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I have a question that I’m hoping I can crowd-source here at Slaw, or perhaps Slaw-source. I have asked several friends and acquaintances and have yet to get a satisfactory answer. Charity as a legal concept dates back to 1601 and the Statute of Charitable Uses 1601 (aka. Statute of Elizabeth) [1] wherein the preamble to the act contained the first statutory definition of charitable uses. Since that time the nature and scope of charities has changed dramatically; to the point where some have become leery of large charities that are run more like a business than a charity. This leads to the crux of the question I am hoping to have answered, that is: When donating to a charity what do you consider to be an acceptable overhead for administrative expenses, or more succinctly, what percentage of each dollar you donate going to administrative expenses are you comfortable with? 10%, 20%, 30% more?

Ontario details some of the duties and responsibilities of directors and trustees which include:

Duty to be Reasonable, Prudent and Judicious

Directors and trustees must handle the charity’s property with the care, skill and diligence that a prudent person would use. They must treat the charity’s property the way a careful person would treat their own property. They must always protect the charity’s property from undue risk of loss and must ensure that no excessive administrative expenses are incurred.

However, “excessive administrative expenses” is not defined. So in short, what do you consider to be “excessive administrative expenses”?