Parliament Hill Day Builds Trust, Sets Stage for Future Advocacy
Last Thursday, May 14, 2015, more than 35 representatives from a variety of nonprofit organizations and associations, including AFP, participated in the first Hill Day in Ottawa to educate Parliament about the importance of Canada’s charitable sector and the impact it has upon society.
The key goal of the event was to build relationships with members of Parliament so charities can revisit these offices and forge partnerships to promote a better understanding of the nonprofit sector (e.g., economic impact, the importance of administrative costs, etc.) and to enact beneficial policies such as enhance tax incentives for charitable giving.
Organizations involved included CanadaHelps, the Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP), the Canadian Environmental Grantmakers’ Network (CEGN), Community Foundations of Canada, Imagine Canada, MaRS Discovery District, Philanthropic Foundations Canada, United Way – Centraide Canada and Volunteer Canada. The event received support from Deloitte, Spire Philanthropy and Imagine Canada.
AFP and Imagine Canada provided advocacy training during a working dinner on Wednesday, May 13, followed by the event itself on Thursday. Participants divided into seven groups, each made up of four to five individuals, and had a series of meetings throughout the day with key members of Parliament and the Senate. Nearly 30 meetings were scheduled in total, each focused on creating awareness of the charitable sector and establishing the coalition as a trustworthy source of expertise.
The overall response during the meetings was quite positive with a number of legislators encouraging the group to meet with them again in the future. AFP will be working with the other participating organizations in strategizing our next steps to build upon the progress made during the event.
“It was a very positive experience, and there were several ‘lightbulb’ moments where you could see the surprise and realization in their eyes as we talked about the impact of the sector and how many people we help,” said Andrea McManus, CFRE, president of The Development Group and chair of AFP’s Canada Government Relations Committee. “In addition to the advocacy work that AFP already does, this sort of event—with a coalition of our sister organizations—sets the foundation for future policy work and is another important way AFP and others are helping to lead the profession.”