Collaborative British Columbia: What We Make Possible Together

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Planning: Strategy & Workforce
Orcas in a body of water on a rainy day.

The beginning of the year is often a time for reflecting on the past and envisioning the future. Recently, our team had a "data party" to reflect on our 2019 Key Performance Indicators. Among the data was a section on Vantage Point's provincial reach, signifying how our organizational commitment to the province is increasingly relevant and leading to more collaborations.

This past year, we worked with 36 not-for-profits (NFPs) in communities outside Metro Vancouver and have also begun offering open enrollment workshops in Prince George and the Central and Northern Vancouver Island area. These activities are all part of our renewed focus on strengthening the NFP sector provincially. Therefore, when we reflect on these 36 engagements, we are not simply acknowledging separate and isolated organizations that have increased in capacity. Each is a step towards Vantage Point's long-term vision of an entire sector which is vibrant and sustainable; one which will continue to support all British Columbians through impending changes in climate, economy, governments, and more. Just as it takes a village to raise a child, it will take communities across the province to strengthen BC's NFP sector together. To this end, Vantage Point aspires to participate in ways that embed our team values of abundance, adaptability, collaborations, curiosity, and fun: Abundance by sharing our diverse and growing pool of resources with communities; Adaptability by meeting communities where they are; Collaboration by improving the sector "together"; Curiosity by asking questions; and Fun by enjoying the journey towards the vision.

The good news is communities are already participating and collaboration is very much alive! Municipalities are investing in the sector because they recognize how NFPs enrich the community. For example: the City of Vancouver has been a longstanding partner with us in providing bursaries for their NFP grantees to access our learning opportunities. Cross-sector collaborations are also emerging to create synergies. This summer will mark the start of a 12-month capacity program for NFPs in the Central Okanagan area. The program was made possible through partnerships between the City of Kelowna, Central Okanagan Foundation, First West Credit Union, the Nonprofit Lifecycles Institute, and Vantage Point.

We are also partnering with individuals across the province to strengthen organizations and the communities they serve. Knowledge Philanthropists, our team of skilled volunteers, are facilitating knowledge sharing across BC by delivering educational services locally in their own communities and traveling to others. Together with them, we delivered consulting, customized, and onsite learning sessions to 156 organizations in 2019. A recently launched project, our virtual member working groups provide another platform for peers in the sector to connect and work together on sector-improvement priorities. Moreover, 629 workshops participants enriched peer to peer learning by exchanging their unique experiences and perspectives. Collaboration occurs when we recognize that we each have professional and lived experience to offer and learn from each other.

Evidently, productive collaboration is possible in this sector. When we work together to increase the capacities of NFPs, it means more organizations can achieve their missions effectively. When this happens, we all win. This is especially true if we commit to an equitable approach when we consider which organizations are in most need of increased capacities in financial resources, governance, management, and administrative systems. Which organizations are persistently stuck in a revolving door of capacity deficit and how can we encourage each other to constantly improve equity and inclusion as a sector? We know we are not alone when pondering these big questions.

Sometimes I struggle to comprehend the size of our province. Events like the wildfires are sobering reminders that what happens in one community has ripple effects on others. We are all connected. Within the not-for-profit sector, there is an inspiring collective of "we": we who are working hard on our organizational missions and we who keep aspirational visions for our communities alive.

Across all regions, throughout all communities, we all win when the future is the sum of every organizational visions: an even more beautiful British Columbia that no other sector can imagine or create through such collaborative methods.

Vibrant, healthy, and sustainable BC communities are made possible when we collaborate and uplift each organization in our NFP sector. I look forward to next year's data party and reflecting on 2020 as our most collaborative year yet. Wherever you are in BC, join our provincial network of collaborators and become part of the sustainable BC not-for-profit sector. I look forward to next year's data party and reflecting on 2020 as our most collaborative year yet. Wherever you are in BC, join our provincial network of collaborators today!

About the Author

Joyce is the Provincial Outreach Coordinator for Vantage Point – she makes sure not-for-profits outside Metro Vancouver are supported and has access to high value resources. She loves facilitating community-led development with an asset-based lens. Joyce cares deeply about concepts of Equity,...

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t: 604 875 9144
f: 604 875 0710
1183 Melville Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 2X5

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