The Manitoba Federation of Non-Profit Organization Inc. is the umbrella body for a network of non-profit community-based organizations, coalitions, and groups. We bring non-profits together to work on common challenges, identify opportunities, and build our collective strength. Our partnerships have a range of services and activities to help ensure healthy organizations.
We’re a dynamic and egalitarian network built with social inclusion and transparent decision-making in mind. There are more than 8,000 registered non-profits in Manitoba but the MFNPO treats the sector as a whole rather than as discrete pieces.
Our board members are drawn from a variety of organizations, including many of our sub-sectors, and vary from year to year. Currently we have board members from social services, health organizations, organized labour, First Nations, new Canadians, and business associations.
As we are the human resource sector council for the non-profit sector we are involved as an active member of the Alliance of Manitoba Sector Councils
Neil Cohen, Executive Director, Community Unemployed Help Centre, was one of the founding members of the MFNPO and served on the board of directors during its early stages.
“While its various labour force development and capacity building initiatives are critically important to non-profit organizations,” Cohen says, “MFNPO also serves to raise awareness of the important social and economic role played by the non-profit sector within Manitoba. With increased devolution of labour market training to the provinces, the MFNPO is integral to the ongoing development, sustainability and health of Manitoba’s nonprofit sector and the communities we serve.”
The MFNPO can also help stakeholders make use of Manitoba’s diverse population. As Board Member Florence Okwudili points out, the government can move beyond just using cultural communities to provide cultural services and let these communities actually assist in enriching and building the province.
“The cultural communities are asking ‘How can we help?’ Use us, we want to help, tell us what to do.’”
The MFNPO is a place for networking and learning. We provide assistance to facilitate, research, and organize, and we help build awareness in the role non-profits play in the lives of Manitobans. We focus on the workplace and the workforce of the sector. By helping build quality sustainable workforces, we want to strengthen large and small non-profit organizations, now and in the future.
In 1998, interested parties looked at the state of the non-profit sector and realized there were problems. It was clear that organizations, whether informal or formal, incorporated or grassroots, might not be able to survive in the long-term.
As current MFNPO Co-Chair Martin Itzkow said at the time, “there was no voice for the sector. The visibility of the sector was fairly weak.” There was little understanding about the actual contributions of the non-profit sector to Manitoba.
The issues went beyond money. Funders needed to talk about a different vision of how money would flow to the sector. And, non-profits had to get involved in long-term planning.
So, in May, 2002, in an effort to improve the sector’s effectiveness and long-term sustainability, the Manitoba Voluntary Sector Initiative (MVSI) was launched with funding from the Winnipeg Foundation and the Federal Government. Further support was provided by the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, Arts Stabilization Manitoba, the United Way of Winnipeg, and The Thomas Sill Foundation.
The MVSI was designed to identify issues and promote discussion, and a lot was learned in its three year mandate.
It was apparent that the non-profit sector had to organize and build sufficient collective strength to exert meaningful influence on government and other funders. Collaboration was necessary in order to find new sources of funding, pool existing sources, or reduce service duplication.
It was clear that any strategies would have to be “pan-Manitoban,” with rural and urban representation. And although the government was increasingly aware of the challenges facing the sector, that awareness hadn’t yet translated into comprehensive understanding. Many organizations continued to struggle with insecure and inadequate funding, for example. As well, there would have to be more working partnerships with business and organized labour.
There was a need for an organization built around a common vision, one that would promote the sector’s considerable contribution to the social and economic well-being in Manitoba and help develop new ways of relating to government and other stakeholders.
The Manitoba Federation of Non-Profit Organizations was formed to build on the momentum of the MVSI.
The Province of Manitoba has been supporting the MFNPO through the Department of Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade over the past three years. The Honourable Peter Bjornson said “Our partnership with the MFNPO has been critical in developing a comprehensive Workforce Development Strategy for our province. With the help of the MFNPO, we are addressing issues specific to the non-profit sector including an aging workforce, recruitment and retention of employees, and skills gaps in areas such as human resource development, management and leadership.
“By investing in education and training opportunities, the MFNPO is making a significant contribution to the sector, the provincial economy and most of all to the quality of life for all Manitobans.”
Take a look around the site and see how we can help make your non-profit more sustainable and more effective now and in the future. We offer skills workshops and training, HR peer learning networks, many types of toolkits, sector-wide working groups, research events and materials, learning events, and ways to contact and share with other non-profits.
Membership in the MFNPO is free. By joining the MFNPO as a Member, your organization can help the non-profit sector demonstrate its importance to the economy and to the community. Together, we can engage governments, business, and the community-at-large what support the sector needs to continue playing a vital role throughout Manitoba.
Individuals can also register with our new social networking tool. Just click on the link to learn how to become a member.