Local non-profit organizations needed for survey: finding solutions to ‘conscious business’ challenges

“Acquiring this data is a first step in gaining a better understanding of how the sector operates"

Throughout January the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence within Okanagan College’s School of Business is seeking participants from Central Okanagan non-profit organizations for a student-led research survey to identify gaps within the sector that are impacting growth opportunities.

“We know that social service non-profit organizations in our region have struggled with sustained business models and financial stability,” says Dr. Sheilagh Seaton, Okanagan College Business professor, and co-leader of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence. “This survey will help us pin-point the causing factors, and to find adaptable solutions to increase the longevity of these organizations in our communities, shifting towards a more sustainable model of operation.”

Individuals in an Executive Director or Board of Director role within these organizations can participate by January 30 through the survey link on the Centre’s webpage: www.okanagan.bc.ca/NPC. Following a review process, an analysis report will be released in mid-2015.

Amanda Wright, Honours BBA student at Okanagan College, with the mentorship of Dr. Lynn Sparling, Okanagan College Business professor, is facilitating the survey that was developed following a series of interviews with industry experts in the non-profit field. Questions explore the non-profit organizational structure and capacity, finance, internal and external resources, and the capabilities of each organization.

“Leading this research gives me the opportunity to help define the sector in our region, as well as contribute to the sustainability of the non-profits that work to address some of our communities’ most challenging social issues,” says Wright. “It is rewarding to be able to support these conscious organizations while also applying principles that I have learned through the College’s curriculum and skilled faculty.”

The College received a $100,000 donation from Scotiabank in April 2014 to create the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence, which has enabled this research. The aim of the Centre is to generate opportunities for non-profit organizations to access training, programs, students, and other support mechanisms that will assist in improving the state of the sector and positively impacting our community.

“Until now, there has been very little research about the business of non-profit in the Okanagan region,” says Dr. Sparling, who is also a co-leader of the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence. “Acquiring this data is a first step in gaining a better understanding of how the sector operates, how it can improve and what resources are needed to sustain its growth.”

More information is available on the Scotiabank Centre for Non-Profit Excellence website at www.okanagan.bc.ca/NPC.

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