Connection, understanding, and collaboration

When I started this job, I devoted time to a road trip across B.C. I wanted to visit and speak with as many Federation members as possible. I wanted to learn about your needs, goals, worries, and ideas. I wanted to start the job by connecting with and understanding this Federation.

One of the things I heard over and over was that there are too many umbrella organizations in our province. Our members worried—and still worry—that umbrella organizations aren’t coordinating with one another or doing things collaboratively; you worry that we will look disorganized or get tuned out by people tired of the cacophony of voices saying different things.

3rd Voice is an attempt to unify those voices in support of community wellbeing. It is an initiative that The Federation has been a part of from the start. This initiative is bringing together the diverse groups representing community-serving organizations to coordinate our messaging, efforts, and energy.

Last week, 3rd Voice held its inaugural conference. The speakers at the event were engaged and well-informed about the work this group is setting out to do. They noted that the kind of collaboration we are striving for can be hard to achieve. It takes time, they explained, to develop the trust and understanding required to work together with intention and honesty.

Working with others for the benefit of our communities is one of The Federation’s strategic priorities; it is one way that we measure our progress and our impact. I am proud of The Federation’s participation in 3rd Voice. As a result, I now count a number of new and strong working relationships with other allies focused on social change in B.C.

Last week’s 3rd Voice conference was a big step forward on a path we committed to several years ago. We have much work ahead of us but it was a very good start. And I am excited about our new allies and our commitment to work together, in unison, to better serve B.C.’s communities.

New Directions, New Reports

New Directions is another initiative The Federation has been involved in for a while. We have served on the advisory committee of New Directions for a number of years helping guide the group to the place it is today.

They recently released a new report full of data and information that may benefit Federation members. This project was focused on the broader array of non-profits in B.C. (e.g., social services, faith groups, recreation, arts groups) but speaks to the way the community social service sector contributes to B.C.

Their research is detailed and thorough and could be a helpful source of information when you’re working on grant proposals or writing your annual report.

New Directions is currently working on their next steps: developing key messages speaking to their research, overall trends, and the impact of B.C.’s non-profits. You can find the reports online at I hope you can put them to good use.