Friday, July 10, 2009

Nonprofits: A Growth Sector in Canada: Part II

Database Management, Consultants, Staffing and Branding

Despite large operating budgets, the bigger Canadian charities don't invest so much into IT such as economical database or web-based CRM programs that they could use to help with volunteer management, according to Artez Interactive CEO Philip King. Though mom-and-pop businesses are being employed by a few charities, “Few sophisticated, modern businesses have turned their attention to the charitable sector,” he says.

According to, the top 1% of nonprofits in Canada that have large budgets and earn about 59% of all revenue have too many consultants as it is. And 42% of Canadian charities operate with $30,000 or less. Charity consultant Alex Gill points to mid-sized charities as having potential because they are looking for efficient ways to improve their operations.

One area these groups may be willing to invest in is consultants and staff for projects in areas such as finance, fundraising and HR; if there are quality professionals available for less money. These may be easier to find in the current economy.

Another area is branding. Even though some ad agencies will work pro-bono for nonprofits, some charities are willing to invest in paying an agency that specializes in their sector and can work within a limited budget to develop the organization's identity.

However, King cautions that it takes awhile to build up a trusting work relationship with many charities and those groups are not so free with spending money. On the other hand, “For smart, patient people, it’s a good business — and a rewarding business,” he says.

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