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The Greatest Challenge Facing the Non-Profit Sector

Posted by on Jun 6, 2018 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

According to Imagine Canada, the non-profit sector includes over 170,000 charitable and non-profit organizations with 85,000 of those being registered charities. Imagine Canada highlights that the charitable and non-profit sector contributes an average of 8.1% of total Canadian GDP, more than the retail trade industry and close to the value of the mining, oil and gas extraction industry. Over 13 million people volunteer and two million people work in the non-profit sector. This sector is under increasing pressure to address multiple needs in a variety of communities across Canada while having limited resources. Yet, resources are only one challenge facing the non-profit sector. Based on a review of the literature it is clear that the non-profit sector is facing numerous challenges in addition to ongoing financial challenges. In January 2016, Joanne Cave wrote an article in The Philanthropist identifying 5 key trends facing the non-profit sector. These trends are still relevant today. They include: Investment in leadership development and capacity-building; Increased emphasis on ‘decent work’ and best practices in human resources; The social finance and social innovation tipping point;   Shared platforms and administrative outsourcing; and New frontiers for technology and data management. I would add a sixth trend to this list:   Increased emphasis on social enterprise development. In this blog, I am going to discuss the first challenge: “Investment in leadership development and capacity-building” because I believe this is the greatest challenge facing the non-profit sector over the next decade. The complexity of leading non-profits has become increasingly challenging and will continue to do so in the future. Non-profits are faced with complex issues including operating within an uncertain funding environment; an expectation from funders to partner with other providers who are also competitors for funding; continued increase in community needs; an expectation of ongoing evaluation and increased public accountability; complex human resources issues such as unionization, staff retention, and provincial staff training expectations; increased competition for limited funds; increased pressure to merge agencies; an expectation to create and operate innovative social enterprises; and a growing need to use technology without corresponding funds to support the purchase the required technology. And these are only a few of the challenges of operating a successful non-profit. Non-profit leaders have tended to grow up within the non-profit sector, having pursued education and training in social services, social work, community services, and other non-profit sectors. Most current leaders have begun their careers at the front-line level and have grown into their management positions, with limited formal management training. To respond to today’s and tomorrow’s growing non-profit leadership challenges, business schools are increasingly adding full-time and part-time courses for the non-profit leader. In the future, we will be seeing more and more MBA...

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Is mental health in the workplace finally sexy? A collection of resources you should be using.

Posted by on May 9, 2018 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

When I googled this question, I found 3,230,000 results… so the answer seems to be yes. It’s certainly something people are talking about. These numbers got me thinking. I’d like to address why this is, and how we can continue to promote a mentally healthy workplace. First, let’s look at the reasons why people are talking about it. The Mental Health Commission of Canada states that “the total cost from mental health problems to the Canadian economy exceeds $50 billion annually”. The Commission went on to say that, in 2011, mental health problems and illnesses among working adults in Canada cost employers more than $6 billion in lost productivity. This alone is a great reason to be talking about mental health in the workplace. The Commission found that “70 percent of Canadian employees are concerned about the psychological health and safety of their workplace, and 14 percent don’t think theirs is healthy or safe at all. Such workplaces can take a detrimental personal toll as well as contribute to staggering economic costs.” Based on these facts, the Commission has taken a lead role in helping businesses respond to this issue. They have developed a number of exciting tools and resources that all workplaces should be familiar with and try to incorporate into their workplace. They include: The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace (the Standard) A voluntary set of guidelines, tools, and resources to guide organizations in promoting mental health and preventing psychological harm at work. Supporting the implementation of the Standard – In all industries Resources to help organizations create more mentally healthy work environments. Case Study Research Project of over 40 organizations to identify and understand promising practices for implementing the Standard. Assembling the Pieces Toolkit a free online toolkit to support organizations working to implement the Standard. Training tools Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) Canada helps employees and managers increase their awareness of the signs and symptoms of the most common mental health problems and know- how to help if a colleague begins to experience a mental health problem or crisis. Road to Mental Readiness (R2MR) is specifically designed for first responders to help reduce the stigma that often surrounds mental health problems and mental illness. The Working Mind (TWM) is intended to address and promote mental health and reduce the stigma of mental illness in a workplace setting, while increasing resiliency. Being a Mindful Employee: An Orientation to Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace is a free online course recommended for anyone interested in learning more about how you can contribute to positive mental health at work. Free Monthly webinars on workplace mental health promotion                                                             Learn more about the Commission’s monthly...

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Change when you are in a position of strength!

Posted by on Mar 6, 2018 in Osborne Insights Blogs | 0 comments

Most organizations are “allergic” to change. It is time-consuming, challenging and provokes stress among staff, Board, volunteers, and clients. Yet change is a way of life in today’s contemporary organizational life. The question is not “Whether to change?” but rather “When to change?” Charles Handy, Britain’s leading thinker on management and organizational change discusses change in a number of his books. In his latest book, The Second Curve; Thoughts on Reinventing Society, he uses the Second Curve concept to talk about reinventing society. The Second Curve highlights how all organizations change over time, whether they are countries, businesses or non-profits. The Second Curve is based on the sigmoid curve which is an S-shaped curve on its side. As organizations grow they rise up the curve. Eventually, all organizations peak and begin to decline. Research has shown that businesses used to have a lifespan of about 40 years before they went into decline or were taken over. In today’s world of rapid change, this span has decreased to about 14 years. But Handy states that this decline does not have to occur. Renewal can be planned if an organization is willing to “jump” onto a Second Curve. The best time to jump onto a Second Curve is when an organization is at the “top” of its game or high on the first curve. It can then use its positive momentum and strengths to make the jump to a “Second Curve”. All change takes energy and there is often a slowdown in productivity when a change occurs, but the growth upward can be quick if an organization makes the change when it is strong. Unfortunately, organizations often wait until there is a crisis and they are on the downward side of the growth curve before changing. At that point, the initial part of the change process takes the organization even farther down the curve before it begins to move upward again. In this case, an organization often not only loses productivity during the change process but when it waits until it is already in a downward slide it often goes backward for awhile before it begins to move forward and upward again. Handy’s primary premise is that it takes much less energy to change when an organization is in a position of strength and is successful than when it is in a position of weakness and in decline. Unfortunately, there is less drive to change when an organization is in a position of strength. Hence, it is very important to be aware of trends impacting your organization or sector and identifying when to move forward with change, even if things are going extremely well… Visit Osborne-group.com for other Principals’ ideas and opinions on a...

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