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Organizational Structure

The Event Management and Marketing Institute Manual by David Wilkinson provides a comprehensive outline of the various organizational structures utilized for the planning and delivery of large festivals and events. Although these organizational structures are designed for large operations, the reporting structures and job responsibilities are often similar for smaller events.

Reporting relationships and job descriptions are needed for all aspects of event planning and delivery. You need to clearly identify who is in charge of each area. See the attached sample job description. This is especially true for voluntary organizations where such roles and responsibilities may not be well defined. In order to deliver a quality product, you must be able to define accountability for all aspects of your event. An effective organizational structure will form the basis of individual accountability.

Sample - Volunteer Job Description

Winter Carnival - Fundraising Committee Chair

  1. Coordinate all activities of the Fundraising Committee.
  2. Establish the following sub-committees: Button Committee, Sponsorship Committee, Concessions Committee, Special Events Committee; and recruit committee heads and members.
  3. Develop a critical path and goals for each committee area
  4. Attend all meetings of the Board of Directors and report on the Fundraising Committee’s activities.
  5. Hold regular meetings of the Fundraising Committee; design and distribute an agenda, take and distribute minutes.
  6. Liaise with other committees regarding fundraising activities.

If your organization is not currently incorporated as a non-profit corporation, you might consider doing so in order to obtain benefits such as rebate of Harmonized Sales Tax paid and limited liability for officers and directors.

A non-profit organization is a legal entity. The objective is to provide benefits to the community or members, rather than to earn a profit. No part of the organization’s income can be paid, or otherwise made available for the personal benefit of any proprietor, member or share holder unless it is a club, society or an association whose primary purpose is the promotion of amateur athletics in Canada.

To become registered as a non-profit organization you must complete an application for Incorporation as a Corporation without Share Capital which is available from the Ministry of Government & Consumer Services. The fee is $155. The application outlines the steps in the incorporation process which may take up to nine weeks. For more information, contact:

Ministry of Government & Consumer Services
Companies & Personal Property Security Branch
393 University Avenue, Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario  
M5G 2M2
or visit their website at

There are special guidelines for the incorporation of social clubs. The objectives must be in whole or in part of a social nature, and it must have existed as an unincorporated club or organization for at least one year prior to the date of application for incorporation.

Registration as a Charity
Your organization may also wish to consider registration as a charity. The major benefit associated with registration is the ability to issue official donation receipts for gifts received. This allows both individual and corporate donors to access tax benefits related to their donations. For your organization to registered as a charity its purposes must fall within one or more of the following four categories:

  • the relief of poverty
  • the advancement of religion
  • the advancement of education
  • purposes beneficial to the community - such as relief organizations

The approval process can take a year or longer. For more information about registration as a charity, contact Revenue Canada-Taxation for the booklet Registering Your Charity for Income Tax Purposes .

Revenue Canada Taxation
130 Syndicate Avenue South
Thunder Bay, ON
P7E 1C7
or visit their website.