Nature Conservancy Canada

245 Eglinton Ave East, Suite 410
Toronto, ON M4P 3J1
President & CEO: John Lounds
Board Chair: Bruce MacLellan

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

Charity Rating

[Charity Rating: 4/4]

Results Reporting

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

2015 2016 2017
For a dollar donated, cents funding the cause after fundraising and admin costs, excluding surplus.

Full-time staff #260

Avg. Compensation $72,305

Top 10 Staff Salary Range

$350k + 0
$300k - $350k 0
$250k - $300k 1
$200k - $250k 0
$160k - $200k 2
$120k - $160k 6
$80k - $120k 1
$40k - $80k 0
< $40k 0
Information from most recent CRA Charities Directorate filings for F2017

About Nature Conservancy Canada:

Founded in 1962, Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) partners with individuals, corporations, and governments at all levels to protect Canada’s plants and wildlife. With its national headquarters in Toronto, NCC is the largest land conservation charity in Canada. As of 2018, it has helped conserve 2.8 million acres (more than 1.1 million hectares) of land across the country. NCC has conservation projects and offices running in each of the ten provinces across Canada.

NCC follows a structured, four-step, science-based conservation process. First, the charity determines areas in greatest need of protection. NCC then acquires land within the areas of greatest need through purchase, donation, or conservation agreement. Following acquisition, NCC develops management plans that ensure the natural area is cared for over the long term. Finally, NCC continually evaluates the effect of its stewardship actions and makes strategic changes if necessary.

The Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP) is one of NCC’s largest programs. NACP is a partnership with the Canadian government aimed to accelerate the rate of private land conservation in southern Canada. Since the launch of the program in 2007, the federal government has invested $300 million towards conserving more than 1 million acres (430,000 hectares) of land. This investment has been matched with more than $580m in contributions of donated land and funding from provincial governments, the private sector and individuals. 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 conservation priorities, evaluate threats to biodiversity and measure the effectiveness of current conservation strategies. NCC reports giving 43 scientific presentations and completing 53 research projects in 2017.

NCC 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 2,472 Canadians participated in the program in 2017. Its Conservation Intern Program, which teaches students about conservation planning and stewardship, hired 62 students in 2017.

Results and Impact: The charity’s 2017 Annual Report states that NCC-conserved land provides habitat for 195 species classified as ‘at risk of extinction’ by COSEWIC (the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada). NCC secured 22,186 acres of new land in 2017, with 99.5% being within an NCC Natural Area. The charity’s volunteers in Alberta removed or improved over 10km of fence to reduce barriers to wildlife movement.

Financial Review:

Nature Conservancy of Canada is one of Canada’s Major 100 charities, receiving total cash donations of $79.9m in F2017. Administrative costs are 10% of revenues and fundraising costs are 10% of donations (including donated land). Per dollar donated to the charity, $0.80 goes towards its programs, falling within Ci’s reasonable range for overhead spending. NCC’s net funding reserves total $155.3m, of which $76.1m are donor-endowed. Excluding endowed funds, the charity’s reserves can cover 1.5 years of annual program costs.

NCC reports using external fundraisers as part of its fundraising activities. In F2017, NCC paid external fundraisers $190k that raised $125k. For every dollar NCC raised from external fundraisers, it paid $1.53 to the third party. This is an improvement from F2016. The charity has reported that external fundraisers were used to upgrade single gift donors to monthly contributors.

This charity report is an update that has been sent to Nature Conservancy of Canada for review. Comments and edits may be forthcoming.

Updated on June 6, 2018 by Derek Houlberg.

Financial Ratios

Fiscal year ending May
Administrative costs as % of revenues 10.0%9.8%12.1%
Fundraising costs as % of donations 10.4%9.6%12.7%
Program cost coverage (%) 281.2%163.5%245.3%

Summary Financial Statements

All figures in $000s
Donations 79,94458,70752,752
Goods in kind 8,56725,6889,538
Business activities (net) 1,0045005
Investment income 17,464(1,894)11,656
Other income 5,1604,9944,784
Total revenues 112,13787,99478,736
Program costs 55,23872,63148,251
Administrative costs 9,4188,7988,110
Fundraising costs 9,2058,0997,877
Cash flow from operations 38,277(1,534)14,497
Funding reserves 155,315118,733118,352
Note: 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. The charity’s audited financial statements recognized only a portion of investment income earned in revenues. Ci recognized investment income (net of management fees), investment loss (income) on internally-endowed restricted funds, and other investment income earned as reported in the financial notes. This affected total revenues by $17.5m in F2017, ($1.9m) in F2016 and $11.7m in F2015. Ci backed out investment income from other revenue, affecting total revenues by ($3.6m) in F2017, $128k in F2016 and ($2.6m in F2015). Ci included unrestricted contributions from Friends of Nature Conservancy as reported in the financial notes. This affected total revenues by $23k in F2017 and $3k in F2015. Ci adjusted for deferred donations (amount received for restricted purposes minus amount recognized as revenue during the year) affecting total revenues by $21.4m in F2017, ($441k) in F2016 and $731k in F2015. Ci did not include loan repayment for prior year acquisitions, decreasing expenses by $51k in F2017, $196 in F2016 and $263k in F2015. To report on a cash basis, Ci removed amortization from administrative expenses.

Comments added by the Charity:

The Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), is committed to conserving Canadian biodiversity. To support our mission it is essential that we ensure there are adequate resources available to protect our conserved land portfolio for the future. 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 to conserve biodiversity on our protected land. This substantially accounts for the funding reserves with the remainder being restricted funds for conservation purposes.

Total revenue of $76.9 million was down from the previous fiscal year of $90.3 million, mainly due to changes in land donations and conservation agreements. NCC ensures that all projects are fully secured and funded before being recorded and therefore revenue will vary based on the value of projects in which we are involved. Our endowment funds to support science and stewardship activities grew to more than $123 million. We continue to build this solid foundation to adequately fund the care and management of our conservation lands well into the future

Year to year changes in revenue and expenses are normal for NCC and reflect the multi-year nature of many of our large conservation projects. NCC continues to maintain a solid, healthy balance sheet with insignificant long-term debt.

NCC calculates 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 that may 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, not simply concentrating on shorter-term overhead cost ratios. In the period ending May 31, 2017, a total of 79 percent of our expenditures went directly to program costs (on a five-year rolling average basis), and 21 percent was spent on administration, communications and fundraising. Compared to many in the charitable sector our overhead costs are low. We are proud of our ability to manage our costs, but do not wish to do so at the expense of an effective and impactful conservation program. Our overhead costs this fiscal year also reflect a strategic investment in our operational capacity, especially in fundraising initiatives. This investment was approved by our Board of Directors and we expect it will continue to be reflected in our overhead costs for the next few years.

NCC makes conservation happen. As a partner with landowners, government, industry and Indigenous communities and nations we help to expand parks and protected areas. During the fiscal year 2016-17 NCC had the opportunity to expand its role as a facilitator of large-scale conservation partnerships. Working with Shell Canada we helped to remove 8,600 sq. km of oil and gas exploration rights at the mouth of the fabled Northwest Passage. The rights were released to the Government of Canada, clearing the way for approval of a new National Marine Protected Area in Talluruptiup Imanga/ Lancaster Sound. This will eventually become Canada’s largest protected area.

We also marked the 10th year of leading the Natural Areas Conservation Program (NACP), a unique public-private partnership with the Government of Canada. The NACP has helped to expand Canada’s network of protected areas, conserving more than 430,000 hectares (1 million acres). It is supported by a commitment of $345 million from the Government of Canada, which NCC and its partners match at a ratio of 2:1. The program continues to enhance the capacity of local and regional land trusts by supporting conservation acquisition and best practices.

NCC balances its role in protecting nature with providing access to Canadians to explore our conservation projects. In the past year we launched our Nature Destinations program, which profiles a suite of protected areas for access and enjoyment by the general public, both on the ground and online. . We look forward to building upon this collection in years to come.

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