Posted by & filed under Congress, Ethics, Government Relations, Marketing/Communications, Next Generation Philanthropy, Opinion.

By John Paul de Silva – originally published on Hopeful Inc.

Whatever your personal beliefs are regarding cannabis usage and cannabis legalisation in Canada, one thing is clear. Cannabis is big business and so much so that a panel was built around the subject matter at the 2019 Smith School of BusinessScale-Up Summit which was recently held in downtown Toronto. After attending the panel, I noticed that there are many similarities between the cannabis industry and the non-profit sector.

First, they’re both highly regulated by the government. Second, they’re both worth billions. Michael Garbuz of Materia Ventures, a panelist at the Summit, said cannabis is worth over $100 billion in market capitalization worldwide. That’s a lot of green (pun intended). Similarly, over $10 billion is donated annually by Canadians alone.

 

With this in mind, here are some key takeaways on what non-profit organizations can learn from the cannabis sector:

1. Data is important: Summit panelist Afshin Mousavian of Responsible Cannabis Use has collected over 35,000 data points about Canadian public perception of cannabis. Why? There’s power in knowledge, especially with that much data. With that information, everyone from public policy makers to cannabis producers can better serve the market. Similarly, your non-profit should consider better collecting, managing, and analyzing its data. In turn, you can make more effective decisions on who to target for fundraising and which social media channels are the best use of your time, for example.

 

2. Education is important: Mr. Garbuz said that education is required to dispel the myths and stereotypes around cannabis usage. Similarly, I’ve encountered non-profits who have had challenges in gaining community support because of the misconception of what they are doing for the community. For example, a youth organization that had after-school programs was seen as a “hang out spot for troublemakers.” This negatively affected donations to the organization. Educating the community on your mission through transparent messaging and open houses, for example, creates conversations and increases education to bolster support for your non-profit.

 

3. Branding is important: Michael said that most people can’t tell the difference in quality between  cannabis products, therefore the importance of brand building to help differentiate increases. The same can be true for some non-profits who are experiencing the effects of donor fatigue. For example, you might be a non-profit that is helping kids with cancer but have the challenge of getting through to those who are already donating to SickKids Foundation. They’re a great charity, but are you clearly communicating how you’re different? Ensure this is coming across through the development of your brand.

 

Are there any other key takeaways you’ve noticed from the cannabis sector which can help non-profits? Comment below and please share this post with your colleagues and friends. Thank you!

 

2019 Smith Scale-Up cannabis panel (right to left): Alison Gordon, Michael Garbuz, Afshin Mousavian; with moderator Brett Larson on far left

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Coming to #AFPCongress2019? Don’t forget to check out our sessions on cannabis and the non-profit sector:

  • Y-06: The Cannabis Conundrum – How Charities are Addressing the Cannabis Donor – Presented by Anne (Coyle) Melanson & Diana McLachlan
  • G-10: Lessons in Pot – What Have we Learned about Combining Charities and the Cannabis Industry a Year after Legalization? – Presented by Sam Laprade, CFRE

Learn more & register.

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John Paul de Silva

Written by John Paul de Silva

Hopeful Inc.’s Director of Marketing

Posted by & filed under Advocacy, Fundraising, Government Relations, Inspiration, Leadership/Management, Volunteers.

Thank you to our members who participated in our annual Day in the Ridings (DITR) initiative! Our members’ efforts were key in creating awareness of the role and value of professional fundraising to our federal government.

 

Over the past two years, 140 AFP members met with 164 MPs, Ministers, and government officials in 338 ridings across Canada to bring forward our “case” for AFP’s role in public policy development and asked elected officials to support three important policy priorities:

  1. A home in government for the charitable sector;
  2. an ongoing investment in data collection on the charitable sector; and
  3. consideration of tax exemption for gifts of private shares and real estate.

 

Thanks to this work, AFP’s message about the value of professional fundraising and the importance of an enabling environment for charities has spread across the country and across party lines. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Government Relations.

In the spring of 2014, the Senate Liberals opened our Caucus doors to Canadians. Through our Open Caucus initiative we are learning, discussing and debating issues of national importance.  This effort is hosted by the Senate Liberal Caucus but is intended to be non-partisan. All parliamentarians will be invited, as well as members of the press and the general public.

On February 8th, we invited you to join us in a discussion on the issues faced by the charitable, non-profit, and social enterprise sectors in Canada. Organizations that have community based goals provide valuable services ranging from research, to providing assistance for the disenfranchised, operating schools, running hospitals, and more. Despite the important contributions that charities provide to society charitable giving has hit a ten year low, illustrating that the charitable sector faces a number of challenges in achieving their mandates….

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Originally published

Published on 8 February 2017
Open Caucus by Senator