Building Stronger Charities

The Community Foundation is exploring how it can help strengthen local charities in ways that go beyond traditional grantmaking. As an initial step, we hosted a conversation that we called our “Charity Check-In.”

Checking In With Charities

In January of 2023, we convened a group of local charity leaders to consider the following question:

How is your organization doing?

Through a series of facilitated exercises and peer to peer conversations, the group identified a number of areas where their organizations could be strengthened, and how the Foundation might help in that work.

The following is the Summary of Activities from the Charity Check-In:

We see the Charity Check-In as the beginning of a ongoing conversation, and we’ll continue to look for ways to engage with charities in support of their development.


Charity Development Fund

The Charity Development Fund was set up to provide opportunities for support beyond our grantmaking activities. The work of this Fund will be done in close consultations with local charities – from meetings, interviews, conversations, and most recently, the Charity Check-In event.

Activities supported by the Charity Development Fund so far include:

  1. Idea Lab (coming soon!) – We’ll have a dedicated page on our website to collect ideas from the sector and allow for “up-voting” the best ones. 
  2. Charity/Non-profit Social – Throughout the year, we’ll be hosting a casual gathering of sector employees and volunteers. If you’d like to receive info about upcoming socials, please contact us to be added to our mailing list.
  3. Grant Writing Workshops – We’ve now hosted grant writing workshops in Summerland, Oliver, and Keremeos. Stay tuned for a recorded online session soon.

If you’re interested in helping support local charities and non-profits in their evolution, visit the Charity Development Fund page to donate or to learn more.


Organizational Development Resources

As an initial response to some of the organizational challenges identified by charities at the Check-In, we’ll be building a self-serve resource list on this page. The list will start small, and evolve as we identify more resources we want charities to know about.

If your charity has successfully used a resource and you think it should be included here, please contact Kevin Ronaghan, our Grants Administrator, at grants@cfso.net.


Leadership Development Opportunities

Thriving Non-Profits: This peer learning program helps charity and non-profit leaders learn new strategies that can help build financial resilience and achieve greater community impact. Now accepting applications for their Fall 2023 Cohort here.

Impact & Leadership Development Program: provides coaching and support to BC Interior-based social purpose organizations seeking to deepen community impact and strengthen financial sustainability. The program is offered by our friends at Purppl.

Grant Proposal Writing

The Alberta Community Development Unit (see our Governance section below) offers a four part series of pre-recorded videos entitled “Grant-Writing 101.”

Learn more about the Foundation’s Grant Proposal Writing Workshops here.

Governance

Board Voice offers a robust collection of links to resources on a wide variety of board and governance topics, including strategic planning, succession planning, financial statements and risk management.

The Board Development Program of the Alberta Community Development Unit offers online webinars. They focus on strengthening the governance of Alberta non-profits, but much of the information presented is applicable across jurisdictions.

Strategic Planning

La Piana Consulting (US) offers a robust framework for strategic planning in their book, “The Nonprofit Strategy Revolution.” A downloadable package of their strategy development tools is available at the bottom of the linked page. (Please note that these tools are meant to be used in conjunction with the book.)

Technology Support

TechSoup Canada: provides free (or almost free!) software to charities and non-profits from companies like Microsoft and Adobe through their Technology Donations Program.

TechSoup (US) offers a Digital Assessment Tool to help charities determine their technology needs and find the right resources to meet them.

Impact Measurement

Purppl’s blog post (Five essential practices of good impact measurement) provides a good starting point on the topic of impact measurement. For a deeper dive, explore the Common Approach to Impact Measurement.