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Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

Our Impact and Operations

MS Society Impact Report


Every year, we strive to find better ways to serve Canadians living with MS.

The MS Society Impact Report highlights our achievements in serving people who live with MS and advancements to finding a cure for the disease.

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Your return on investment: How we operate

When you donate to the MS Society, you’re investing in an organization whose purpose is to end MS and improve the quality of life for those who live with the disease. The MS Society is dedicated to funding research, government advocacy, financial support and programs and services that empower Canadians affected by multiple sclerosis.

In 2018 we raised more than $54 million through a diverse fundraising portfolio of events, major gifts and other fundraising initiatives. That same year invested in the following programs:

$18.1 million in Canadian MS research – research grants, scholarships, fellowships, and investments through the Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation

$7.6 million in programs and services – including education programs, self-help groups, recreational and social programs, information and referral services, financial support for daily living or equipment need

$5 million in public education and awareness – awareness campaigns, newsletters

$3.3 million in chapter and volunteer support and development – volunteer recruitment and training, chapter support from division and national offices

$1.3 million in government and community relations – educating all levels of government about needed changes to benefit Canadians living with MS and assistance to clients dealing with local transit and accessibility issues.


In 2018, our overall cost of fundraising was 42 per cent. This represents the percentage of our revenue stewarded toward initiatives that raise funds for the organization, such as events, direct mail, major gifts and other similar types of fundraising initiatives.

It’s helpful to know our fundraising cost ratio, but the measurement is limited. Cost of fundraising measures the amount of money we invest in raising funds for the organization – it does not measure our overall efficiency or effectiveness. Transparency and responsible stewardship of funds raised are also critical when assessing a charity’s fundraising practices.

The MS Society relies on many small gifts from many donors through a variety of fundraising programs. Costs to fundraise vary by program, and we continue to ensure that we have a diverse, healthy fundraising portfolio that will continue to sustain our research program, advocacy work, and programs and services.

Cost of fundraising per program

Major gift fundraising: 15 per cent

Events: 37 per cent

Direct mail: 71 per cent

Fundraising costs include things like:

  • Postage: Postage remains a significant cost for our direct mail program, which reaches more Canadians than any other MS Society program. Canadian charities do not receive subsidies for consistently rising postage costs.
  • Event security: We are committed to ensuring that all event participants are safe when they take part in an MS Society event, which requires investments in site security across the country.
  • Event sites: While corporate sponsors for events like the MS Walk frequently help to offset site costs, many event locations across Canada are paid for by the MS Society.


Government funding

Last year we received two per cent of our funding from the government. As governments fluctuate with each election, it is often difficult to rely on government funding as a predictable source of revenue. We engage with our governments through important advocacy work that continues to improve quality of life for Canadians with MS and their loved ones.

Executive & staff compensation

Salaries for our president and CEO and other senior executives are reviewed by a compensation committee of our National Board of Directors, which is made up of volunteers who do not collect salaries from the MS Society. Compensation is based on the skill, experience and education necessary to advance the work of the MS Society. Many executive expenses, including telecommunications and professional memberships, are not reimbursed by the MS Society.

We ensure our wages are competitive so that we may secure the best talent and leadership possible to carry out our mission – to help Canadians with MS and search for a cure for the disease. Staff serving in more than 100 Canadian communities are vital to the successful delivery of programs and education sessions for people affected by MS, in addition to the planning and execution of the fundraising programs that underwrite our services. Staff also play a critical role in advocating for policy changes in the healthcare system that would better support people affected by MS

Investment in staff increases overall organizational performance and decreases staff turnover and costs associated with recruitment and training – meaning more funds are invested in delivering support to people affected by MS and less to inefficiencies created when job knowledge is lost as staff leave.

We are also proud to lead an extensive network of volunteers who are vital to the advancement of our work. To maximize our volunteer base, we invest in the recruitment, screening and training necessary to operate a thriving volunteer program.

Administration: Good management and governance

We invest in the right tools to get the job done, so that we may deliver effective programs and services for people affected by MS.

In 2018, our cost of administration was 8.8 per cent. Administration costs represent the percentage of our revenue stewarded toward good organizational governance and management practices. Administration costs include investments in financial systems, technology, telecommunications and real estate.

Administration costs reflect our commitment to transparency and accountability, and contribute to good organizational management and governance. We are also proud to operate in Canada’s two official languages, English and French, for which we invest in text translation and content adaptation.

Going paperless reduces administration costs. Move your donations online and request communications via email to help us become more efficient.


Thank you for supporting our mission.

Every day moves us closer to reaching our goals: to end multiple sclerosis and empower all Canadians affected by the disease. We rely on the generosity of Canadians who give their time and resources through participating in fundraising events and making personal gifts. We are grateful that you have entrusted us to invest your donations where Canadians living with MS need support the most.

Because you are an investor in realizing our mission to serve those affected by MS and to find a cure for the disease, we are committed to ensuring you know the impact of your donation. Thank you for your generous support in the fight to end MS.

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