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Archive for January, 2014

A connection and a calling: United Way York Region, Hospice Georgina and Innoweave

Hospice Georgina

One of our partners, United Way York Region, recently posted this story on their website under the “Why I Give” section. It tells of how Innoweave was able to help Hospice Georgina, an organization that depends heavily on volunteers, improve its impact on one of the most vulnerable populations in Canada.

“We are a passionate small non-profit, with a few staff members and a limited budget,” Marie Morton, Executive Director, Hospice Georgina begins. “We have a strong commitment to our clients, so when United Way York Region came to us with the idea of working with Innoweave, we were more than happy to accept.”

To read the full story, including how Impact and Strategic Clarity coach Christine Hill-Caballero helped Hospice Georgina more effectively support and harness its volunteer staff, click here.

And for more information on accessing similar tools for your own organization, visit our Modules page, take a self-assessment, or view our list of upcoming workshops.

Is Innoweave Right for You?

Learn how your organization might benefit the most from Innoweave’s approaches.

Sometimes to create great change in the world, an organization has to make big changes within itself.

To date we’ve worked with almost 200 organizations, plus over 100 other diverse partners across Canada, to deliver funding, host workshops, provide coaching, and develop the modules. Our partners include the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Employment and Skills Development Canada, PwC Canada Foundation, Cisco Systems, Imagine Canada, United Way Canada and others.

We’re working with community organizations across Canada who are:

  • Established: Innoweave provides concrete, practical tools through 8 modules to organizations with demonstrated success, who are looking to take their outcomes and impact even further. Organizations that have a clear structure in place and have the resources to make the time to implement required changes will get the most out of Innoweave.
  • Motivated to change: Innoweave’s workshops and coaching are designed to help take a motivated team through the steps required to take their work to the next level an innovative approach to their work. It’s painful and requires a lot of work, but it pays off. As Kirsten Eastwood of the North York Women’s Centre says, “It’s been a very disciplined process which has caused us to ask and answer some pretty thorny questions. So we’ve had to ask ourselves what is it that we’re doing well and what are we not doing well?”
  • Willing to make time to think: Innoweave recognizes that it can be painful to take the time out of the cycle of “getting things done” to sit down and think about “how to get things done better”. Our past participants will attest to this. But having asked the hard questions, greater clarity leads to a more streamlined way of doing things. Which means you can do more with less.

What’s the experience

Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver

“Before working with Innoweave, it was difficult to concisely explain not only the breadth and depth of Elizabeth Fry’s work but also how and why we do what we do,” says Shawn Bayes, Executive Director, Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver, a nonprofit dedicated to providing support services to women, girls and children at risk of involvement, involved in or affected by the justice system. “Our Theory of Change has helped us do that, as well as set out criteria upon which the impact of each aspect of our work is measured.”

Pembina Institute

“Innoweave has been incredibly helpful to us at Pembina,” says Devika Shah, Senior Advisor at Pembina Institute, a clean energy think tank that uses research, education, advocacy and consulting to advance clean energy solutions. “In fact,” she continues, “participating in Innoweave’s Impact and Strategic Clarity (ISC) module led us to re-think our strategic approach and organizational structure.”

Since completing the ISC module, the executive team at Pembina realized that to have the kind of impact they seek, they need to change the way the are organized. For them, becoming more effective and efficient means re-organizing into fully integrated regional teams, which will allowing these new larger teams to be working together on shared priorities and goals.

“So now we have, for example, a B.C. team, an Alberta and the North team and an Ontario team, taking on issues of both regional and national importance” explains Devika Shah. “To ensure that we continue working effectively on key national energy issues, we created a National Consulting and Project unit and a Federal Policy unit to collaborate with the regional teams when needed.”

The AHA! moment

For Pembina, the biggest payoff was getting crystal clear on where the organization truly adds value within Canada’s energy and environment landscape.

“We have much greater clarity around the level of change we can realistically hold ourselves accountable for,” says Shah. “For us, it’s about accelerating policy change by delivering credible, well-researched, pragmatic solutions into the hands of key influencers and decision-makers. Getting clearer and more deliberate about that informs a whole host of operational decisions including how we organize our staff teams and how we seek and manage funding.”

This is an even bigger victory when you consider that Pembina, unlike most NFPs, isn’t engaged in direct social service delivery to a specific population. Says Shah, “We deal with the nebulous world of policy and systems change. We often don’t see the policy change we are working for until many years after we started working on it, and it often comes in a different form than the specific policy change we were once advocating for, due to the impact of politics or external events that change the nature of what’s needed.”

As Pembina Executive Director Ed Whittingham notes in the clip above, “I think change was afoot in the organization, we needed change and there was a high desire and willingness for change within Pembina. And here is a process that was laid before me like a golden egg at my feet!”

To find out more about the Innoweave process and how you can get a grant to help you get expert coaching during the implementation process, click here.

Got Results? Leverage Outcomes With New Financing Models!

Homelessness post

Learn how to use Outcomes Finance to get beyond the pilot stage of your program and use tools like Social Impact Bonds to help you make a bigger impact.

We have good news and better news.

The good news is that it’s an exciting time to be a social sector organization with innovative ideas and programs that get results. Emerging tools like Social Impact Bonds that tie funding to projected results are making it possible for organizations to secure financing that might not be available any other way.

The even better news is that Innoweave has teamed up with the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing to develop an in-depth and user-friendly module to help you to understand how to make Outcomes Finance work for you.

We’ll be hosting our first Outcomes Finance workshop on January 11th with Finance for Good, a social impact bond intermediary that works with public sector organizations and governments to facilitate results-oriented financing (and therefore greater social innovation and impact) in Halifax.

Lars Boggild, Program Development Officer at Finance for Good, will be leading the workshop. He says, “The thing that’s really exciting for the organizations who’ll be taking this workshop is that because of the way it’s structured, they’ll actually spend their time working through a fairly detailed plan of how they would use outcomes financing to get money for their programs instead of just working off of generic case studies in the field. This then becomes a really concrete tool they can actually use right away as they pursue outcomes financing.”

Never heard of Outcomes Finance before? You’re not alone!

Outcomes Finance is a relatively new form of funding in Canada. In fact, this form of results-based financing was pioneered in the UK as recently as 2010. It has captured the imagination of government funders and politicians eager to prove the soundness of their decision-making, as well as social innovators who have excellent preventive social programs but seldom get funding because money is predominantly being spent on remedial programs.

Let’s take a concrete example: Homelessness

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