What makes Global Philanthropic different than other consultants?
We are collaborative. We share knowledge, expertise and best practices amongst our team across the country to provide the best possible advice to our clients. Much of that expertise comes from our hands-on experience working in charities and non-profits. We understand from the inside the sector nuances and sensitivities that matter most to our clients.
Here’s another recent example. One of our Senior Consultants asked the team: what is your expertise in the homelessness sector?
“When I was working at Yonge Street Mission, it was impressed upon us how important communication around issues of poverty is. It is too easy for us to drop into an ‘us vs. them’ language where we, the staff and donors, are the ones who understand the problem and know how to fix it, and those currently faced with homelessness simply need to receive our help.
The CEO was particularly militant about this, ensuring the language was inclusive and respectful. We worked hard to communicate dignity. For example, we used ‘people living with poverty’ rather than ‘poor people’, as someone’s current financial state does not define who they are and is not an indicator of the future. Issues around homelessness require the same level of respect and sensitivity. This is about all of us, regardless of current state, working together to solve this issue.”
Senior Consultant, Toronto
“When I was working with Victoria Cool Aid Society, it was also impressed upon us the importance of communicating with respect and dignity around issues of poverty and homelessness.
Victoria Cool Aid provides affordable housing, emergency shelters, health and dental care, meals, and wellness programs such as healthy recreation, employment and volunteer opportunities. Cool Aid houses and supports more people who have been homeless in the Victoria region than any other organization. I worked in Cool Aid’s Community Relations, with a focus on prospect research, case writing, major gifts/sponsorships and stewardship with a fair bit of direct interaction with our clients.”
Senior Consultant, Calgary
“As a social worker turned fundraiser who often wore both hats throughout my 27-year career, I have come to understand the threat of homelessness. Early in my career I began working with youth in the child welfare system who were either in trouble with the law, unsupported in their education or removed from their home to reside in a group or foster home. Unfortunately, nearly 60% of homeless youth have some history in this system.
Over the following 17 years, I worked (both paid and volunteer) towards developing gaps in services for the homeless, particularly youth. A vital part of program development was listening: to the homeless, to their advocates, to other service providers and to professional insight. Whenever possible clients were invited to participate in the structuring of a service, the request for funding, the construction of a proposal, the creation of a strategic plan and any associated fundraising or awareness events.
The words of writer Anais Nin have stuck with me: ‘We do not see things as they are, we see them as we are.’ Uncovering my own biases and assisting the public to do the same (through education, awareness, and transparency) has led to success on many fronts in the homelessness arena, including NIMBY. Donors and the downtrodden alike need to be heard and treated with dignity, respect and grace.
Giving a voice to the vulnerable, unpacking the truths behind poverty, providing a lens to see the dirty in a different light, and building solutions to a better future summarizes the majority of my career.”
Associate Consultant, Moncton
“Over the past 30+ years I have worked with a variety of clients in varying capacities. From families in schools and women’s shelters to the clients we served through the Compassion Fund and Food Bank to the Homelessness Count and Housing First, the core belief has been that we are serving people, not issues.
There are root issues in our society that create injury and a variety of barriers which lead people to make decisions that are sometimes difficult to understand. There are stories that come with every human. I am deeply aware that the concept of privilege is not in dollars a person has in their bank account, but also in the safety and security of a caring and available network.
I have worked directly with men, women, children and teens, many of whom yearn to become ‘more mainstream’. I have worked with people who have told me ‘homelessness has become one of my addictions’ and ‘the walls people build around themselves are not just physical’. We cannot decide the desired outcome for people as everyone has their own dream of what a better life looks like. It’s complex. Their stories are fuel for my passion that fundraisers can support the services that will change the world.”
Senior Consultant, Edmonton
“From a case writing perspective, language is everything in every case I write. I try to place myself inside the organization to understand the nuances of the culture both in their organization and in their sector. We review annual reports, strategic plans and the website, to get a sense of how they speak about themselves and absorb their language. We need to communicate to donors in language that resonates with them.
The iterative case process means we go through a series of drafts; it is very much a partnership exercise. The client is front and centre in the process; the text doesn’t move to design unless they are happy with the words.
Also, I was the Executive Director of the Special Olympics National Winter Games and subsequently, a member of the provincial Board for several years. I learned early on the importance of language around people with disabilities; put people first. Respect and sensitivity are what it’s all about.”
Executive Director, Marketing & Communications, Calgary