“Be weird. Be awesome. Be loved!”
This was the latest sticker COR had printed and left out in a container on a table just inside their office. A circular container that has the likes of stickers, postcards, magnets, stress balls, pens, you name it. All with similar bright colours and uplifting messages. The table they are on is located by the pinball machine, just down the hall from the coffee bar and to the right of the foosball table, and PS4 complete with beanbag chairs for optimum gaming comfort.
This isn’t your regular not-for-profit organization
I’ve never met anyone with the same consistent energy. COR has its own unique culture and brand. Talk to their
employees family members, even people who don’t work there any more, you’ll hear nothing but amazing stories about how gentle teaching has changed their life. They don’t run the organization like a regular non-profit, they do things different and they don’t apologize for it. COR is a breathe of fresh air in an industry that was getting stuffy.
COR is an inspiring organization. You don’t have to go far to hear some of these stories:
Or check out one of their “COR Cribs Episodes”
You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose site of the shore.
I met her a couple years ago, she was an outgoing student with a smile you could pick out a mile away. Kelsey Stewart is an inspiration to me, here’s why.
Kelsey works at Hope’s Home in Regina. She came to us a few (just 4) months before the big event saying, “I got this idea…”. We instantly loved it. Though a bit courageous trying to pull it all off in such a short time frame. Why not wait till next year and plan out a “proper” event? Kelsey proved you DON’T need years to plan one of these events, you just need, well, Kelsey.
We had worked on Swinging With The Stars in Saskatoon. The firm we worked with spent two years planning their event, Kelsey had four months. FOUR MONTHS!!! The folks in Saskatoon had done it before, Kelsey and the Hope’s Home team have never tried it before. After our first meeting I still remember saying to Brandon that “she’s crazy and that’s definitely not enough time to pull it off!!”. That’s exactly why we wanted to help.
Parkinson’s Law Read more
Born out of necessity the Hat Farm has grown into an amazing example of Social Enterprise.
Did you hear us on the radio? @cbcsask Afternoon Edition had us on, along with an online spread! Thanks for the support!—————————HAT FARM exists out of necessity; housing in Regina is grim. Racism rules, as we saw in recent housing listings in Prince Albert. Classism is rampant as many landlords refuse to rent to those on Social Assistance. People lack adequate personal and financial supports which are necessary for everyone to maintaining stable housing. Large populations are unable to obtain housing because the housing that could support their needs does not exist. HAT FARM exists to sell hats but also encourage discussion about what’s going on in your own neighbourhood. Get informed!
A photo posted by The Hat Farm (@thehatfarm) on
The Hat Farm started at Carmichael Outreach in Regina. Carmichael Outreach is a place where people can get clothing, food, a cup of coffee, help with housing, drug addiction, plus pretty much anything else people need when they have no where else to turn. In 2014 Carmichael Outreach served 53,689 meals to people in Regina. In 2015 it’s looking like that number will be closer to 70,000. They’re growing, and that’s not a good thing. I mean it is great people who maybe weren’t getting a meal last year have the chance to but as an organization they can’t just keep growing. Read more
As I step up onto my soap box, disgusted with the way some folks are running their business, I look to the future of our world where we support the companies who are growing our community and we avoid like the plague businesses just out to make money.
1. You can’t just make money anymore
Underwhelming leadership, a reactive approach to technology, and a communications strategy that hasn’t evolved since 1999. This is the sorry state most nonprofits find themselves in. Leadership’s difficult to change, technology changes too much to understand, and marketing teams with a bad case of the “but it’s what we’ve always done!’s” syndrome.
You’re worse off than you thought if you don’t admit to having a problem.
The good news is that there is hope for you. Change isn’t fatal, not adapting is. Below are three thoughts on why I think many nonprofits are becoming obsolete. Agree or disagree, let me know in the comments below.
1. It’s never been easier to create a nonprofit.
It’s easier to start a business today, for and not for profit, than it was 20 years ago. The fact that you can start a nonprofit without leaving your couch (over simplification) is bound to increase the amount of entities that are started. The ease of entry to the market has caused an influx of nonprofits starting and subsequently dying before they had the chance to see the light of day all because some other organization with a more pressing issue moved into town. They cannibalize the publics’ wallet share for donations, with more and more organizations asking people for charitable dollars, the more difficult it is for charities to acquire the donations they used to collect with little to no effort.
Solution: Create loyalty. I weird concept for a nonprofit? Not anymore. How do you create loyal contributors? How do you increase repeat donations? How do you set up a referral engine for giving? Every organization is a little different but if you can Answer these questions for your nonprofit and you’re half way there. Keep reading for the other half.
2. There’s a nonprofit overseas needs more help than yours does.
The worldwide need for nonprofits is much more apparent. We communicate worldwide in real time now, problems on the other side of the world are now our problems too. As we learned with “Kony 2012”, within a couple clicks (or Retweets) I can see what some of the most important issues are today. And yes, we’re not always right in our first impression and sometimes we support organizations which later we regret (insert Kony 2012 into this category).
In the future we’re going to be exposed to the horrors of our world overseas and in the furtherest places on Earth from where we currently reside. Geography doesn’t matter. When humans need help on the other side of the world wallets begin opening and all those charity dollars that went to the local chapter of the Lions club all of a sudden left the city, province and country.
Solution: Make an emotion connection with the problem you’re solving and the intended audience. The only reason donor dollars are going out of country is that there is a major perceived(real or fake) need for aid in other parts of the world. Rarely do local nonprofits make a compelling case as to why you should donate to your local food bank versus feeding children in a third world country. Find peoples heart strings and gently tug on them. First and foremost we Canadians need to ensure the wellbeing of our people so that in the future we can help other areas of the world.
3. We’re all looking for something to believe in and your organization isn’t doing it for me anymore.
As countries develop and generations get older, people look for ways to feel fulfilled, a purpose per se. This is getting increasingly more difficult. But more and more people are looking for alternative ways to get that rush in the bottom of their stomachs. That moment when you realize you’ve actually changed someones’ life for the better. Volunteering for an organization is one way to achieve this feeling.
Our world isn’t about to get less confusing (quite the opposite actually) and “giving back” is still an easy way to get that feeling that you’re putting a dent in the universe. With the decline of traditional spiritual/religious paths, the Y Generation and Millennials need a new outlet to find their own spirituality, a feeling found through serving others. But we’re not loyal to a fault. If your mission is getting stale, if your strategy has never evolved, if you’re behind on technology, you’re giving people a great reason to check out your competition.
Nobody wants to board a ship that’s sailing nowhere.
Solution: Define (or redefine) your why. The reason your nonprofit exists. Develop the model of how you’re going to scale the impact you’re creating. Remember, a nonprofits ‘brand’ isn’t the logo or the advertising, or the website, the ‘brand’ is what the organization has done. Events ran, program put on, people affected. If you want a forward thinking brand set a BHAG, empower your people, try new initiatives, acquire feedback, and constantly improve upon last quarters results. Simple as that.
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