The State of BC's Non-Profit Sector


Have you read “Safety Net: 2023 State of BC’s Non-Profit Sector Report” yet? You can download it free here. The author, Vantage Point, along with its partners Vancouver Foundation, Victoria Foundation, Vancity Community Foundation and United Way BC surveyed over 750 organizations for the report and the key findings are troubling:

  1. post-pandemic organizations are doing more with less resources
  2. many are facing HR concerns tied to mental health, burnout, staff engagement, high turnover rates, and dwindling volunteers
  3. organizations are trying to stabilize, but with continued pressures how long can they last?

In BC, there are approximately 30,000 non-profit organizations employing roughly 335,000 people, which is just over 12% of the provincial workforce! That’s a big portion of the population facing challenges, and these are the front-line organizations doing important social, environmental and healthcare work that benefits us all.

From what we’ve seen over the years, non-profits tend to focus all of their resources into advancing their mission and increasing their impact, and it often comes at the expense of staff well-being. 

The “Safety Net” report cites 3 major calls to action, including investments in capacity building, along with workforce development and labour force strategies. So in that spirit we are offering 5 ways that non-profits can breathe some love into their organizations with recognition and appreciation:

  1. Cultivate a Culture of Recognition & Appreciation - for many organizations this requires a cultural shift in mindset that’s led by management. It means prioritizing gratitude and appreciation, and creating opportunities to recognize efforts, wins and accomplishments. It can be simple to start by saying thank you, sharing handwritten notes of gratitude, taking time in meetings to recognize the efforts and good work of teams and individuals, and can range all the way up to presenting recognition awards. The main point is to start acknowledging people’s efforts so that they feel valued and appreciated, and from there it will grow. Cultivate a culture of recognition and appreciation and you’ll be amazed by what follows! 

  2. Donor Recognition - with resources diminishing, donors are more important than ever. Taking the time to recognize donors and supporters can go a long way towards securing those relationships and attracting new donors. Recognizing your donors with personalized plaques may seem frivolous, but it’s important to also consider their marketing value. Presenting beautiful plaques will convey appreciation to your donors, while also helping to ensure the plaques are proudly displayed in highly visible locations like reception rooms or front desks. In turn, this creates a lot of awareness and marketing value when you consider the number of people that will see the plaques in the years to come, with each one learning about your organization’s mission and your ability to show gratitude and appreciation. 

  3. Volunteer Recognition - Volunteers play a crucial role in non-profit organizations, and recognizing their contributions is essential. Implementing a volunteer recognition program that expresses gratitude for their time and effort, while also highlighting their collective impact and progress, is a great way to energize and engage your volunteers. This might involve hosting volunteer appreciation events, sending personalized thank-you notes and gifts, or showcasing their achievements on the organization's website or social media platforms. By recognizing your volunteers, you build a culture of appreciation, which can uplift morale, encourage retention, and attract new volunteers to your organization. 

  4. Communication and Leadership - for insight into an organization’s values, check out the things they choose to recognize and celebrate. With thought and intention, recognition can be a great way to share and communicate what is important to your organization. If you value kindness, or determination, or community service, then find ways to recognize people that live these values. It lets your stakeholders know that these qualities are important to the world you want to create, which can in turn attract more people that share your values and support your impact. 

  5. Start a formal recognition plan - Develop a structured recognition program that acknowledges and appreciates the efforts of staff members and volunteers. This program could include regular awards, certificates of appreciation, public recognition, or small tokens of appreciation like extra time off or a special paid lunch. By creating a formal recognition plan, you not only signal that employee contributions are valuable and appreciated, you also boost morale and motivate individuals to continue their important work.

Recognition is a powerful tool that is often overlooked and untapped, though it has the potential to uplift and transform any organization and its people. Recognition doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact it’s best when it’s simple and fun. If you’d like to get started but don’t know where to turn, we’re here to help with anything you need.

Want some help getting started?

If you have further questions or things that you’ve learned, we encourage you to get in touch with us as we’re always here to help you recognize and appreciate your people, while also honoring our planet! Wishing you all the best in the year ahead — happy gathering and celebrating!

Give us a call or send an email to start a conversation. Tell us about your project or ideas. We are at your service and always happy to share our experience!

Why choose Eclipse Awards?

At Eclipse, sustainability is a priority, not an afterthought. All of our awards and trophies are designed and produced with nature in mind and we focus on organic, natural, and recycled materials like wood and glass. We are also committed to avoiding plastics, acrylics, and toxic chemicals wherever possible.

Eclipse Awards is 100% powered by green energy, including solar energy from our rooftop solar panels. We are carbon neutral and we plant 2 trees for every award we make.

Read more about our sustainability values and commitments here