Premier's Roundtable for Nonprofits
by Alexa Briggs, CCVO Manager, Policy & Research
At the end of November, I was among 25 leaders in the nonprofit sector in Calgary who had the opportunity to meet with Premier Rachel Notley, the Clerk of the Executive Council, Marcia Nelson, and senior staff from the Government of Alberta. We were asked to reflect on trends in the sector, as well as the relationship with the government. David Mitchell, CCVO’s President & CEO, commented on the tremendous contributions of the nonprofit sector to Calgary and the province, what the sector would like to see from the parties leading into the 2019 provincial election, and encouraged the sector to leverage its strength and influence by getting out to vote.
The roundtable was a great opportunity for leaders to talk about the successes, as well as the challenges, in the current environment, and communicate those directly to the Premier. I can say with confidence, that everyone in the room was very grateful for the opportunity.
I found myself reflecting on the responsibility we have as nonprofits to use our voices and our positions of privilege to raise the issues faced by the people and communities we serve every day. Opportunities to bend the Premier’s ear are rare, valued, and important. The same can be said for continued public engagement in policy advocacy. When nonprofits contribute to public policy dialogue in the public domain, we all benefit civically and democratically. So, while these intimate conversations with elected officials are very valuable, as a sector we need to find more ways to bring these conversations into the public sphere.
In the next few months, Alberta will be in election mode. My greatest wish for the nonprofit sector in this time of uncertainty is to remember that we are important. We have strength. We have influence. And, we owe it to our communities to use it.
Let’s push the political parties - all of the political parties - to make public statements and commitments about the issues that are important to the communities we serve.
Let’s be bold. We know that when we speak up on behalf of our sector, we do so to amplify the voices of the people we serve and to shine a light on important issues.
Let’s elevate the conversation. When we come to the table with big ideas and big vision, the possibilities of what we can create are limitless.
Let’s challenge the status quo. We can take this election cycle to examine the standard practices of the way that the government works with the sector and ask for better practices, not for ourselves but for our communities.
Finally, let’s be public about our organizations’ intention to vote. Tag #nonprofitsvote in your social media statements – follow @calgarycvo and subscribe to our newsletter for more election resources from CCVO.
If all of the nonprofits in Alberta got informed about the issues important to us, shared that information with volunteers, Boards, staff, and the people we serve, we could touch every single Albertan. I think that’s an admirable goal and the sector is up to the challenge. #nonprofitsvote