Recently my ASG colleagues and I attended a presentation by Ontario Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy, who was sharing an update on Ontario government activities. A scan of the room showed that only a couple of local non-profit leaders were present.
Back at the office later I took a quick peek at the website for the Treasury Board; under the ‘What We Do’ section the first bullet read:
Plan expenditure management and controllership through the Treasury Board, including support and due diligence for decision-making related to capital
Along with being a senior cabinet minister in the newly formed government, Peter Bethlenfalvy has responsibility for a significant portion of economic activities in the province. Attendees at this lunch were face to face with somebody who participates in significant decision making.
In a non-profit, the decision to spend dollars on networking activities can provoke some soul-searching. In this case the cost was $45, and it could feel like that money is supporting the people who are promoting policies that are contrary to what may seem ideal.
Similarly, decisions about allocation of time and resources to develop business and strategic plans are made in the context of organizations not having the funds to meet all of the needs of the clients they serve.
Political change can be challenging. The reality is that the current provincial government has an agenda that they will follow. Agendas often have an interesting way of evolving though, and sometimes do so because of the presentation of a cogent, well-thought out argument combining with changing circumstances in the community.
Non-profit leaders need to be making those arguments, and they need to be interacting with government leaders to do so – even the leaders that they didn’t happen to vote for. And now, early in a government mandate, is precisely the time to be ensuring confirmation of the organizational mission and developing the plans that will lead to its achievement.