply with PIPEDA as well as CASL and also adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards, the Canadian Payment Association guidelines and the Canadian Marketing Association guidelines.

Imagine Canada Accreditation

CNIB has been accredited under Imagine Canada’s Standards Program. With this achievement, we join a distinguished community of more than 250 non-profit organizations dedicated to operational excellence.

The Standards Program is a Canada-wide set of shared standards for charities and non-profits designed to help organizations strengthen their operations in five fundamental areas: board governance; financial accountability and transparency; fundraising; staff management; and volunteer involvement.

To earn the accreditation, organizations must meet a total of 73 standards. Earning this, especially during these challenging times, truly demonstrates our organization’s remarkable resilience, and our strong commitment to innovation and excellence. To learn more about Imagine Canada’s Standards Program, visit imaginecanada.ca

A CNIB Fundraiser smiles wearing a yellow vest and ID badge



Why does CNIB use canvassers?

We rely on Street canvassing and Door-to-door fundraising as a way to help Canadians continue to donate to the causes they care about, but from the safety and comfort of their home.

Running a year-round fundraising program requires an extensive amount of resources and expertise. We have partnered with Public Outreach, TNI The Network Inc.,  Up Fundraising, and Globalfaces Direct to represent us, as they provide superlative fundraising services across Canada. Face-to-face fundraising is one of the most cost-effective ways for us to reach Canadians where they are.

The CNIB Foundation is committed to ensuring no one is left behind, and in order to meet that commitment, we must continue to mobilize Canadians to support our work. We need funding to continue to be there for people with sight loss from coast to coast to coast.

Learn more about our face-to-face program at this link.

If you’re still unsure of the legitimacy of the fundraiser in your neighbourhood, please contact Donor Services at donor.services@cnib.ca or 1-800-563-2642.