The more I get involved with non-profit organizations, the more I realize how much work they can be. It’s a funny thing – I think people often try to tell you it’s not much work, just think of how much fun it is. If you find the right fit, either the right organization or the right job for what you can or want to do, that can certainly be true. And of course, the more people involved the less work it can be – at least to a point.
Sometimes too many cooks spoil the soup. But on the other hand, who wants to be involved in something you can’t really be involved in?
But the other thing I am learning, especially if a group is struggling, or if it is looking to expand – is that there is help available. Often it is in the form of grants, or help writing grants, but a couple big keys I am noticing is that governments and other programs who have money to give want you to show you can use it responsibly and they want you working together.
We have a lot of good people in the Robson Valley area who are giving a lot of their time, skill and passion to help with some really great causes, far too many to list. But I also see a lot of people getting bogged down and frustrated with the technical workings, the rules and requirements of running a non-profit organization.
And the thing is, I think we might be duplicating a lot of that technical, administrative work unnecessarily. I attended a board development workshop not too long ago, and one suggestion I found interesting was that a couple of groups can actually get together, pool funding or grant applications, and actually hire someone to manage some of that technical stuff.
A few of our local non-profit organizations are already big enough that they have paid staff, experienced in getting grants, reporting, all of that stuff. I wonder if some of them could broaden their mandates to help some of the smaller organizations. Or maybe some of the smaller organizations can get together and pool their resources. We know there are lots of people already on multiple boards or committees, it doesn’t seem like that much of a stretch to combine a few groups.
I would almost suggest we could set up a local non-profit organization whose entire purpose would be to help other non-profits, but I don’t really want to suggest we start one more non-profit. It’s not a new idea though, and I wonder if maybe we just need to get involved in something like the Northern Interior Communities Association, who can help non-profits with gaming grants. I am sure there are others.