Thought Leadership

Choosing a federated non-profit funding model

Three “a-ha” tips for choosing a federated non-profit funding model.

Ramp Communications

Categories: Thought Leadership

December 9, 2019

Our bi-annual Federation Leaders’ Knowledge Exchange brings together senior executives from some of our country’s largest federated charities and non-profits. It’s a forum to discuss and share ideas, collaborate, and exchange best practices to improve capacity in the charitable sector.

This time around, we focused on how organizations should choose the best federated non-profit funding model for them. It’s a decision that affects the financial health of an organization, its overall success, and its future viability.

Our panel of speakers for the evening included Meghan Reddick from Habitat for Humanity Canada,  Kelly Grover from Cystic Fibrosis Canada and Cheryl McClellan from The Arthritis Society. They shared how their funding models evolved to reflect organizational changes and the new realities of fundraising.

Three “a-ha” tips for choosing a federated non-profit funding model

There is no one catch-all federated non-profit funding approach: Every federation’s funding model should meet its unique organizational needs. Just as each organization has its own mission, it also needs a critically thought-out funding model. Explore different funding models from across various organizations, weigh the strengths and challenges of each, then build a funding model that uniquely answers and works for you.

Federated charities and non-profits are legacy brands: Every federated organization has an origin story that should be embraced, acknowledged and leveraged to positively impact how you approach every day. Naming and recognizing your beginning will support all of your stakeholders through the change management process as your organization evolves its mission and the funding model needed to grow capacity for that mission.

Evolving your non-profit funding model takes time: It’s easy to get caught up in urgency, especially when other non-profits are making significant strides, overhauls and adjustments. Don’t blindly jump on the bandwagon.Think through the details of a funding model adjustment and be prepared to undertake the sustained continual effort needed to engage all of your stakeholders appropriately.One of your biggest strengths as a federation is the diversity of your stakeholders.Remind yourself (and them) about the time it takes to discover, explore and implement meaningful decisions to create a lasting change that sticks. 

One of the largest federated non-profits in Canada made a monumental decision to amalgamate, and even after six years, the transition was not fully complete. That might seem surprising at first but it’s important to manage expectations about what’s possible. A 12-way federation-wide merger cannot happen overnight or even in a few years. Evolution is SLOW. Sometimes a slow pace is what’s needed to ensure the right buy-in and an organizational-wide commitment for a successful consensus-based union. In simpler terms, be patient and don’t give up.

Know a senior leader at a federated non-profit? We’d love to have them at our next Federation Leaders’ Knowledge Exchange.

Send us a note for more details about getting on the list.


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