COVID-19 Recovery Meeting: Not for Profit

3 months ago

The Prince Edward Chamber of Commerce, The Picton BIA, and The Municipal Business & Economy Task Team, in cooperation with the Municipal Community Services, Programs & Initiatives Department, have partnered to bring more coordinated resources to the business owners of Prince Edward County during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Part of the strategy to provide resources, and to have a line of direct contact with the business community, is a series of Industry-Focused Meetings which will take place via Zoom on Tuesday and Thursday mornings at 10am.

COVID-19 RECOVERY MEETING: NOT FOR PROFIT - MAY 5, 2020

Mike Harper, Councillor – Welcome to everyone on the call and thank you for coming. We’ve been doing these calls for a few weeks now. We are trying to understand the short and long term issues that you are facing. We may not get to everything you want to cover today. Mike identified people who are participating in the call and briefed callers on protocol. We have a number of people on the line who have been involved in this. Our job is really to identify the key issues and challenges that you face. This won’t be the last time we come to you for advice. Anything you want to pass along, please contact us.

Mike to callers – What is your industry and the impact and your needs going forward? What are the top issues and the short term, long term issues that you face?

Mike – go ahead Carol Babcock

Carol – I’m from Wesley Acres and it is a Ministry. It is a campground. The issues are when will we be able to meet/congregate in groups, fundraising, donations. It is a tough message when every NFP is seeking funding and it is difficult to get it.

Mike – I know that one of the main issues for all of you NFP’s is money. We do understand that is the root of the challenge.

Mike - to Shannon Coull

Shannon – I’m the Executive Director for the PECMHF – our challenges are that we are definitely struggling, like everyone else. Maybe not as much as everyone else as our services are tied to the pandemic and serving the people affected by it. The challenge is what are we going to do to offset the events that are cancelled and generate donations. Our strategy right now is to solicit individual donations, so we are contacting those people. History shows that charities that focus on nurturing these relationships will be that much stronger after the crisis is passed. It seems counterintuitive but it has ben shown that donations will increase as a result after the crisis. We are hearing that the hospitals are not experiencing as many COVID related patients as they expected and we are doing a really good job of keeping it at bay. The fact that it is still a threat is true and we have to keep on top of that. Right now the hospitals are empty – so the QHC are encouraging people to come to the hospital if they require it. The hospitals are safe and they are cleaner then they have every been. People should continue to seek help.

Melanie Dailey – Hospice Prince Edward – fundraising is probably one of our biggest challenges and we are not able to support our clients in program delivery in the way that we would like to be. We are supporting them with facetime and phone calls. It is difficult to keep our volunteers engaged. So fundraising and volunteer engagement are our biggest challenges right now.

Mike to Melanie – how do you think you may have to change your approach going forward?

Melanie – that is not clear to us – it is unknown at this time.

Krista Dalby – I am the Artistic Director of The Department of Illumination – obviously events are hugely impacted and most events are being cancelled 6 months out. We are hoping for the best and expecting the worst. At this time our next big event is the Lantern Festival in November so we are waiting until August to decide on that. One of the big issues for us is that we applied for a community grant and we would like to find out if there is room to defer the funds if we receive the grant. We are trying to pivot and are doing some online things.

Mike – I want to follow up on the issue of volunteers – is volunteerism an issue for your sector?

Krista – we rely hugely on volunteers. Up to 500 hours per year. Also we rely a lot on sponsorship from local businesses and we can only assume that those funds will not be available this year.

Mike – is Karen Fischer on the line?

Karen – I am the Chair of Wellers Bay – a charitable organization that relies on donations and we focus on the community around Wellers Bay. We have one event a year scheduled around August and we don’t see how that event can happen this year. There are a lot of seasonal members that would attend that event that won’t be happening. How do we reach out from an AGM perspective? We were in the process of developing our strategic plan but we have no way to communicate that out. Our main focus is around environment and education for the Wellers Bay issues. Funding is not really an issue because we have a fairly steady group of people that sign up every year. (her connection kept breaking up so lost some of what she said)

Mike – is Debbie MacDonald Moynes here? Give us a quick example of what you focus on?

Debbie – PEC Community Care for Seniors Foundation & Thrift Store– We are partially funded by the government. We have been closed to the public since March 13th and we have been launching programs and onboarding 30 new volunteers. Over time we have started other programs that we stopped ie . the income tax program. Everything is modified of course. We also operate a store and it has been closed since March 13 and we are still paying the expenses and we are not able to open that yet. Our volunteers really want to get back there but they are all over 70 so it is not advisable. It is challenging keeping up with all the programs and trying to make sure that people are aware of what we are doing and what is available to them.

Mike – what is your challenge of getting volunteers?

Debbie -it’s been different now because people don’t have a lot to do. So you don’t need as many volunteers because so many people are much more available and I don’t think that will continue. I am encouraged that the new volunteers coming on now plan to stay with us, according to my staff. There are going to be unexpected expenses that we are going to have to come up with a way to pay for. Ie plexiglass shields, etc.

Mike - lets go to Alexandra Seay

Alexandra – I’m the new GM at The Regent Theatre – Chief issue for us is paying the bills once we reopen since we have been able to defer some. And the other concern is that we are a gathering space and how will we gather and what will that look like. It is causing us to pivot on what we are offering. We are a NFP and a Charity. There is a trend that has been accelerated of streaming which bypasses us. We are concerned about what will happen in the future as we previously had exclusive access to certain events that now we do not. I think it will start with a smaller group within the space. We are looking into streaming for us and maybe having a jewel event where there is a small group in the theatre and the event is streamed. We are facing challenges with volunteers and are hoping to get Co-op students but we don’t currently have access to Co-op students.

Mike to Jefferson – what are some of the macro challenges you are seeing for the NFP sector?

Jefferson – the big thing we are seeing is that a lot of the NFP’s in the area are very important to our community. I also am affiliated with the Library Association. We are seeing issues as all have mentioned with revenue – fundraising, donations, and grants. We are a member of the Canadian Community Foundation – we are being updated on upcoming programs but nothing is coming through yet.

Mike – the idea of program delivery and the need to shift to online – any thoughts on this?

Jefferson – we are really now seeing the problem with rural bandwith – it is not that we weren’t aware of it but now it is more important than ever.

Mike – I see Kathy Kennedy has joined us – can you comment? What do you see the short and long term challenges are and how that might impact how you do your operate?

Kathy – We are happy that we have been able to maintain our provincial and federal funding although for everyone the community funding is an issue. One thing we have done is make sure that all of our employees are on the benefits plan. We are committed to online training and want to pivot some of our resources to allow people to operate online. Our challenge going forward will be receiving local economic information and providing resources to people in the community. We have some recent experience as we have retooled our income tax service to offer that online. We now have 10 volunteers available to offer that service with zoom, google, etc. It was an interesting experience and maybe a case study. We are looing at bringing tutors online but it certainly takes longer.

Mike - to Elis Ziegler

Elis Ziegler – I’m with Picton Town Hall – we are effectively in limbo. Most of the organizations that were using the space were smaller and we are completely non operational. Whatever trajectory we are on is effectively very different for the NFP occupying the lower level and then also the upper level. We have a large space but we are going to have to try to catch up and see what role we will play in the community in the future.

Mike - to Janet Reader Day

Janet – Current president of the Quilters Guild – We do like to have monthly meetings and we are a small group. Our 2 main events have been deferred or cancelled. I don’t have any answers.

Mike – we are conscious of time – we have 20 mins left, we will talk to Sandy Latchford next, the head of the Mayors Economic Response Team

Sandra Latchford – I don’t have questions as the people on the call have answered many of the questions that I had. It is encouraging to hear that NFP’s are pivoting their services. My concern is regarding the bandwith across the County as Jefferson mentioned. Thank you.

Mike - to Christine Searle and do you want to jump in?

Christine – the issues of going online – I am facing that myself and I can appreciate it. Training people to uses online platforms is a challenge. Rural bandwith is a huge huge issue. Maintaining relationships with your volunteers and funders. Retooling is also an issue. How can we work more collaboratively among our NFP’s to assist in getting services out to people. Maybe we need to work together more in different sections and divisions.

Mike to Councillor Bill Roberts – some quick questions

Bill – Very interesting, very helpful. Does anyone have a roster of our NFP’s in the County? Jefferson is there a one stop shop for that info. Jefferson indicated he has a list of 130 organizations.

Debbie – if you go to Ontario211 you can get that info.

Bill – Does anyone have a sense of how many of our county volunteers are in the vulnerable age range? And the economic impacts?

Trevor – we have access to some of that data

Kathy – I think that is an interesting question – the federal funding for this year has remained in place but the concerns are the funding for next year. I would be interested in seeing that information

Bill – I would think that is the strongest economic driver

Mike – Anne Preston go ahead

Anne – I’m with County Kids Read – ours is a very grassroot project. We give free books to children and families that are in need. One thing is that our operational model has to completely change in the short term. Our delivery of books – we have had to change our delivery model. We are still giving out books, making sure they are sanitized. Second our issue is funding. This situation has made the children we assist more vulnerable as many of them do not have access to internet, etc. Our volunteers are solid.

Mike - to Gillian Maloney

Gillian – I’m the Chair of the Baxter Arts Institute – this was going to be a major year for us. We really depend on our paid programs to keep running. We need to put in a ramp and we had hired on a paid employee. Our challenge is that we are an arts institute and going online is a challenge in a tactile industry. We have many programs that run through the summer. What is a small group? What can we introduce? How can we ask the same people for money after all of this is over?

Mike – how will you manage that tactile issue in your industry?

Gilliam – we will have to manage it. We have to help the various artists to put programs together that at least keeps us visible until we can open up.

Mike – anyone who would like to speak? Councillor Phil St. Jean

Phil – thank you Mike and everyone on the call. I wear a few hats in our community. I want to talk about how this affects some of the service clubs in our community, like Picton Kinsmen. With regards to service clubs we are experiencing loss of revenue due to loss of events. In our particular case, 2 of our largest events were cancelled early on. Our golf tournament and a BBQ. All of those involve large groups and that is a similar issue for service clubs. All of the revenue that those service groups generate go directly back into the community. We are still struggling with that, like all of you. I am looking to the province for direction and there is the issue of PPE. Access to PPE when our volunteers are interacting with the public at these events like BBQ’s. It’s not all bad though, one of the best things to come out of this is that people are addicted to bingo and we are one of the only groups that can do our bingo on tv and we have been able to generate a small amount of revenue from that. I don’t like to focus on the bad things. We also manage the community channel for Eastlink tv. We work with Debbie and we are expanding on that and working with Eastlink. I think we all recognize that we will have to change going forward. One of the sectors not represented in this call are the Legions (3) – they host other service clubs and I am going to encourage Sandy Latchford to reach out to the heads of those legions for information from them since they are not on the call. If you wish to talk to me, please contact me.

Mike – we have one minute left. 3 themes rising to the top – program delivery and rethinking that, bandwith, rethinking fundraising. Shannon, do you want to comment?

Shannon – I have several resources that I would like to share with our fellow fundraisers. There are several networks and webinars coming up. We are hosting a free webinar next Wednesday and I will send out the links. It’s specifically about recreating an amazing donor experience and how we do that now and how it will affect fundraising in the future. We have several fundraising events but it is not our bread and butter. Start focusing on individual relationships that you have with your donors and that will benefit you in the future. The Ontario NFP network has free webinars and people are changing the way they offer services. Many organizations are starting to deliver free webinars for NFP’s. There is also a Facebook group for Canadian charities and it is a great networking tool and resource. It is very active. She shared her screen to show us thebetterfundraisingco. We are in phase 1 (the bump) and are going into phase 2 (the slump) then phase 3 (the surge) then the New Normal. In 2021 you may see more funds coming in than you ever have if you are able to survive this crisis while nurturing the relationships you have with your donors. That’s historical data – that’s what happened after the recession of 2008.

Mike – that is a lovely way to end this. Thanks to everybody. Great session. Feel free to reach out to those of us on the Mayor’s ERT. We are here to help. Most importantly we are here to listen and learn.

Sarah – is it okay if we share all of your info with the group. Yes great.


CHAT WINDOW comments below:

From Emily Cowan to Everyone: 10:00 AM

Apparently I have a terrible connection...

From TrevorC, County staff to Everyone: 10:12 AM

Mike, make sure you mention The County's newly announced community engagement platform. It includes resources for this sector and the ability to ask a question, to which staff will get back to them with an answer. https://haveyoursay.thecounty.ca/professional-not-for-profit-sector-support-resource

From Karen Fischer to Everyone: 10:37 AM

internet capacity is definitely a problem for us, as well we have about 25 percent of our membership that we communicate with via traditional mail.

From Abbott to Everyone: 10:56 AM

Volunteer Information Quinte puts out a directory which will give you some baseline info on local non profits. Not everything you need but a good start.

From Debbie MacDonald Moynes to Everyone: 10:57 AM

VIQ manages the 211 database locally.

From Elis Ziegler to Everyone: 10:58 AM

👌

From christinesearle to Everyone: 10:58 AM

To help deal with financial management issues, CPA profession partnered with the Ontario Non-profit Network (ONN) to provide a free four-part financial management series on how to adapt and recover from the impact of COVID-19 - https://mailchi.mp/theonn.ca/financial-management-webinar-series?e=36d11c130d. It starts Thursday..

From Alexandra Seay to Everyone: 10:59 AM

Can contact info for everyone on this call be shared to participants?

From Kathy Kennedy to Everyone: 11:00 AM

looking forward to a next step.

From Sarah - Picton BIA to Everyone: 11:02 AM

Notes from this meeting will be emailed to everyone who attended today. Is everyone ok with their contact info being shared with the group?

From Melanie Dailey to Everyone: 11:02 AM

I am fine with that, thank you!

From Elis Ziegler to Everyone: 11:02 AM

Yes for me!

From Debbie MacDonald Moynes to Everyone: 11:03 AM

I'm okay with sharing the contact info. Thank you for this webinar. Have to go. Please send the links from Shannon with the package. Thanks.

From Kathy Kennedy to Everyone: 11:03 AM

I am fine with information sharing

From Karen Fischer to Everyone: 11:03 AM

Yes, please share.

From Debbie MacDonald Moynes to Everyone: 11:05 AM

Might be useful to have a webinar with Shannon sharing her expertise with other agency people in the NFP sector in The County.

From Krista Dalby to Everyone: 11:05 AM

Fine with sharing contact info. Thanks.

From Karen Fischer to Everyone: 11:06 AM

Thank you!


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