This is Marcel Lauzière's response to the question, What are you skating towards in 2012?
Talking to Canadians
Coming out of the National Summit for the Charitable and Nonprofit Sector in December, a number of key priorities will be worked on in the coming year. Of all of these, I am most passionate about the need for a new narrative for our sector. I say that, because I doubt that we will make much headway on any of the other fronts until we have rethought the way we talk to Canadians about what we are all about. The rest will follow.
This is about speaking eloquently about our desire and our ability to better serve Canadians and communities here and around the world; to build a better quality of life for all; to provide means of engaging Canadians; and to helping build our economy. And it is about helping to create that essential sense of belonging that Canadians appear to be yearning for so much.
This is not about positioning the sector for the sake of it. It is about talking to Canadians in a new way. One in which we will better explain our role and contributions and articulate more clearly what we need to be able to do our work.
This new narrative must allow us to be better resourced, to attract the best talent, and to ensure that we have the wherewithal to do our work with impact. This is about moving away from our current narrative that focuses so much on our ability to do nice things, to one that recognizes the essential role that we play in making our society and our economy run.
Society is changing and charities and nonprofits are now more important than ever.
We are in search of talent and skills, of sustainability, of ways to better measure outcomes, of better ways to govern ourselves to be more effective and build the confidence of Canadians, of better service to our communities.
Our narrative must be exciting, strengths-based and visionary. While it must not be self-serving, it must not be apologetic or tentative.
If we are to be effective, we need the tools to do so. Let's no shy away from saying so. Business has no qualms talking about the environment it needs to make the economy thrive (lower taxes, less red tape, the right skills, effective trade agreements, etc.).
We need an environment that allows us to be more financially sustainable and one that allows us to give voice to Canadians without fear of reprisal. We need an environment with less red tape in which risk and innovation can happen. And of course we need an environment that will allow us to attract the skills required to do our work successfully.
At the end of the day, we will only be truly successful in supporting our communities if we have what we need to do the job. Let's talk to Canadians passionately and in a way that will build that understanding of what we are all about and what is needed to drive great outcomes.
Marcel Lauzière is President and CEO of Imagine Canada.
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Blog @ Imagine Canada | http://blog.imaginecanada.ca
Note: I am releasing individual essays from the collection, What are you skating towards in 2012? Upcoming contributions are by Donna Thomson, Peter Block, Mark Anielski. You can access the accumulated essays here.