Nature Conservancy Canada

36 Eglinton Avenue West, Suite 400
Toronto, ON M4R 1A1
President & CEO: John Lounds
Board Chair: Bill Caulfeild-Browne

Charitable Reg. #: 11924 6544 RR0001
Sector: Environment
Operating Charity

Charity Rating

[Charity Rating: 4/4]

Donor Accountability

Grade: A-

The grade is based on the charity's public reporting of the work it does and the results it achieves.

Financial Transparency

Audited financial statements for current and previous years available on the charity's website [ Audited financial statement for most recent year ]

Need for Funding

Funding Reserves Program Costs

Spending Breakdown

Cents to The Cause

2014 2015 2016
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #272

Avg. Compensation $62,426

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 1
$200k - $250k 1
$160k - $200k 4
$120k - $160k 4
$80k - $120k 0
$40k - $80k 0
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2016

About Nature Conservancy Canada:

Founded in 1962, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) conserves Canada’s most important natural areas and the species they sustain. With national headquarters in Toronto, NCC is the largest land conservation charity in Canada. As of 2016, it has helped conserve over 1.1 million hectares (2.8 million acres) of land. NCC follows a structured, four-step, science-based conservation process. First, the charity determines areas in greatest need of protection. NCC then acquires this land through purchase, donation or conservation agreement. Following acquisition, NCC develops management plans that ensure the natural area is cared for over the long term. After taking action, NCC continually evaluates the effect of its stewardship actions and makes strategic changes if necessary.

Nature Conservancy of Canada has conservation projects and offices running in all ten provinces of Canada. The charity’s 2016 annual report states that NCC-conserved land provides habitat for 188 species classified as ‘at risk of extinction’ by COSEWIC (the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada).

The Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is one of NCC’s staple programs. The Canadian government launched the five-year program in 2007 and selected NCC to lead the matching funds program. The government renewed the NACP in 2014 for another five years, providing NCC with an additional $100 million in funding. NCC conserved 15,991 hectares of land though 95 projects in 2016, bringing total land conserved to 419,240 hectares. The charity states that 98% of conserved land falls within an NCC priority natural area. NCC aims to conserve $1 billion worth of ecologically-significant land through this program by 2020.

NCC’s Conservation Research program helps the charity identify priority lands for conservation, evaluate threats to biodiversity, and measure the effectiveness of conservation strategies as part of its science-based conservation process. NCC reports giving 70 scientific presentations and completing 52 research projects in 2016.

Nature Conservancy of Canada also runs a Conservation Volunteer program that engages Canadians in conservation activities. Volunteers get hands-on experience in activities such as restoring damaged environments and removing invasive species. The charity reports that 2,866 Canadians participated in the program in 2016. Its Conservation Intern Program, which teaches students and recent graduates about conservation planning and stewardship, hired 37 students in 2016.

Financial Review:

With total cash donations of $62.8m in F2016, Nature Conservancy of Canada is a Major 100, meaning that it is one of Canada’s 100 largest charities in terms of donations. Administrative costs are 9% of revenues and fundraising costs are 9% of donations (cash and non-cash). Per dollar donated to the charity, $0.81 goes towards its programs, which falls within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. NCC’s net funding reserves total $118.7m, of which $66.2m are donor-endowed. Excluding endowed funds, the charity’s reserves can cover 55% of annual program costs.

NCC reports using external fundraisers as part of its fundraising activities. In F2016, NCC paid external fundraisers $148k that raised $76k (less than 1% of total cash donations). This means that per dollar donated through external fundraisers on behalf of NCC, the charity paid $1.93. 

The charity changed its fiscal year-end in F2014, making F2014 figures based on 11 months. Ci adjusted the F2014 program cost coverage ratio to be based on 12 months of programming.

Goods in kind donations represent land and conservation agreements donated to NCC. Ci included donated land and conservation agreements in program costs to provide a more accurate representation of operating cash flows. Ci also included donated land and conservation agreements when calculating NCC’s fundraising cost ratio.

This charity report is an update that is currently being reviewed by Nature Conservancy of Canada. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 27, 2017 by Katie Khodawandi.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending May
Administrative costs as % of revenues 9.4%11.9%8.5%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 9.2%12.4%8.2%
Program cost coverage (%) 120.8%204.8%99.4%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 62,82354,08760,773
Goods in kind 25,6889,53821,056
Business activities (net) 500511
Investment income (1,570)10,02911,369
Other income 4,9944,7844,538
Total revenues 92,43478,44397,747
Program costs 98,31957,78990,867
Administrative costs 8,7988,1107,368
Fundraising costs 8,0997,8776,691
Cash flow from operations (22,782)4,666(7,179)
Funding reserves 118,733118,35298,504
Note: The charity’s audited financial statements recognized only a portion of investment income earned in revenues – Ci recognized total investment income earned as reported in the financial notes, affecting total revenues by ($1.4m) in F2016, $7.4m in F2015 and $8.5m in F2014. Ci did not include gain on sale of capital assets, decreasing total revenue by $785k in F2014. Ci did not include deferred revenue related to sales of carbon-offset credits, decreasing other revenue by $60k in F2014. Ci included endowment contributions in donations, increasing revenues by $3.7m in F2016, $2.1m in F2015 and $2.4m in F2014. Business activities revenue consists of proceeds from property sales reported gross of expenses. Ci did not include loan repayment for prior year acquisitions, decreasing expenses by $263k in F2015 and $210k in F2014. To report on a cash basis, Ci removed amortization from administrative expenses.

Comments added by the Charity:

The comments below were provided for a previous profile update. Updated comments may be forthcoming.

NCC has a long term commitment to conserving Canadian biodiversity.  Part of this is ensuring that there are adequate resources to protect our conservation land for the foreseeable future.  To ensure this, NCC has established and continues to contribute to a stewardship endowment fund (reserve) to ensure that funding will always be available for necessary conservation actions on our protected land.  This accounts for the Surplus shown in the “Spending Breakdown” chart.

Our total revenue of $69 million was down from last year ($88 million). The decreased revenue was expected, as the previous fiscal year included the value of the large Waldron project, which, at $35 million, was an exceptionally large acquisition project. Likewise, because the majority of NCC’s expenses are directly related to land acquisition, our expenses decreased over the reporting period. During the year there was an increased focus on stewardship of properties ensuring our conservation assets are maintained for future generations.

These swings in revenue and expenses are normal for NCC and reflect the multi-year nature of many of our large conservation projects.

NCC concluded the 2015 fiscal year with a net income of $4 million before transfers to reserves and endowments (compared to $3 million in 2014).

Because NCC’s mission is focused on the long term, it is important that we have a sound financial base on which to operate. By contributing $1.3 million to reserves over the past year, and by investing $10.3 million into our Endowment Fund (which now totals $99.3 million), we continue to build a solid foundation to adequately fund the stewardship of our conservation lands well into the future.

We calculate some of our performance metrics on a five-year rolling average in order to give an accurate picture of our financial standing. These rolling averages allow us to account for the fluctuations that a year-on-year measure can cause, such as when we have a large project in one fiscal year, or when projects span more than one year as well as benefits of some non-program expenses exceed one year.

We maintain a close watch over our expenses, though we have also broadened our measures of success to include more tangible measures of long-term impact, and not simply concentrating on shorter-term overhead cost ratios. In the period ending May 31, 2015, a total of 81 percent of our expenditures went directly to program costs (on a five-year rolling average basis), slightly down from 83 percent last year due to lower land acquisition costs.

We are proud of our ability to keep our overhead costs low, but do not wish to do so at the expense of an effective and impactful conservation program.

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