Evolving the Relationship
The government and the social good sector share a common goal: to make positive social impact for the betterment of communities. Through the delivery of essential programs and social services across Canada, as well as from continuous on the ground experience, social good organizations have acquired a wealth of knowledge and valuable perspectives on how government policies affect people’s lives. And yet, the current relationship between the sector and the government isn’t as strong as it should be.
Many elected officials have some form of relationship with individual organizations - as donors, fundraisers, or even as staff. But they don’t necessarily have exposure to an organization as a whole. They’re often not aware of the full impact that organizations actually have, what goes into achieving that impact, or the challenges organizations face in the process. On a broader level, MPs are often surprised to learn there are an estimated 170,000 charities and nonprofits in Canada that, in addition to the services they provide, employ some two million people in communities of every size, in every region.
The enormous economic and social impacts that charities, nonprofits, and social enterprises collectively generate behoove the sector and the government to work more closely together. It is clear there is a need for a strengthening of the relationship between the government and social good organizations - in order to improve the development of public policies, the delivery of programs, and to continue to build healthy communities. One way to further this relationship is to encourage MPs to spend a day with a charity, nonprofit, or social enterprise in their own constituency.
From August 15 to September 16, 2018, Imagine Canada is launching iMPact Day, a Canada-wide Social Impact Challenge in which all MPs are encouraged to spend a day observing and learning about a social good organization in their constituency. We recognize that many members of Parliament have already volunteered for or supported a number of charitable causes. i-MP-act Day, however, will provide a deeper experience that goes beyond fundraising events and volunteer activities.
iMPact Day is an opportunity for MPs to get an in-depth primer about what organizations actually do and how they go about doing it. Time spent with board members, staff, and volunteers will give MPs an appreciation of the wide range of roles we play and the work it takes to keep an organization going. MPs will see first-hand how day-to-day operations are impacted by federal regulations and policies - everything from your business activities to how you access grants and contributions.
This challenge is a move towards creating a more enabling environment for the social good sector and providing organizations a seat at the policy table. It will provide an opportunity to improve communication and strengthen the relationship between the sector and the government in order to better serve communities together - leveraging tax-payer dollars, by working efficiently and effectively for sustainable change and growth. Spending a day with an organization will help MPs draw direct links between federal policies and the impact those policies have on organizations, communities, and individuals in their constituencies.
Host Your MP
iMPact Day aims to build new bridges between the social good sector and the government in order to learn from each other and to help build the sector’s capacity to succeed. Our goal is to have as many MPs as possible, from every political party, participate in this annual challenge. But the only way we can make this happen is if charities, nonprofits, and social enterprises participate.
We need you! Imagine Canada will coordinate the MPs and provide you with background information and suggestions for hosting. If you’re interested and willing to host an MP for a day, please contact Kira Balson on our Public Policy team.
“Imagine a Canada where… a ‘social impact lens’ is applied when public policy is being created… That’s the Canada we imagine. A Canada where charities work hand in hand with business and governments, to build more vibrant, prosperous communities.”– Imagine Canada’s Strategic Plan