Community Group Needs Assessment released by the Community Foundation of Whistler
The passion, dedication and commitment of staff and volunteers are the greatest strengths of local nonprofit organizations. While this drives the great work they do, they are also experiencing challenges in recruiting and retaining great people to get involved.
The high cost of living and difficulty in securing housing coupled with the struggle to find operating funds makes it a tough go for many organizations. While this is a challenge for all businesses in Whistler, it may be felt most acutely in the non-profit sector where operating budgets are already lean.
Building a strong community starts with knowledge.
The Community Foundation of Whistler works to build a strong community and one important way we do this is by supporting local non-profit organizations. We wanted to learn more about the needs of local nonprofits and how we can best support their work in creating impact in the community.
We recently surveyed local nonprofit organizations and received 43 responses.
Highlights of the findings:
- 595 people are employed by nonprofit community organizations
- 63% of organizations do not provide health care benefits for staff
- 43% report the challenge of financial capacity as having serious impact or as very problematic for their organization.
- Lack of sustainable funding, particularly for operational funding, is one of their greatest challenges, especially as funding does not keep up with the increase in costs and demands on services
- Difficulty in communicating key messages to a wider audience is also a top challenge identified
- Many groups identified space constraints as a limitation to their ability to grow or to provide effective programming.
- The top three choices for additional support needed are:
- Operational funding
- Support and training for collaboration
- Access to professional support including: professional marketing, legal, accounting and administrative supports.
“(Our organization’s)biggest challenges are finding adequate funding for the growing demands on the organization in terms of administration, marketing and operations.” - Survey respondent
“The Foundation hopes that the report will help the broader community to better understand the challenges faced by the nonprofit sector. These organizations are often dealing with some of the community’s most complex and challenging issues, such as hunger, abuse, mental health issues, disabilities, social inequity etc. yet they struggle to find the funds to pay for their programming and to keep the passionate people who are the heart and soul of their ability to create community impact.”- Carol Coffey, Executive Director
The Community Foundation of Whistler is one tool through which community members can donate to support long term funding for local organizations.
Whistler has a vibrant nonprofit sector, however; we know from the 2016 Whistler Vital Signs report that the community is experiencing a time of growth and change and this is challenging the sector. The Foundation will be working further with local nonprofits to facilitate collaboration and access to supports.