by Stacy Dunn
The Island’s non-profit sector, also known as the community sector, employs 3,350 people and had a direct economic impact of $136 million in 2019, according to a report by the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC).
About 1,700 non-profit organizations in the province provide access to critical services and programs in areas such as social services, environment, health, education, employment, arts & culture, sport & recreation, and more. About 70 percent of people who work in this sector are women, and 65 percent of non-profit organizations on PEI are led by women.
The Community Sector Network of PEI (CSNPEI) was formed after a conference hosted by the United Way of PEI and the Community Foundation in 2017 brought non-profit groups together. From there, a group representing various organizations worked to establish CSNPEI.
The board of directors at CSNPEI hired Executive Director Alexia Riche late last year to help carry out its mandate. “Right now, we have 28 members who represent a diverse range of interests, and we are looking for more organizations to join us in achieving our vision of a sustainable and valued community sector on PEI,” Alexia says.
She also says that joining CSNPEI provides several benefits for organizations. “Members can advocate for what matters to them and share their priorities and concerns to inform sector priorities moving forward.
“Another benefit of joining CSNPEI is the ability to post jobs, events, and volunteer opportunities on the website we are currently developing. At present, there is a lack of a centralized place where people can read about opportunities in the community sector.
“We also want to increase the sector’s visibility and credibility,” she says. “Our new website will profile the work the sector is doing and provide a wealth of governance resources, including sample policies and more.”
The APEC report says there are about 53,000 volunteers on PEI. “They may volunteer for a one-time event or for longer commitments, such as sitting on boards,” she says. “However, the number of volunteers has gone down significantly since COVID-19 began.”
Alexia says many of those involved in the sector are planning to retire in the near future, and their organizations may not have a succession plan. “There is usually one person, staff or
volunteer, who has all the information and knowledge about the organization. When that person leaves, the organization may lose that information if there is no proper succession planning. That is a gap CSNPEI has identified that needs to be worked on.
“I have seen organizations try to solve this by having a transition period where the person leaving the organization is shadowed by a volunteer, new co-worker, or fellow co-worker to ensure that a knowledge transfer takes place, but resources have been stretched so thin for some organizations that they cannot do this.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
on the Community Sector Network of PEI, visit them on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Contact Alexia Riche at Alexia@csnpei.com
Read the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council Research Report – The Nonprofit Sector in Prince Edward Island – September 2021 here