PEI

Professionalism in the non-profit sector leading to big growth

The non-profit sector on P.E.I. has grown rapidly over the last decade, and a representative of non-profit groups credits a more professional attitude both in the government and in the sector itself.

'There's a whole generation now who are driven more by meaning'

With new government policies groups can have more confidence in their year-to-year funding, says Marcia Carroll. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

The non-profit sector on P.E.I. has grown rapidly over the last decade, and a representative of non-profit groups credits a more professional attitude both in the government and in the sector itself.

From 2007-17, the GDP of the non-profit sector grew 43 per cent, while incomes grew 45 per cent.

Marcia Carroll, a founding member of the Community Sector Network of P.E.I., said there have been significant changes in the province since an auditor general's report criticized the government for being too ad hoc in its approach to funding.

"From one year to the next we didn't know if we were ever getting the money," said Carroll of the previous system.

"Agencies know from year to year what to expect. There's formal contracts signed and you have to meet your outcomes or make a good argument as to why you haven't."

The sector has also benefited from professionalization within the sector, said Carroll. Charities are not run part-time by mom and pop, she said, or by people looking to get experience before moving into the corporate world.

"There's a whole generation now who are driven more by meaning," said Carroll.

"There's lots of innovation and lots of creativity of how they run the non-profit sector and the organizations within that sector, which has then turned into really professionalizing the sector."

Another factor is how technology has opened up fundraising. With sites such as GoFundMe, fundraising on P.E.I. can become an international endeavour.

Nationally, the non-profit sector represents 8.5 per cent of GDP, and Statistics Canada reports it is higher than that on P.E.I.

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About the Author

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

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