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2022 Top 5 Fundraising Trends

2022 Top 5 Fundraising Trends

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2022 Top 5 Fundraising Trends

By Bryna Dilman, Fundraising Kit

The last two and a half years have motivated us all to think about the structure of our organizations and the need to develop resilient and sustainable fundraising strategies.

While change can be daunting, it can also be exciting! Staying on top of the latest fundraising trends helps your organization stay current and support your overall revenue growth. In this article, we share the top 5 fundraising trends of 2022, and why your nonprofit should consider adopting them to become a more dynamic, flexible and sustainable organization.

Trend #1: Flexible Giving and Participation Options

Over the past 2 years, our lives have become increasingly more digital. We communicate online, shop online, and donate online. Donors expect to be able to support your organization in various ways and from the comfort of their own homes.

Because of this digital movement, online giving grew by over 9% in 2021 on top of significant growth between 2020 and 2021. Now, there are less donors giving at in-person fundraising events, more nonprofits are putting an end to accepting offline cash and cheques for security reasons, and we are seeing more people embrace emerging online giving tools. Establishing online giving options provides donors with giving methods tailored to their needs and creates a more comfortable donor experience.

In addition, 92% of companies continued hosting virtual events even after physical events had resumed. This shows the comfortability we’ve gained around engaging with our favorite organizations from home. Whether it’s a donation campaign or a peer-to-peer event, providing supporters with flexible participation options lets them support your cause in the way that works best for them, making them more likely to engage with you again.

Trend #2: Focus on Donor Retention Strategies

Donor acquisition is an increasingly expensive endeavor, with the cost of bringing in a new donor often being double or even triple the amount of their initial donation. Donor retention is now necessary to simply break even on acquisition costs, much less generate sustainable revenue for your organization.

Many nonprofits report that more than half of donors only give once, leaving many with a loss on their initial investment in first-time donors. It’s much easier and more cost-effective to motivate individuals to give if they have already done so in the past. These donors know who you are, understand your mission and want to support you.

Fundraising technology makes it easier than ever to optimize stewardship techniques and improve the donor experience. Ensuring donors have easy access to stewardship materials, such as impact reports, allows them to understand how their donation was invested, provides credibility to your organization and makes them feel good about the impact they have made.

Additionally, it’s important to calculate your donor retention rate to understand the effectiveness of your retention strategies. Donor retention starts with building strong relationships with stakeholders so they feel appreciated and excited by the work your organization is doing. By nurturing authentic, long-term donor relationships, you can increase your donor retention and guarantee sustained fundraising success.

Trend #3: Strengthen Recurring Programs

Monthly giving programs provide nonprofits with predictable revenue while reducing the need for fundraisers to keep making individual appeals. Even better, monthly giving is becoming increasingly popular as 42% more revenue comes from monthly donors than one-time donors.

Because recurring giving is more financially impactful, easier to manage, and increasingly popular, fundraisers need to make it a priority. Additionally, monthly giving is a great way to connect with the next generation of donors. For example, a study found that 60% of millennials are interested in monthly giving. Even better, 49% of Gen X donors are already enrolled in a monthly giving program. Millennials and Gen X are the tech generation and typically already pay monthly rent and bills online, making them comfortable with a monthly giving program.

Fundraisers need the right tools for the job to identify and make appeals to their best monthly giving candidates. When you look at technology that provides likelihood to recur, your tech and tools can do your prospect research for you. Ensure you are analyzing donor giving histories and past interactions to determine which contacts in your database are most likely to become monthly recurring donors.

Recurring giving is an important revenue stream for organizations of any size. Just like the trends we see in FinTech to bring high-grade tools to smaller organizations, recurring donor management through fundraising technology allows any nonprofit to get more donations online. The technology is simple, and the impact of just a handful of recurring donations can mean sustainable income for years ahead without requiring additional resources.

Trend #4: Invest in Personalized Giving Experiences

Personalization is critical to long-lasting donor relationships. Donors are increasingly expecting personalized giving experiences. Through the use of the right segmentation tools, nonprofits have the opportunity to enhance the donor experience and increase donor retention and generosity. Interactions with supporters will need to be tailored according to their lifestyles, passions, and communication preferences.

Understanding that 59% of donors would give up to 10% more for a personalized experience means your nonprofit has the opportunity to raise more by getting personal with your stakeholders, which can easily be accomplished using the right tools.

Digital communication and engagement are crucial to providing a personalized donor experience. Targeted emails, social posts, and texts help keep supporters up-to-speed on important events, registration dates and the ongoing impact of your nonprofit.

When planning your communications strategy, be thoughtful of how often you reach out and the quality of your content. With the right tools, you can segment your contacts by their interests, giving histories, and more, creating unique and targeted donor experiences.

For some organizations, personalization may take the form of ramping up a text message campaign that updates donors on key projects and even offers text-to-donate opportunities. For others, it may mean that major donors receive more regular program updates. To find out what works for your organization, send out a donor survey to learn more about how your supporters want to be communicated with, what they want to hear about, and how they prefer to give. This information will help you develop your personalization strategy and help you surpass your revenue goals.

Trend #5: Explore Workplace Giving

When we think about engaging corporate businesses in fundraising, sponsorship is usually one of the first things that comes to mind. However, there is another way organizations can benefit from corporate philanthropy: employee giving.

As the great resignation and hybrid or remote working models continue to become a reality, many companies are looking for new ways to make their employees feel happy, supported and engaged. Many companies find that workplace giving programs are a great way to connect their teams with their colleagues and their community. Approximately $5 billion is raised through workplace giving annually, presenting a huge opportunity for nonprofits.

As you think about finding your perfect corporate partner, start by focusing on businesses in your local community. Companies are much more likely to support nonprofits that operate within the same area where their employees live and work. Next, visit their website to understand more about their corporate social responsibility practices. If you find that your organization aligns with their impact work, they might just promote you within their employee giving program or make a donation themselves.

In conclusion, nonprofits will continue to play a vital role in delivering services, strengthening communities, and supporting those in need. The nonprofit sector is diverse in size, type, donor base, and more. However, one thing brings this sector together, the need for sustainable and successful fundraising strategies.

By adopting these trends, your nonprofit can evaluate your goals and ensure you have the right tools and technology for the job, which is why Fundraising KIT thinks you should get up to speed on the top fundraising trends in 2022 and get ahead in 2023 so you can start raising more!

This blog is brought to you by Fundraising KIT.

Fundraising KIT was built by a nonprofit leader to support the nonprofit community. Fundraising KIT’s data-driven toolkit helps nonprofits raise more for their cause. Integrating with leading nonprofit databases, KIT identifies supporters ready to give, segments donors for targeted communications, and tracks fundraising progress, all while saving time and resources in the quest to increase revenue. Learn more. 

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The Vantage Point Youth Network Returns With More Opportunities for Young Not-for-Profit Professionals

The Vantage Point Youth Network Returns With More Opportunities for Young Not-for-Profit Professionals

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The Vantage Point Youth Network Returns With More Opportunities for Young Not-for-Profit Professionals

By Jenessa Ellis and Samantha Kannegieter, The Vantage Point

We are pleased to announce the Vantage Point Youth Network is back with new events and resources thanks to RBC Future Launch!  

We are grateful to everyone who took the time to complete our Youth Network consultation survey to inform our upcoming programming and Vantage Point’s work at large. We were blown away by the responses and by the thought, care, and depth of experiences that respondents generously shared.  

We heard that wages, working conditions, discrimination, and burn-out are huge challenges; that young professionals are looking for opportunities to transform systems and contribute to meaningful change. 

We heard not-for-profit employees face barriers when labeled as a ‘youth’, feeling that assumptions and biases around youth discount the value of younger people in the sector.   

Respondents also reinforced that young professionals are deeply interested in networking and connecting to others, finding mentorship, and gaining useful skills to develop their careers.   

A New Bursary for Young Not-for-Profit Professionals

First, we are excited to announce the Vantage Point Youth Network Bursary which offers full (100%) bursaries to Vantage Point workshops and three-day labs for successful applicants. This bursary is available to individuals aged 18-35 working or interested in a career in the not-for-profit sector in BC. Visit our website for more information or to apply.

A Not-for-Profit Career Development & Networking Guide

We are launching our Young Professionals Guide to all things Not-For-Profit. This guide provides links and resources to support finding and building a career, networking, and more. Do you have a resource we should include? Reach out to Jenessa Ellis at jellis@thevantagepoint.ca to let us know!

Our First Interactive Career Planning & Self-Assessment Session!

On Thursday, June 23, we will be hosting our first event of 2022Growing Your Management Skills: A guided self-assessment and development planning session Join Vantage Point’s Youth Network team in this two-hour session where we’ll learn about essential skills for managers and provide you with an opportunity to assess your current skill level and create a professional development plan to grow these skills. Learn more and register here. 

 

Stay Connected for More to Come

And this is just the start! We invite you to stay connected via our newsletter by selecting “Youth Network (18-35)” in Communications You Would Like to Receive. 

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Nonprofit Marketing: 3 Lessons Proven to Increase Donations

Nonprofit Marketing: 3 Lessons Proven to Increase Donations

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Nonprofit Marketing: 3 Lessons Proven to Increase Donations

By Bryna Dilman, Fundraising Kit

Want to increase donations and raise awareness for your nonprofit’s mission more effectively? 

If your answer to this question is “yes”, you may want to consider ways to optimize your nonprofit marketing strategy.  

By adopting some nonprofit marketing best practices, your organization can amplify its efforts, reach its target audience, and increase donations to support your nonprofit’s mission. Follow the three proven marketing best practices below. 

1. Know Your Donors

Regardless of whether you’re in the for-profit or nonprofit sector, you need to get to know your organization’s audience in order to get the most out of your marketing efforts.  

But how do you get to know your audience? Start by creating a donor profile template that outlines who your ideal donors are, based on information from your current donor base. 

Here is some information you might want to collect for your template:  

  • Age 
  • Location 
  • Occupation 
  • Marital status 
  • Parental status 
  • Philanthropic interests 
  • Hobbies 
  • Lifestyle 
  • Communication preferences 
  • Interactions with your nonprofit  
  • Donation history 
  • Donor type (first-time donor, lapsed donor, recurring donors, volunteers, long-time donors) 

In addition to individual donors, you can collect information to understand philanthropic organizations that contribute to your cause. Here is some organizational information you can collect:  

  • Organization’s Name 
  • Charitable registration number 
  • Location  
  • Philanthropic focuses  
  • Contact person  
  • Donation history 
  • Grant application information 
  • Grant application deadlines 
  • Restricted or unrestricted funds 

By identifying your organization’s most impactful contributors and understanding their shared characteristics, you’ll become more familiar with your donor base.   

So what else do you need to do to get to know your supporters? Well, according to HubSpot’s State of Marketing report, 89% of companies collect feedback through surveys, interviews, and focus groups. Try sending out some donor surveys to better understand the demographics, interests, and satisfaction levels of your supporters.  

Check out Fundraising KIT’s post-event survey guide for one quick way to gain critical feedback and information from your donors. Once you gain additional information about your donors, you’re ready to apply your findings to other aspects of your marketing strategy. 

2. Segment Your Communications

By understanding who your donors are, you can build a unique relationship with each one through segmenting your donor communications. A study found that email marketing campaigns that segment prospects and personalize messaging have seen a 760% increase in revenue. That’s no joke!   

For example, if you’re completing renovations on your house, you need to communicate differently with the team working on your garage than the team updating your curtains. Of course, each team is a part of your home renos, but how you communicate with both groups should be different and will help you build better relationships. 

This principle also applies to nonprofit marketing and communications; you’ll need to deliver messages that are relevant to each of your nonprofit’s donor groups. This takes us to segmentation and how it plays a large part in nonprofit marketing.  

Donor segmentation is the process of categorizing your donor base into grouped segments based on their shared characteristics. Once segmented, you can send each group targeted communications that they’ll be particularly interested in. For example, you can send all of your monthly donors a monthly impact report to outline their impact.  

With Fundraising KIT’s donor segmentation template, you can categorize donors into segments based on their donations histories and levels of engagement to strategically build relationships and raise more with every message sent.

When you segment and communicate with your donors regularly, and on a deeper level, you build a relationship with them, even if it’s through your computer! Once donors feel connected to your organization, they are more likely to give, give more, and give more often. 

3. Personalize Your Outreach

Did you know that more than 70% of consumers expect personalized communications? It’s true! Additionally, Philanthropy News Digest revealed that personal connections drive the decision to donate. 

So when you can effectively communicate to donors with personalized messages, you create a winning marketing formula.  

Here are some tips to help personalize your donor communications:  

  • Customize your thank you messages: Use Fundraising KIT’s thank you letter templates to create personalized thank you messages for various donor types. Also, when you include information that shows how your donors’ contributions made a tangible impact, they feel like they are part of the solution and will be motivated to give again. 
  • Use snail mail: Using letter mail to thank your most impactful and loyal supporters can go a long way. We have seen that communicating online is part of our everyday experiences, the idea of a mailed letter or physical thank you can surprise and delight donors.  
  • Develop personalized event invitations: Segment your donors by the impact areas they’re most interested in and invite them to events that align with those areas. You can also personalize your welcome and thank you emails for first-time donors by inviting them to upcoming events.  
  • Create an ambassador program: Identify the donors who’ve supported you for more than a year and invite them to join an ambassador program where they can gain special access to your organization by inviting new donors and spreading the word about your nonprofit.  

By personalizing your messages, you can build unique, meaningful relationships with each donor and raise more for your cause with every email, letter, and social media message you send.  

 

To improve your nonprofit marketing, get to know your supporters, create segments for donor communications, and personalize your outreach. By incorporating these best practices into your marketing strategy, you can create more meaningful donor relationships and raise more for your cause.  

This blog is brought to you by Fundraising KIT. 

Fundraising KIT was built by a nonprofit leader to support the nonprofit community. Fundraising KIT’s data-driven toolkit helps nonprofits raise more for their cause. Integrating with leading nonprofit databases, KIT identifies supporters ready to give, segments donors for targeted communications, and tracks fundraising progress, all while saving time and resources in the quest to increase revenue. Learn more. 

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How Universities are Supporting the Not-For-Profit Sector

How Universities are Supporting the Not-For-Profit Sector

How Universities are Supporting the Not-For-Profit Sector

By Katie McCallum & Kat Cureton, UBC Community Engagement

Universities can be valuable collaborators for the not-for-profit sector. From funding and research to hiring students and event space, there are many opportunities for not-for-profits (NFPs) to partner with universities around shared causes.  

Katie McCallum and Kat Cureton work for the Community Engagement office at the University of British Columbia. Since 2016, they’ve been working together to connect BC’s NFP sector to resources and people at the university. The way they work is founded on the belief that reciprocity and respect is at the core of successful collaboration.  

For our podcast, we spoke with Katie and Kat to learn how universities can be valuable partners in our sector and ask for specific opportunities and resources for NFPs at UBC. Listen to our conversation where we go in more depth, or keep reading for a brief overview of the discussion. 

Kat Cureton (left) and Katie McCallum (right) at UBC’s Vancouver campus.

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Q: How are universities supporting the not-for-profit sector?  

UBC students, faculty, and staff are partnering with local and regional communities on projects every day. There are many kinds of mutually supportive collaborations between universities and NFPs:  

  • NFPs often collaborate with students and faculty members on research projects that help answer community questions.  
  • UBC offers funding for community-university partnerships, collaborations, and relationship-building activities. Additionally, partnering with a university can open up new granting opportunities. 
  • Faculty members can be strong allies in advocating for policy change. They may be involved in government advisories, or publish recommendations that get media attention.   
  • Students can offer talent, time, energy, and new perspectives. They are eager to learn and the NFP sector can be a great opportunity for them to gain professional experience. 
  • Universities can serve as natural conveners on issues that bridge sectors. UBC has many collaborators who love to partner on dialogues and public events that shine a light on issues that matter in our community. 

Q: How can not-for-profit leaders start building relationships at UBC?  

UBC is a huge organization and can be daunting to navigate. Through our Community Partner Help Desk, we can help you connect with UBC programs and resources that could support your work. Some of the most common requests we get from NFPs are to:  

  • Access research and connect to UBC librarians 
  • Find experts to participate in your events or join advisory boards 
  • Share job and volunteer postings with UBC students 
  • Hire students through our co-op and internship programs 
  • Collaborate on events or projects 
  • Communicate to UBC audiences about your opportunities and events 

We connect the work of the NFP sector with work happening at UBC but it can take time to find and make those connections. Reach out to our Community Partner Help Desk to learn more. We are always happy to start a conversation. 

Q: How can UBC help with funding?  

We offer funding to NFPs and other community organizations specifically to support partnerships between community partners and the university.  

Our flagship program is the Community-University Engagement Support Fund (CUES). To date, the fund has awarded over $1.7 million to 81 different community groups — including 32 Indigenous communities and organizations — and it was just approved for another 5 years!  

Paid directly to community partners, our funding reduces financial barriers and prioritizes reciprocal, inclusive engagement so more communities can benefit, especially those who are historically, persistently, or systemically marginalized. CUES funding can be used to support community-university collaboration on engaged research and scholarship, engaged learning, knowledge exchange, or civic engagement activities. 

Alternatively, our Partnership Recognition Fund is designed to help fill small resource gaps (up to $1,500) and acknowledge the work of community groups that partner with UBC. Funding is offered several times throughout the year. We especially welcome applications for projects that advance equity and justice through reciprocal community engagement. 

Beyond our own funds, partnering with faculty, staff, and even students on projects can open new doors to funding opportunities like the federal SSHRC Partnership Grants 

Q: How can NFPs hire UBC students? 

There are many exciting new initiatives at UBC that have been designed to connect students with the NFP sector.  

If you are looking to hire a graduate student for a short-term project, the Arts Amplifier hosts info sessions for graduate students to learn about community partner organizations and jobs. They can also help you find funding to hire graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. 

UBC is currently piloting a community based Work-Learn program. In the new program, UBC gives funding to organizations to hire equity-deserving undergraduate students. This year, five to ten NFPs are taking part in the pilot.    

UBC’s Centre for Community Engaged Learning incorporates student learning into community projects. They will work with you to develop a pertinent program or initiative, and then find a way to integrate it into course-work. 

Finally, UBC CareersOnline is a free job and volunteer board that thousands of students and alumni have access to. Hot tip: Late spring is a great time to post a job or volunteer opportunity as students have just started their summer breaks.   

Q: What other resources are available to NFPs at UBC?  

So much we could go on forever. The Community Scholars Program (CSP) provides BC non-profits and charitable organizations with free access to academic journals and research. If you’re looking for research to cite in your grant applications, there are dedicated CSP librarians that can help you. 

The Downtown Eastside Research Access Portal, developed by the UBC Learning Exchange (an amazing community learning hub in Vancouver’s DTES) and UBC Libraries, provides free access to research and research-related materials relevant to the DTES.  

UBC is also home to a vibrant arts and culture district, gardens, and an active farm that are all open to exploring partnerships and collaborations. 

Lastly, it would be remiss of us to not mention opportunities to learn. UBC is a contributing partner to EdX, a huge collection of open, online courses and programs taught by university professors, online, at no or little cost. UBC also offers continuing education courses, aimed at working professionals.  

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Universities work at a different pace and annual cycle than the NFP sector and it can be challenging to perfectly align everyone’s needs and objectives. That said, every day, people on and off-campus work together on joint initiatives that benefit both communities and universities. The first steps are to connect, listen, and get to know one another — just as you would with any new relationship. 

Whether it is engaged research, experiential learning, planning and policy development, educational programming, dialogue projects, or workshops — our impact grows when we work together. 

Connect with the UBC Community Partner Help Desk to start exploring opportunities to collaborate on your initiatives.  

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Five Stages of Financial Well-being for Social Purpose Organizations

Five Stages of Financial Well-being for Social Purpose Organizations

Five Stages of Financial Well-being for Social Purpose Organizations

By Gordon Holley, President and CEO of Humanity Financial Management

Consider these questions for a moment:  How is your organization’s financial well-being? Is your organization financially healthy? Is your organization financially sustainable? What about your annual financial performance compared to your peers? 

Many organizations would struggle to answer these questions. If their budgeted revenue for the current year is enough to cover expenses and they’re getting timely and accurate financial reporting, all is good from a financial perspective.

Right? 

We think organizations who view finances solely from this point of view may be missing out on a huge opportunity to use finances strategically to improve annual financial performance and increase the financial health and sustainability of their organizations.  It’s all about setting and achieving financial goals in addition to the programmatic and organizational goals we might have in our strategic plan. 

Organizational financial planning has much in common with strategic planning and strategic frameworks.   We start by identifying where we are today and agreeing on where we want to be in three, five, or twenty-five years.  We then implement strategies and a plan to make this happen. 

To understand “Financial Well-being,” it can be useful to start with some basic financial questions: 

    • For our organization, what does good annual financial performance look like (aside from meeting our budget)?  
    •  What does it mean to be financially healthy?  
    • Or financially sustainable? 

Through our work with many social purpose organizations, we’ve come to classify organizations in one of five stages of financial well-being, divided into two overall sections (Financial Compliance and Financial Liberation).  The five stages are as follows: 

Financial Compliance 

1. Financial Crisis 

    • Running out of money  
    • Not getting timely, accurate financial reports 
    • Behind in regulatory or funder reporting

2. Financial Fragility 

    • Minimally meeting financial budget, cash flow, and reporting needs 
    • May not have robust, efficient, and effective financial systems 

3. Financial Stability 

    • Robust, timely, and accurate financial compliance reporting 
    • Documented, efficient, effective financial systems, policies, and procedures 

Strategic Finances 

4. Financial Strength 

    • Setting and achieving strategic goals for financial health, financial sustainability, and financial performance 

5. Financial Liberation 

    • Abundant and unrestricted funds 
    • Own-source revenue 
    • Financial health and sustainability 
    • Financial growth, independence, and control 
    • Actively working on mission achievement instead of symptoms of broken systems 

Many organizations can get stuck at Stage three, Financial Stability, and may not move on to treat finances strategically.  As a result, they don’t spend time planning their finances or setting and achieving specific goals for financial health, financial performance, and financial sustainability.  That’s fine if you are content with the status quo, but if you aspire to financial abundance and financial liberation, it takes an investment of time and resources to undertake financial planning and then to monitor and evaluate progress toward your goals. 

Organizational financial health and performance can be measured in many ways: 

    • How many months of expenses does the organization have in cash and liquid unrestricted net assets? 
    • How dependent is the organization on short-term, restricted donor funding? 
    • What percentage of the organization’s funding is long-term, own-source, or unrestricted funding? 
    • Is most funding received in advance of spending, or following spending? 
    • Is the organization able to pay market rate compensation, benefits, and pensions comparable to for-profit organizations? 
    • Does the organization expect significant overtime from its employees, or has it adopted a reasonable work week? 
    • What percentage of revenue is spent on salaries compared to the organization’s peers? 
    • What percentage of revenue is from government or foundation sources? 

When we start thinking about financial sustainability, we start asking more complex questions: 

    • Given the impact that we want to have, do we have the right business model and funding model? 
    • What core fundraising capacities should we develop? 
    • Have we considered our return on investment?  How much effort is needed to attract each source of funding? 
    • Do we have the best funding mix for our organization with respect to short-term vs long-term funding and with respect to restricted and unrestricted funds? 
    • Do we have an appropriate level of diversity within our funding streams? 
    • Are we attracting funding from the best sources, given our cause?   
    • Are there other sources of funding that we should be considering?  
    • Are we using the right strategies to attract those funding sources? 
    • Have we considered how we might develop plans to generate our own sources of revenue and reduce our reliance on external funding sources? 
    • Do we have an effective case for support that makes our case compelling to our potential funders? 

Every social purpose organization is unique and needs to answer these questions for their organization.  The right answers at any given time will depend on the nature of the organization’s work, which stage of financial well-being they are currently in and what stage they are at in their non-profit Lifecycle*. 

Benchmarking is another useful process that can be used to compare our organizations and our financial performance with those of similar organizations.  The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) makes all the financial information that is filed on the annual T3010 Registered Charity Information Return available publicly, so benchmarking against peers and similar organizations can be done. You can also request the financial statements for any registered charity from the CRA and they will mail these to you.  

If this topic is of interest and you want to learn more about strategic financial planning and the Five Stages of Financial Well-being for social purpose organizations, listen to our recent Vantage Point podcast: The Five Stages of Financial Well-being. 

*The Non-Profit Lifecycles model assesses what stage of development your organization is currently at and how to expand your organizational capacity to reach the most relevant goals for growth. A Lifecycles self-assessment can be completed in our workshop Understanding Capacity. 

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Great Things on the Horizon for the Not-for-Profit Sector

Great Things on the Horizon for the Not-for-Profit Sector

Great Things on the Horizon for the Not-for-Profit Sector

by Cherie Payne, Director of Government Relations and Sector Development at Vantage Point

April is here and we can start to look forward to spring. It’s the season when all the seeds we planted earlier in the year start to sprout. At Vantage Point, we’ve had a busy month of new beginnings.

Collective Action: Lobbyist Transparency Act

Vantage Point has been collaborating with Board Voice, the United Way, and the Vancouver Foundation to call on the BC Government to improve the Lobbyist Transparency Act (LTA).

In February 2022, we submitted this brief to the Attorney General and the Registrar of Lobbyists. The brief outlines some of the unintended impacts of the Act on not-for-profit organizations. It calls for a review of the legislation and offers some short-term solutions to immediately improve the current approach.

If you have examples of how the LTA has impacted your organization’s decisions on whether to engage with government, please share them with us or with your local MLA. This type of feedback helps decision makers to understand how the sector is affected.

New Funding: Recovery and Resiliency Fund 

Over the last month, we saw how the sector working together can yield concrete results. On March 24th, the BC Government, together with the Vancouver Foundation, United Way BC, and New Relationship Trust announced the creation of a $34 million Recovery and Resiliency Fund. The money will be distributed over the next three years and is designed to support community organizations who are struggling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Priorities for funding will be organizations identified by research as being most at-risk and those who have historically been most vulnerable, including:

  • Those with annual budgets under $1 million
  • Indigenous, Black, and/or people of colour-led organizations
  • Organizations serving racialized communities
  • Organizations with leadership from equity-seeking communities

You can read more about the funding in this Vancouver Foundation blog post. Sign up for updates on the Recovery and Resiliency Fund here.

Town Hall with Parliamentary Secretary Niki Sharma

We were pleased to host a town hall meeting with Parliamentary Secretary Niki Sharma last month. About 40 individuals and groups signed up to attend the event and had an opportunity to ask questions directly regarding the provincial budget, Community Gaming Grant guidelines, COVID-19 response, social assistance supports in BC, and core funding constraints.

Vantage Point was thrilled to host this open dialogue and we’re looking forward to hosting more opportunities for members to connect with decision-makers in the provincial government and in municipal governments around the province.

There is a lot happening around the province. We’re excited to see what initiatives and ideas you will soon be harvesting.

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From Brittle to Nimble: Leading for Resilience

From Brittle to Nimble: Leading for Resilience

From Brittle to Nimble:
Leading for Resilience

by Geoff Urton

During the Great Recession just over a decade ago, business leaders began emphasizing the new normal of frequent disruption facing nearly every sector. Managers throughout the org chart shared the pressure of needing to do more with less, speaking wistfully of the days of role redundancies. Economists proposed that the historic ebb and flow of disruption and stability had been irrevocably altered, leading to a new era of constant disruption. Change management and agility rocketed to the top of core competencies as organizations baked them into their leadership principles and business systems. It was a modern rise of resilience.  

To some, the challenges of the Great Recession may seem somewhat trivial now given the upheaval of our way of life presented by COVID-19 and the measures used to fight its spread over the past two years. The Great Recession may have equipped us for the current crisis, though, creating the necessity to develop new competencies in leading ourselves, our families, and our businesses through unpredictable change. Much like a child learning new developmental abilities in succession, every challenge offers the opportunity to gain new competencies that equip us to handle future circumstances and solve the next problems. This is resilience. 

According to organizational resilience experts, Timothy Vogus and Kathleen Sutcliffe, businesses that have proven resilient over time consistently show three qualities: humility, learning, and attunement1. These nimble organizations plan for the best and prepare for the worst, not relying too heavily on past success to predict future outcomes. They apply their intellectual, cultural, and financial resources to cope with and learn from unexpected events. Finally, they attune themselves to the environment, relentlessly seeking feedback and applying it in the desire to improve. 

We may also be able to strengthen the ability of dedicated individuals to sustain their efforts by supporting their psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness. According to the model of intrinsic motivation described by psychologists Edward Deci and Richard Ryan in their self-determination theory, people generally desire a say, “value learning,” and want to connect.2,3  

When these psychological needs are not met, poor mental health, weak performance and higher turnover have been documented among employees. By contrast, employees who report fulfillment of these intrinsic motivations show stronger performance, greater well-being, higher retention, and better policy compliance, with lower interpersonal conflict and emotional burnout.4 

As leaders, our ability to establish these attributes in our teams relies on our own understanding of resilience. By default, we often think of resilience as toughness. Reflect for a moment on the image that first comes to mind when saying the word resilience. I see a man in a trench coat brandishing a black umbrella like a shield against an onslaught of horizontal rain. This represents a steadfast bracing for impact – a determination not to give in. Determination may well be an essential factor in one’s ability to succeed through adversity, providing the required energy to maintain one’s commitment to one’s work through obstacles and setbacks. However, determination alone can prove brittle in the long run. How long might it take before the umbrella’s material yields to the storm’s assault, or for the hands gripping its handle to fatigue?  

Resilience goes deeper, requiring devotion – a commitment to something bigger than oneself.  Devotion transcends a determined survival instinct, tapping into the greater motivation produced by values or an inspiring vision for the future. A determined mindset and a devoted heart provide the fuel required to see oneself, or one’s community, through a major challenge. And yet, while determination and devotion are both necessary qualities to resile, alone, they are insufficient.  

Despite the role of grit in overcoming challenge, resilience is not synonymous with toughness, determination, or devotion. The term originates from the Latin resilire, meaning ‘to leap back’, much as a flexible metal returns to its original form after compression. For a person or an organization, it is the ability to cope and thrive through adversity. Resilience requires flexibility and the ability to adapt. However, it would also be a mistake to synonymize resilience with softness. An accommodating approach that only makes concessions to one’s environment is wobbly, lacking direction.  

Neither rigid nor lax, resilience requires something different. It takes a devoted commitment to the reason for one’s efforts – a compelling vision or a devoted value – and the adaptability to change one’s methods to thrive in a new environment. This is how both determination and adaptability can co-exist. There is a Zen-like quality to this competency. The game is to at once hold both a mindset of singular determination for your goal and an attitude of adaptability for how best to accomplish it.  

Resilient leadership is the endeavour of a sailboat tacking upwind, its pilot engaged in the seemingly impossible task of moving forward into a wind blowing against them toward an objective beyond. With every switchback, they may lose some ground, from which they must rebound. To accomplish this feat, the sailor is mindfully attuned to the information coming at them – the wind on the sail, the feel of the boat – and adjusts the tiller, the trim of the sails, and their body position based on this feedback. With determination and adaptation, they eventually prevail.  

Leaders devoted to supporting our organizations and our people through adversity succeed through a resilient mindset of determination and adaptability. We create an attuned culture of humility and learning in our organizations, and we tap into the intrinsic motivations of our people by supporting their opportunities for autonomy, learning, and connection. As we each engage in our own upwind tack, we leap back from each necessary change in direction, creating the conditions for our people and our organizations to grow and thrive. This is the endeavour we are called for now as leaders together in our journey onward through the storm. 

1 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/255853978_Organizing_for_Resilience 

2 https://selfdeterminationtheory.org/the-theory/ 

3 Meyer, J. P., Stanley, D. J., Herscovitch, L., & Topolnytsky, L. (2002). Affective, Continuance, and Normative Commitment to the Organization: A Meta-analysis of Antecedents, Correlates, and Consequences. Journal of Vocational Behavior61(1), 20–52.  

4 Meyer, J. P., Stanley, L. J., & Parfyonova, N. M. (2012). Employee commitment in context: The nature and implication of commitment profiles. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 80(1), 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvb.2011.07.002 

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The BC Budget 2022 Recognizes the Role of Not-for-Profits

The BC Budget 2022 Recognizes the Role of Not-for-Profits

The BC Budget 2022 Recognizes the Role of Not-for-Profits

by Cherie PayneDirector of Government Relations and Sector Development at Vantage Point

It was extremely windy and surprisingly cold along the water in Victoria on Tuesday February 22, as stakeholders walked over to the Crystal Garden near the BC Legislature to hear from Finance Minister Selina Robinson about the details of BC Budget 2022. 

Vantage Point had two asks of the government with this budget. The first was for support for not-for-profit organizations recovering from the pandemic. The second was support for increased access to high-speed internet. The news was very positive. 

Budget 2022 invests more than $289 million in new funding as part of a five-year plan to connect First Nations, rural, and remote communities to high-speed internet.   

It provides $25 million to the tourism sector for pandemic recovery, including arts and culture organizations –- key tourism draws in every region of the province. Arts Impacts and Amplify BC will flow funding through to communities to support the safe restarts of fairs, festivals, and events around BC.  

The budget gives stable funding to 50 community-based sexual assault response organizations to support survivors of sexual and gender-based violence.  

190 community organizations working to address racism in BC will benefit from new data legislation that will collect demographic data to help identify gaps in services to Indigenous and racialized communities.  

Notably, Parliamentary Secretary Niki Sharma announced the creation of a $30 million Non-Profit Recovery & Resiliency Fund:  

 

“Budget 2022 makes an historic $30 million investment in a new Non-Profit Recovery & Resiliency Fund. BC’s non-profits have been there for communities through difficult times. We will be there for them as we recover.”  

 

The Non-Profit Recovery & Resiliency Fund will be administered by the Vancouver Foundation and United Way BC. This is a significant benefit for charities across the province.   

We’re looking forward to hearing from members and stakeholders about the work still to be done, and questions you may have for government. As we come together to share learnings, observations, and feedback as a sector, we will lift each other up. 


 

Read more: 

Budget materials: https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/default.htm 

Non-profit fund is mentioned on page 3 of the budget speech: https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2022/pdf/2022_Budget_Speech.pdf 

And on page 7 of the highlights document: https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2022/pdf/2022_Highlights.pdf

Page 141 of the Fiscal and Economic Plan gives key details: https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2022/pdf/2022_Budget_and_Fiscal_Plan.pdf 

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Democracy Depends on You – Jennifer Wolowic

Democracy Depends on You – Jennifer Wolowic

Democracy Depends on You

By Jennifer Wolowic

Jennifer Wolowic, PhD, leads the Strengthening Canadian Democracy Initiative at the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue. Its work focuses on how to change local, everyday experiences of democracy. 


Having led the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue’s Strengthening Canadian Democracy Initiative for the last few years, I’ve talked with hundreds of different groups and individuals about democracy. Among most, I hear a similar hesitation to engage with the word and its ideals. As a word, democracy is intimidating and as an idea, democracy is difficult to connect to our everyday experiences directly.  

One thing I do know: democracy is much more than politics.  

Its values and practices are core to our civic communities and the work of non-profits. The skills and values that uphold democratic systems and engagement are a part of every program, every organization and service.  

Another thing I know: everything we do can either weaken or strengthen our democracy.  

As leaders, service providers, and advocates, it is crucial for non-profit leaders to check in every once in a while and think about how they contribute to strengthening a culture of democratic leadership and participation. How are you helping your team and your communities learn and grow as members of our democracy?  

Democracy is still a big word, so let me break it down into five principles for your reflection:  

Principle 1: Remember to build people’s capacity to participate 

Under your leadership, are people learning and practicing skills that help them be a part of decision-making processes? Are you helping create the time to reflect on those opportunities? 

Principle 2: Try to foster a commitment to democratic values 

What democratic values are important to you as a leader? How do you embody in your leadership and collaborations? How do you create space to name and talk about them? 

Principle 3: Create opportunities to build relationships and social connections 

How often do you participate or lead activities that prioritize building social connections? How do they create joy and feelings of influence? 

Principle 4: Show up and be equitable and caring 

How do you ensure all people are comfortable in your organization and in your spaces? What do people learn that they can take into other spaces? 

Principle 5: Don’t be afraid to be held accountable 

How often do you create space for feedback? How do you demonstrate to others that you are using that feedback to improve?   

Take a few minutes and answer each of these questions honestly. Then, assess your role in empowering people and participating as an active member of our civil society.  

The other thing I know: democracy takes a lot of hard work.  

 At this time, society is coming to grips with just how much work we have to do to live up to our stated ideals. This is the hard work of reconciliation, anti-racism, and community-based solutions. It is about setting up our services and organizations in ways that help people feel empowered rather than nameless clients. It is also the work of improving our democracy.  

 Each of us has a role to play. And these principles guide us in some concrete directions that each of us can lead. So I hope you will reflect on your role in our democracy and use these principles to talk with your staff and communities.  

 Any improvement begins by identifying our weaknesses and asking for input from others. It is the first step in growing as individuals and organizations. It is how we are accountable to ourselves, our organization, and our communities.  

Democracy is up to you.  

I hope you will use these principles to create opportunities to actively talk about how you are already helping to strengthen our democratic culture within our non-profit work and identify how you can do more within your organization. Then activate your ideas and create opportunities for others to better engage and participate in our democracy. 

For more on these principles and steps you can take to evaluate how well you are strengthening democracy, check out our two episodes with Jennifer Wolowic: The Five Principles of Democratic Engagementand Bringing the 5 Principles of Democratic Engagement to Life.


Dr. Jennifer Wolowic leads the Simon Fraser University Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue’s Strengthening Canadian Democracy Initiative. The initiative pilots democratic interventions, explores reforms, and develops education to spark dialogue on how we can make our culture of democracy stronger. Jennifer has led several of these programs including a collaboration with the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia that used game design to help improve how we can talk through difficult issues. She joined us back in 2020 to talk about 5 principles of democratic engagement, so now she’s back to talk about how we can use those principles to evaluate whether or not our organizations are helping to strengthen our democratic culture.

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BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector – Stronger Together

BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector – Stronger Together

BC’s Not-for-Profit Sector – Stronger Together

by Cherie PayneDirector of Government Relations and Sector Development at Vantage Point

Over the last quarter, we have been listening. We all know that organizations in our sector have been stretched thin, but we have also heard that many of you are so busy meeting the needs of your clients it’s been hard to look up and ask for outside support. 

Our commitment is to amplify your issues, concerns, and solutions to government. 

Over the last year and a half, many organizations in the not-for-profit and charitable sector report that they are choosing to opt out of engagement with the government and focus on service delivery and operations in the face of the pandemic, emergency relief, and financial challenges we have all been working through. 

This experience and first-hand knowledge mean that the work of not-for-profits and charities has never been more critical than now. The voices of frontline leaders are key to responding to community needs around the province. Our sector has on-the-ground expertise that positions us to advance innovative policy solutions to government. 

As not-for-profits continue to serve on the frontlines of emergency response in BC, it is vital that our sector continues to engage government on policy issues important to our stakeholders. Without input from not-for-profit organizations, many community voices will be missing from the important conversations to come about pandemic recovery, disaster response, economic prosperity, and other key issues. 

Fortunately, we are not alone in advancing these concerns. 

This month, Martha Rans of Pacific Legal Outreach Society penned an important Op-ed in The Philanthropist Journal about the public interest advocacy role our sector must continue to play: “Members of the non-profit sector are the experts on day-to-day issues, from child- and after-school care to housing and hospice care. We take care of people from the cradle to the grave.” She’s right.

And we have an advocate in the provincial government who has been listening. Read Parliamentary Secretary Niki Sharma’s Year in Review about what she has heard after one year and 300+ meetings with not-for-profit organizations, as well as her updated mandate letter from Premier John Horgan. 

2021 has been a challenging year for all British Columbians. Not-for-profit organizations on the front lines of service delivery understand this in a way that is unparalleled. Vantage Point is looking forward to continuing to work with you to raise issues to the provincial government about the specific challenges you are facing and how our sector can move forward in the months and years ahead. 

As part of the not-for-profit sector community, your expertise and concerns are important in this work. Our members are at the heart of our efforts to create a healthy and resilient not-for-profit sector. Participate in sector-wide discussions and public policy issues that impact your organization and support your board, staff, and volunteers to strengthen the voice of BC’s not-for-profits. 

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