April 28, 2012 – Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE)
PINs Leadership Development workshop: Strategic Resource Development
“Great energy, excellent resources….it covered one of the most relevant challenges for not-for-profit organizations” – Participant
Fundraising and resource development is a priority area for professional immigrant networks (PINs). Corporate sponsorships, grants and partnerships present valuable opportunities for PINs and employers, funders and other stakeholders to partner in mutually-beneficial ways. On Saturday, April 28, TRIEC held a leadership development workshop for network leaders at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE).
At this full-day workshop, over 30 leaders from 19 professional immigrant networks learned key aspects in strategic resource development. They learned new strategies for securing the resources their organizations’ need including looking at ways to leverage existing relationships. They discussed the challenges within their organizations and the constraints they face in accessing funding options. Leaders also identified action items for their network to move forward with their resource development.
Facilitator: Suzanne Gibson, Consultant, Suzanne Gibson & Associates
Janet Slasor, Director, Donations, Sponsorships & Executive Projects, Scotiabank
Elizabeth McIsaac, Executive Director, TRIEC
Sergy Kasyanov, President, CAPE
Suzanne began the workshop with success stories of resource development. She noted that in these cases, resource development included strategic thinking, planning and organization, using local strengths and capacities, effective use of volunteers/members, and using community resources/networks. Furthermore, these successful organizations looked at long term, lasting relationships with funders and donors and how they were able to increase the awareness of their organization’s issues.
Suzanne then had leaders reflect on the barriers that have impeded successful resource development for their organizations. Participants noted that the lack of committee members and continuity, unclear workplans, and the increasing number of similar organizations were among the shared challenges. Suzanne affirmed that such issues were not uncommon for many organizations and assessing internally is a key principle in successful resource development. Ensuring that organizations have a clear mission statement, a vision, quality services, and quality accounting and financial structures are among some of the important aspects in gaining revenue. Suzanne also provided a number of essential strategies for leaders to think about when approaching a sponsor/funding agency for financial support including creative and unconventional “asks” as well as leveraging their networks.
In the afternoon session, representatives from Scotiabank, TRIEC and CAPE joined the workshop and provided tips and advice for those seeking revenue from corporate sponsorship, grant-seekers, and those looking to generate revenue through fees for service and organizing special events. In small groups, leaders were able to discuss issues and concerns and pose questions to representatives of these specialized fields.
At the end of the workshop, network leaders reported that they planned to:
- Move forward and bring strategic resource ideas to their Boards
- Ally with one another to work together and seek advice
- Assess their organization to see what methods of resource development best suits them
- Strategic Resource Development kit – provided by Suzanne Gibson
- Know your context – What are the contextual realities your organization is facing? What are the challenges and opportunities in your environment?
- Assess your current capacity – Do you have a clear mission, vision and long-term plan? Does your organization have a culture that supports your resource development?
- Build your relationships and network with your community – Different markets, networks and sources of revenue and resources are available in your community. Think of creative networking strategies that will build your relationships within the community and broaden your organization’s brand. For example, create an “informal advisory council” a network of different people to discuss ideas and bring a fresh perspective to your issues.
- “When spider webs are woven together, they can catch a lion” – partnering and working with other groups can also garner resources successfully. Strategic resource development is about access to strategies and resources not just funding.
Follow up session – September 12, 2012