Finding our Voice through an Affiliate Model

The Manitoba Federation of Non-Profit Organizations is looking at enhancing services to the non-profit sector and funding those enhancements through a voluntary, paid affiliate model. MFNPO is currently funded as a sector council by the provincial government. As a sector council, MFNPO is funded to focus exclusively on training and skills development for the non-profit sector.

“We’ve had some comments from non-profit organizations about providing more services,” says MFNPO Co-Chair Sandra Oakley. “I think there is a very real appetite in the sector for more programs to help non-profits and their leaders to perform better.”

With limited funds, MFNPO can only offer so much, says Oakley, so MFNPO is exploring the possibility of asking non-profits to pay a $100 affiliate fee to access a wider range of services while bolstering the Federation. “The model would be similar to the Manitoba Federation of Labour or the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce,” says Oakley. “MFNPO would be underpinned by a network of strong and engaged non-profits of all sizes.”

In October, MFNPO circulated an email survey to gather input from the sector about what services could be offered. Oakley expects that the results will validate current ideas and unearth some new ones. “We want to be able to provide more educational programs like ‘lunch-and-learn’ sessions that will reach broader audiences,” says Oakley. “We want to be seen as a primary source of information and education for people in the non-profit sector. To do that successfully, we need to offer more programs throughout the year.”

It is also expected that affiliates will have access to special events, access to expert advice, and will enjoy reduced fees on certain training programs. Oakley also believes that a sustainable affiliate model will help MFNPO serve as a more credible voice in the community.

“With the resources generated by the model and the sense of renewal we will feel as a Federation, we can represent the sector and advocate on its behalf more effectively,” says Oakley. A voluntary paid affiliate model, if advanced, will launch some time later in 2018.

“We’re excited about this initiative because if we’re successful, we will be a stronger voice for the sector,” says Oakley. “The non-profit sector is changing rapidly. The affiliate program will help turn many non-profits into active participants in keeping MFNPO nimble, responsive, and increasingly relevant.”