Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Third Sector and the current economy

While governments are busy bailing out failing banks and corporations, another significant driver of our economy and our society is struggling largely in silence.  The so-called Third Sector, also known as Non-Profits or Charities.

An excerpt from the Government Non-Profit Initiative describes the scope and impact of the sector on the BC economy:

The non profit sector contributes an enormous amount to public life in British Columbia. The sector has a substantial economic presence, contributing 6.9 per cent of the province’s GDP and employing 7 per cent of the provincial workforce. The non profit sector employs more than 147,000 people (23 per cent of whom work in hospitals, colleges and universities) – a workforce larger than the total employment in the forestry, fishing, mining and oil and gas industries combined.

The non profit sector reports around $3 billion a year in revenue from provincial government sources, accounting for one-third of the sector’s total revenues. The sector contributes an additional $6 billion into the provincial economy, more than agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting and on par with mining, oil and gas. Not included in this equation is the monetary value of over 114 million hours in volunteer time mobilized by the sector – the equivalent of 69,000 full time employees.
So, with Canadian media beginning to take some notice, it's time for the rest of us to start speaking up.  Canadian charities support our social safety net and are responsible for providing a lot of the services we have come to expect as an integral part of Canadian society.  If we want to continue to enjoy the benefits of engaged and healthy communities, we need to step forward and support our local charities.  As a fundraiser and organizational consultant, i am inviting leaders in my community to an Open Space-based meeting to plan what we can do to support our local charities in surviving the next three years.  I will be suggesting we provide resources and training workshops (for free or cost only) to our local charities to help them prepare for what lies ahead.  

So if you have a local (or national) charity that you love, sing their praises, let your local representatives know of your concern, encourage all of your networks to continue to give, and point the charity to this resource as a good place to start for ideas on how to survive. 

No comments: