November Nonprofit Summit Sets the Stage

Saskatchewan Nonprofit Network Gets Thumbs Up

 

In early November 150 nonprofit sector leaders met to consider if an independent network or organization could collectively represent the broad interests and aspirations of Saskatchewan’s nonprofits and volunteer agencies.

Conceptualization began in February 2012 when several individuals who previously attended Imagine Canada's National Summit in November 2011 considered the feasibility and value of establishing a provincial nonprofit body. These individuals formed a steering committee and commissioned a feasibility study of literature reviews, scans of other similar Canadian entities, key informant interviews, and an on-line survey, all funded by the Community Initiatives Fund. 

The survey was completed by 545 sector representatives, with 41% indicating "yes" to the concept of a provincial network. Analysis of the comments provided by the 43% who were "undecided" indicated support for the concept but identified questions and concerns still needing to be addressed. The proposed role of a provincial network is to:

* facilitate collaboration and coordination within the sector and with government and business sectors;

* provide education, mentorship and capacity building opportunities to strengthen organizations and the sector; and

* increase awareness and value of the sector among its many audiences.   

The survey also helped identify current and emerging opportunities and challenges of nonprofit organizations from sectors including human services, community health, arts, culture, sport and recreation, and smaller volunteer community organizations. Nonprofit organizations are generally characterized as self-governing charitable or not-for-profit organizations, or community-based groups representing Saskatchewan community interests.

A Provincial Summit was held November 5 and 6 in Saskatoon to share findings of the feasibility study conducted by McNair Business Development and to invite further discussion. Summit participants commented on the potential role, mandate, and structure of a provincial network. Dr. Michelle Gauthier, vice president of public policy and community engagement with Imagine Canada, presented on Imagine Canada’s National Engagement Strategy and explained how the Canadian nonprofit sector works collectively in other regions and provinces. The Summit ended with agreement to move forward to establish a provincial nonprofit network in Saskatchewan.

Next steps for the Steering Committee involve continued sector engagement and input, funding considerations, organizational development, broadening the involvement of sector leaders, and communications.

Comments and inquiries may be directed to Tracey Mann, chair of the Network’s Steering Committee and executive director of the Community Initiatives Fund  at:  traceymann.cif@sasktel.net .

Updates will continue through CIF’s Enews. 

 

    

Saskatchewan's Network of Nonprofits Summit, Saskatoon, November 5-6, 2012.  Photo credit:  On Purpose Leadership.

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