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«The Capacity Challenges of Nonprofit & Voluntary Organizations in Rural Ontario Susan Stowe Cathy Barr Working in Partnership © 2005, Imagine Canada ...»

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A recent study conducted by Imagine Canada and the Johns Hopkins University indicates that Canada’s has one of the largest and most vibrant nonprofit and voluntary sectors in the world (Hall, Barr, Easwaramoorthy, Sokolowski, & Salamon, 2005). It would appear, however, that not all Canadians have an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from this vibrancy. This report includes some suggestions for building the capacity of rural organizations and raising awareness of rural issues. The next step is to bring representatives of rural organizations together – with each other and with representatives of government and business – so that we can begin to work together towards solutions. With that in mind, we will give the last word to one of our

interviewees:

It’s not all about money and it’s not all about people living in urban centres giving us more money. I think there are some tremendous skills in rural areas and we just need to try to enhance them a bit. Rural people can accomplish enormous things against huge odds.

The Capacity Challenges of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations in Rural Ontario 18 Appendix A – Questions for Organization Leaders General questions

1. In your view, what are the most pressing issues facing rural communities today?

2. What do you think are the biggest challenges that rural nonprofit and voluntary organizations face?

–  –  –

Financial capacity questions Financial challenges

1. How is your organization funded?

2. Of the sources of funding mentioned, which are the most important sources to your organization?

Probe: If government funding, specify which level of government.

3. What would you say are the most pressing financial challenges faced by your organization?

4. What are some of the strategies that your organization uses to overcome these challenges?

Grants (only organizations that are funding by grants) The following section refers to grants that are defined as monies received in support of the charity or one of its programs from various governments. This does not include payments under contracts or purchase of service agreements for goods or services the charity provided.

1. How do you obtain information about grants that are available for your organization?

2. Are there specific criteria that your organization follows in selecting a grant to apply for?

3. Is there anyone specifically designated to apply for grants? Who is this person and what is their position?

4. What are some of the problems that your organization has faced with regard to grants?

The Capacity Challenges of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations in Rural Ontario 19

5. Do you feel that rural nonprofit organizations have equal access to grants as urban nonprofit organizations?

Fundraising (only organizations that fundraise) The following section refers to fundraising revenues that are defined as revenues received from fundraising organizations, such as the United Way or Federal Health, or from private, family or community foundations.

–  –  –

2. What are the challenges that your organizations face with regard to fundraising?

3. Do you feel that rural nonprofit organizations have equal access to donations from fundraising as urban nonprofit organizations?

Perceptions of challenges for rural nonprofits

1. What do you think can be done to improve the ability of rural nonprofits to fundraise?

–  –  –

Human resources capacity

1. Tell me about your paid employees. For example, how many do you have, are they fulltime, part-time, on contract, and what are they responsible for?

–  –  –

3. Now, tell me about your volunteers. What do they do, how many do you have, to what extent do you rely on them?

4. What would you say are your biggest challenges with regard to your volunteers?

Structural capacity

1. Does your organization engage in planning?

Probes: Is your plan documented?

The Capacity Challenges of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations in Rural Ontario 20

2. Could you describe the type of planning you do.

Probes: timelines – 1 year, 2 years, 5 years

–  –  –

4. What role does your board of directors play in your organization?

Probe: Amount of involvement in everyday activities

5. Review of budget and plans?

–  –  –

7. How do you or members of your organization build these relationships?

8. Overall, what would you say are the greatest challenges facing organizations in rural areas with regard to relationship building?

9. What do you think can be done to help organizations in rural Canada develop their networking capacity?

10. To what extent does your organization use technology?

Probe: Do you maintain databases for clients, funders, donors, etc?

11. What challenges does your organization face with regard to using technology?

12. Does your organization attempt to influence government policy? If so, how?

Closing questions





1. In your opinion, is there anything that rural organizations can or should do to raise awareness of issues facing their communities?

2. Do you have any other comments or issues that you would like to bring to our attention that we have not discussed?

The Capacity Challenges of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations in Rural Ontario 21 Appendix B – Questions for Key Sector Leaders General questions

1. In your view, what are the most pressing issues facing rural communities today?

2. What do you think are the biggest challenges that rural nonprofit and voluntary organizations face?

–  –  –

Financial capacity questions General

1. In your opinion, what would you say are the most pressing financial challenges faced by rural nonprofit organizations?

2. Do you feel that the challenges that you mentioned are the same as challenges faced by urban nonprofit organizations?

3. Do you know of strategies that are used by rural nonprofit organizations to overcome these challenges?

Grants The following section refers to grants that are defined as monies received in support of the charity or one of its programs from various governments. This does not include payments under contracts or purchase of service agreements for goods or services the charity provided.

1. Do you feel that rural nonprofit organizations have equal access to grants as urban nonprofit organizations?

Fundraising The following section refers to fundraising revenues that are defined as revenues received from fundraising organizations, such as the United Way or Federal Health, or from private, family or community foundations.

1. What would you say are some of the challenges that nonprofit rural organizations face with regards to fundraising?

The Capacity Challenges of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations in Rural Ontario 22

2. Do you feel that rural nonprofit organizations have equal access to donations from fundraising as urban nonprofit organizations?

3. What do you think can be done to improve the ability of rural nonprofits to fundraise?

–  –  –

Improving capacity

1. What can rural nonprofit organizations do to make themselves more competitive as they apply for grants and other sources of funds?

–  –  –

Structural capacity

1. Do you think that rural nonprofit organizations have the same opportunities as urban nonprofit organizations to network with other nonprofit organizations?

Probe: Why do you say that?

2. Do these networking challenges differ from those faced by urban nonprofit organizations?

–  –  –

4. Tell me about the role that media plays for rural nonprofit organizations.

The Capacity Challenges of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations in Rural Ontario 23

5. Do you think that rural nonprofit organizations have access to corporations?

6. What are some of the challenges faced by rural nonprofit organizations when developing relationships with other nonprofit organizations?

7. What do you think can be done to help organizations in rural Canada develop their networking capacity?

–  –  –

9. In your opinion are rural nonprofit organizations effective with their strategic planning?

Closing questions

1. In your opinion, is there anything that rural organizations can or should do to raise awareness of issues facing their communities?

2. Do you have any other comments or issues that you would like to bring to our attention that we have not discussed?

–  –  –

Hall, M. H., Andrukow, A. Barr, C. Brock, K. de Wit, M., Embuldeniya, D., et al. (2003). The capacity to serve: A qualitative study of the challenges facing Canada’s nonprofit and voluntary organizations. Toronto: Canadian Centre for Philanthropy.

Hall, M. H., Barr, C. W., Easwaramoorthy, M., Sokolowski, S. W. & Salamon, L. M. (2005).

The Canadian Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector in Comparative Perspective. Toronto:

Imagine Canada.

Hall, M. H., de Wit, M. L., Lasby, D., McIver, D., Evers, T., & Johnson, C. et al. (2004).

Cornerstones of community: Highlights of the National Survey of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations, Catalogue no. 61-533-XPE. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

Hall, M., McKeown, L., & Roberts, K. (2001). Caring Canadians, involved Canadians:

Highlights from the 2000 National Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating, Catalogue no. 71-542-XPE. Ottawa: Statistics Canada.

Salamon, L. M. & Anheier, H. K., eds. (1997). Defining the nonprofit sector: A cross-national analysis. Manchester, U.K.: Manchester University Press.

The Capacity Challenges of Nonprofit and Voluntary Organizations in Rural Ontario 25 www.frl.on.ca www.imaginecanada.ca www.trilliumfoundation.org



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